The topic came up in this discussion of what feature would you like lemmy to have. I talked with nutomic (one of the developers) a bit about this and he suggested opening a separate topic so we could discuss if and how to implement it best.

@roastpotatothief
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Lemmy has one model and it’s a good model - it works. There are other models which are interesting, but they are not Lemmy. My favourite is notabug.io - it’s total anarchy but it somehow works and attracts clever creative people.

People who are interested in democracy, one of the principles they use is “decisions should be made at the lowest possible level”. So instead of having big elections where you decide global rules, or appoint mods; you would have votes within a community about things affecting that community. Each community could have different rules. You could even have votes affecting a whole instance. It would be rare to have to make a rule for the whole federation of instances.

Small scale votes are less prone to manipulation, because they are not important enough. And they lead to better participation because each vote counts more. And even if one community/instance becomes corrupted, people can migrate, so it’s more robust that way.

@wiki_me
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Debian has a similar system, a system of “direct democracy” is interesting .

Lemmy model works but i think it could also use whatever competitive advantage it could get. “content is king” and i and most people just go where there is the most interesting content, Lemmy is still a “snack” to me because it does not have a lot of content and i get most of it from reddit (and other non social media sites of course, with a little facebook and twitter thrown in).

poVoq
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Hmm, what exactly do you have in mind?

To me the democratic model of the Fediverse is that everyone can open their own Lemmy instance ;)

@wiki_me
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There is actually a github issue discussing some basic ideas.

But going with something having a membership organisation where anyone can apply (but has to pay some membership fees), every once in a while there is an election for a board of directors, and it decides stuff.

some of the decisions made could include “firing” moderators (iv’e seen a fair share of what can at best be described as questionable behavior by moderators) , or even funding certain projects (you could have one organisation managing the main lemmy instance, another one that helps in funding like openstreetmap foundation).

everyone can host an instance, but that means a instance has a bus factor of 1 (basically if the creator quits your screwed and it can be a PITA to move to another instance).

poVoq
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Setting up the legal structure for something like that takes a lot of effort. Sure it is doable and I think it would be nice to have a Lemmy instance run like that, but I don’t really see that as a necessity right now or in general for this developer run entry instance on lemmy.ml

@wiki_me
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There are actually organisations for this, like the software in the public interest which actually hosts the “Debian democracy” and the software freedom conservatory.

There is also feneas which is sort of a democracy so maybe it can provide a instance managed this way.

poVoq
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Sure, would be great if they would host a Lemmy instance. But at least feneas recently said they had some financial issues and are winding down operations? Not sure if I remember correctly.

@wiki_me
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Last i heard they started a fundraiser (viewable on there site), I hope they pull through, I do think that if someone wants to have a go at them it will probably have to help by becoming an admin. They said they could not even announce they have problems because they didn’t have the man power to manage social media.

@roastpotatothief
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It’s a good idea to use a “proof of work” like making people pay a fee. But I feel like there are better solutions which nobody has thought of yet. Like, there must be a way to prove you are an individual human.

Imagine that to vote, you have to fill in a series ot captchas, that takes about one minute to complete. Everybody does this at the same time - there is a pre-appointed date and you must be sitting at your computer at the start-time to be allowed to vote. Once you complete the captchas, you have 30s to cast your vote.

Then it is (a) difficult for botnets to vote because of the captchas and (b) difficult for one man to vote many times because of the time constraint.

This obviously isn’t a perfect solution, but I’m sure a better way exists, than just “pay to vote” if we just collectively try to invent one.

@wiki_me
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A doubt this is a good way, click farms are a thing, as i said in the comment i linked to maybe having a certain number of submission to popular communities will be also good (because there is more of a chance they will be detected as bots in popular communities), maybe a invite system (where members can “invite” a certain number of individuals to be members) can also work.

paying also has another advantage as it would help lemmy funding which seems less then great right now.

@roastpotatothief
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All good ideas. So few of these kinds of system have really been properly tested in the wild. Would be great for different instances or forks of Lemmy to start trying them.

@wiki_me
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That’s a possibility, but also you could go with a more conservative strategy (sparing yourself the hard work of innovating) by just using the bylaws and governance of some other establish organisation as a “proven” design.

@roastpotatothief
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I think the only one that’s “proven” for usage on the internet is bitcoin’s proof of work mechanism.

Do you mean something traditional like “make everyone apply for ID cards then send them registration info by registered post, then set a date when they all have to walk to polling stations…” ? That also sounds like hard work.

And TBH IMO the only proven thing about traditional voting systems is that they are corruptable. They can be make less corruptable, but those innovations / improvements are also not “proven”.

@wiki_me
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I think the only one that’s “proven” for usage on the internet is bitcoin’s proof of work mechanism.

I don’t really understand how bitcoin work , and don’t see how it is applicable to project governance (if it’s about giving a CPU cycles that can also be “forged”).

Do you mean something traditional like “make everyone apply for ID cards then send them registration info by registered post, then set a date when they all have to walk to polling stations…” ? That also sounds like hard work.

Maybe something like openstreetmap or AAAS (i don’t think they have to do stuff like mailing ID cards), it’s not easy but that’s a reasonable amount of work, not like trying a bunch of different models that end up failing (so you try one and then it fails and you need to try the next one), and if the whole thing isn’t going well you have to figure out if it’s because the model sucks or something else sucks.

And TBH IMO the only proven thing about traditional voting systems is that they are corruptable. They can be make less corruptable, but those innovations / improvements are also not “proven”.

Any system that is influenced by people can suck because people can suck, innovating and coming up with something new that “sucks less” is very hard.

@roastpotatothief
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How does openstreetmap governance work?

I can tell you all about bitcoin’s proof of work if you like. Honestly it’s not a good idea for this application, but you could take ispiration from it. Like have you seen the disroot application process - it’s like proof of work but for humans instead of CPUs?

@tracyspcy
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Democracy is overvalued :)

@wiki_me
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I think democracy is underrated, wikipedia is one of the most visited sites in the word and is a democracy. science is one of the most highly regarded journals in the world and is managed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (also a democracy), it’s surprising how these organisations manage to compete with for profit or even just non democratic nonprofit (that they are not doing something terribly dumb that makes them fail).

@tracyspcy
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Sure, just inject democracy into anything and you get success :) Iraq without “democracy” and with it is definitely different place.

@wiki_me
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It’s obviously not a silver bullet, but it can help make lemmy more competitive with high quality content creators.

If you want to make a comparison to countries according to the democracy index iraq is not really a democracy, i think if you will compare countries democracy score with some measurement of well being (e.g. life satisfaction scores) you will find there is a good correlation. not a perfect one because other things are also effecting well being (e.g. quality of education , culture ).

@tronk
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It’s fair to both be critical of how “democracy” has been wielded as a weapon in the past and trying to make an evaluation of whether a country is democratic. In other words, you’re both onto something.

The discourse of democracy can be used as a rhetorical weapon. It was used as such in Iraq. But it is different to have democracy as a discourse and democracy as a social practice. What is the alternative to democratic social practice? Hierarchies. And it so happens that we can measure both types of social practices and their gradients in between. This is what @wiki_me@lemmy.ml did by finding the correlations. In other words, democracy as discourse is much more condemn-able than the incredibly powerful democracy as a social practice.

Everything about Lemmy; bugs, gripes, praises, and advocacy.

For discussion about the lemmy.ml instance, go to !meta@lemmy.ml.

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