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Introduction: Let's imagine the future of wikiEdit

Wikimedia projects : the ultimate tool towards world unification of the human raceEdit

Collaboration using wikis is one of the few revolutionary inventions of the last few years in the social field. The philosophy behind the tool itself is at the same time simple and extremely powerful - everyone can contribute, in their own language, to the building of human knowledge.

Wikis help people to participate together efficiently without having to hold frequent meetings somewhere specific. Everyone can participate, wherever they may be, provided they have access to internet.

And even more extraordinary, is that contrary to forums, chats, e-mail or telephone conversations, wikis build upon what is previously stated; the first contribution made by someone is not forgotten. Over time the information on wikis is corrected (usually), modified, completed (sort of) by all the contributors that will be reading and editing the articles afterwards. Wikis also provide safeguards if someone intentionally or not had come and deleted useful information.

Wikis are already a success:

And other new projects, all having their own part in building a mankind-made information access for mankind.

Wikis are helping to build a global database that can be freely used by all humans, for photos and other media (wikimedia commons).

The revolution has just begunEdit

Where we are: the efficient building up of knowledgeEdit

Wikimedia projects have mainly succeeded where information shall be according to the facts.

Why ?

Information is always biased in some way, more or less depending on many things. Sometimes, one may focus on one aspect of reality and forget about other aspects; and, in the worst case scenario, false information may be delivered by someone too close to the subject of an article. Thanks to the community and the wiki tool, a large amount of people check the articles, and thus can complete the other aspects not mentioned in the article, or put a warning if the article is thought to be biased. The more people that are watching the article, the more likely experts in the field will be looking at it, and the less chances are that errors won't get noticed. This is the key for most perfect information, once we understand that like everything in this world, nothing is perfect, but everything can be improved and can converge to the (unreachable by definition) ideal of perfection.

Where we can go: efficient facilitation of consensus - the future of democracyEdit

Just like the facilitation of knowledge creation by wiki that occurs in an article, the wiki tool can become, if adapted, the ultimate tool for building political platforms, public budgeting, and all kinds of public consultation processesed. That is, it can become a basic tool for more powerful, more efficient forms of democracy.

Today, what I propose is to build together the tool that will allow a better democracy, this has been called by others political wiki

requirements:

  • accessible from anyone in the world with internet access
  • enabling efficient online proposals study/amendment
  • vote/adoption procedures and elections
  • robust for virtually any kind of group, association, political party, city board, country, international institution
  • adaptable to business e.g. shareholders meeting.

List of ideas for the foundation of the toolEdit

Building of ProposalsEdit

  • The tool shall be able to do what wiki does already. (writing of proposals classified by categories, history, discussion about the proposals, etc)
  • Categories would not be called category, they would be called issues, and a page would present all issues related facts and if needed, the explanation for why something shall be done about it.
  • The content would not be called articles, they would be called proposals
  • Proposals shall adopt the following structure :
    • main proposition
    • other propositions
    • alternative proposals ('amendment 1', 'amendment 2', etc)

The pros and against argumentation would not figure in the proposal itself, it would figure in the discussion part of the wikicracy, so that the 'proposal' remains a working document that could be adopted if so decided.

Adoption of proposalsEdit

((Reminder: this paragraph shall be explained more clearly))

  • Every fixed term or every time administrators of the section believe the proposal has reached a good quality level, a vote is organized. Everyone of the group entitled to vote is contacted by e-mail to cast his vote. The proposal and its amendment reaching a specified % (by default, 50%, but this could be more or less depending of the organization requirements) of the entitled members would be adopted and the executive body shall enforce it. After the % of YES is reached and the proposal is accepted, or after the expiration time for casting vote is reached without reaching the % of YES needed, the proposal shall still be alive and open for modifications, unless a significant % of people vote for abandoning this proposal. Voters will be asked to explain their vote. Votes can be casted on the new amendments, and eventually, if the members are not too many and share common goals, they will all agree to support the final proposal (All this to say the objective is 100% agreement on the proposals, but proposals shall be able to be adopted if, let's say between 50% for a very large group with conflicting interests and 100% for a small group of good friends, accept it).

Follow up of action and evaluation of workEdit

  • (note: proposal following Gerard remark on the 10th of august) : we shall add to the proposal a follow up of decisions taken, (which could take the form of discussion page and/or an evaluation/vote by the members regarding the action of the executive body towards the issue.)

ElectionsEdit

  • A special section shall be available for elections of people.
    • it would present a list of coming elections/nominations and the voting agenda.
    • people could present themselves as candidates, and a discussion shall be open for those who want to explain why they support this candidate. Another discussion board would be open for each one of the candidate's personal proposals (for or against, and why). And another section would be available to ask the candidates questions. (note : I believe it is not necessary nor good that there be a place available for saying why they hate the candidate. If you don't like someone not because of its proposals, you can just go to another candidate and say why you support him.)
    • At the time decided and until the deadline is met, every potential voter is asked to cast his vote.

OthersEdit

  • All vote including choice between more than 2 positions or 2 candidates shall be done by Condorcet Method or other similar systems (a choice between different systems could be proposed later). Results shall be calculated automatically.
  • For specific demands, a version of the wikicracy should make it possible for the voters to choose to vote/post comment anonymously.
  • On the opposite, votes casted by elected representatives shall never be anonymous, representative shall be accountable of their actions towards the people who elected them.
  • For specific decision making organizations, it shall be possible to give more weight to the vote of some people than others. For instance, vote for shareholders assembly shall be proportional to its share of the Capital.

Status of the projectEdit

  • Beginning of 2007: idea of a way to put people working together online to make proposals in a cooperative way, and where people could vote on the proposals.
  • Beginning of August: re-discovery of wiki and it appeared that the platform is the best tool for the idea.
  • August 9th 2007: first publication of the project.
  • August 10th: first try to make this project known to wikipedians in the perspective of gathering a team of democracy/organization experts and wiki programming experts.
  • The project has been featured in on main page, latest news section. A new proposal regarding democracy on wikis is available at Wikicracy. Please review and comment.
  • August 15th: created a trial testing page of socialtext wiki. Reviewing in process...
  • August 23rd: wikimedia websites have been blocked once again by Chinese censors (including this page), after a few month of freedom for non-chinese language pages. Sorry for the delay. Test of socialtext has not been very enthousiastic. Are there real improvments compared to wiki? Some important wiki features have even disappeared...
  • August 28th: finaly got the time to make a graphic proposal (see example at the bottom of the page) Vmandrilly 17:51, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

To-do listEdit

  • Discuss name of the project: wikacracy? wikicracy? wikiocracy? wikidemocracy? democracy 2.0? ...
  • Studying websites related to wiki and software, to democracy and to decision making.
  • At the same time, listing all the feature that implies this project.
  • Working on translations of a short resume of the project. Vmandrilly I can do it for French, and maybe Chinese
  • Designing the interface.
  • And then later we will need to translate this into computer code...

Supporting Individuals and OrganizationsEdit

(It's always nice for the contributers to receive encouragments, even if it is just symbolic. :-)

Joining the Wikicracy projectEdit

Mailing listEdit

http://groups.google.com/group/wikicracy . To join this mailing list, just send a blank e-mail to: wikicracy-subscribe@googlegroups.com

Online chatEdit

msn and others: please add your contact in the list below.

Member listEdit

Just write your name/contacts to become part of this project

Skilled or interested in democracy/organization

  • 'Vmandrilly' msn and e-mail: vmandrillyNOTSPAM@hotmail.com - English Français 中文
  • 'Hawkeye' msn and e-mail: JPM_111@hotmail.com - English
  • 'Tetopa' e-mail: proffaNOSPAMM@rakkausrunot.fi - English, Finnish, Norwegian
  • ...

Skilled or interested in wiki software programming

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

Others

  • ...
  • ...
  • ...

Already existing tools and add-ons that may be usefull for this projectEdit

The fundamental base of the project

Vote / poll systems

  • ...
  • ...

Others

  • ...
  • ...

FAQEdit

The following are answers to general comments and criticisms received about the project.

Q: Yet another wiki website?

Not exactly. We propose to develop a new wiki software, or more precisely wiki software improvements for decision making processes. A platform that could then be used to create the wikis based on debate (as opposed to wikis based on factual information)

Q: Are you sure it is worth the investment?

No. Who cares anyway ?
Yes:
  • Many people have tried to use wikis for organizing debate websites, and there has been many projects to create these kind of wikis, but most of them couldn't develop well because wiki is not (yet) adapted to their specificity.
  • More generally, just like there was a huge need for good encyclopedic information, there is a huge need for good debate and adoption process of solutions proposals. Many (if not most of) countries, organizations, associations, parties find it very difficult to adopt a good organization where its members can all contribute to the decision making process. This project has the ambition to become a think tank for improvement of democracy (whose basic idea is to have the participation of all to the decisions that concern them)

Q: Does Wikicracy compete with wiki Wikipedia, Wikibate, Wikiforum, Wikireason or Wikireason:Wikireason:related projects ?

No. Wikipedia, as well as a most (but not all) official wikimedia wikis, are dedicated to gather free content of quality, thanks to the participation of virtually anyone with access to internet and the work of the community. This project purpose is not to about gathering content. It is not about debating on specific issues either, or setting pools, or whatever.
No. This project is about developing further the wiki software so that we can use it better for cooperative working on issues (propositions and debate) / and for decision making (votes) / and for elections. It is not impossible to do that with the wiki software as it is, but is not very functional however. (not easy to organize a vote and build proposals on a traditional wiki...)
Yes. It competes with wikis, because resources/time that would be used and efforts that would be made by programmers to develop this platform will not be available for improving even further wikimedia and other information based wikis projects.

Q: Does it concern wikimedia?

No. It sounds like your are just proposing an online debating society, which really isn't something the Wikimedia Foundation would have anything to do with. It will never be a Wikimedia project.
Yes. The wikimedia foundation is not only dedicated to free knowledge for all, but is also promoting projects that respects its philosophy, projects where the idea that everyone shall be able to participate to the contents of webpages, for the benefit of all. On the main page is stated "Welcome to Meta-Wiki, a website devoted to the coordination of the Wikimedia Foundation's projects, including Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, and the MediaWiki software on which it runs", therefore, project on improvement of the MediaWiki has its place here

Q: Why voting? And why the need of elections? Shouldn't democracy be the work of all? If the people vote for representative, then they won't participate anymore.

  • whereas we have all the time we want to improve little by little the knowledge in all fields, the action matter is by essence different: we want and we have to take decisions. (And we sometimes have to take them very fast before it is too late). At the time an action must be taken, members may not have reached a consensus. And in a very large group of people with different opposing interests, you can statistically never reach a perfect consensus, you will always find people to oppose any proposal. Therefore in the field of action, we cannot afford to wait everyone agrees, or we will probably never do anything.
  • On the opposite, a decision taken by just a majority (or worse, by a minority) will lead to serious doubts in the quality of the decisions. This is why I propose that any decision taken shall continue to be discussed if the issue it was supposed to solve remains after taken action. This until the issue is solved or a consensus on what shall be done is reached. Wiki-based cooperation guidelines will help to build proposals through cooperation, and thus help to reach the largest possible consensus.
  • For a matter of efficiency, we need people to organize the actions based on the proposals. Whereas a proposal need the maximum of ideas to reach a good level, some people shall accept to take responsibility of its implementation. And these people shall be recognized as the best to succeed in their mission. The election is the way by which we can select the candidates the most recognized for the mission they are asked to take responsibility for.

Q: (Your question) ?

(proposal of answers.)

Example / test websitesEdit

This is a first proposal. It adds a few new ideas:

  • An issue can be deleted if enough people think it should be deleted
  • If nobody changes anything for a fixed amount of time, it means the proposal is now ready for vote.
  • A priority is set, and everyone can vote to make this proposal a more important issue [up or down]. (this will influence its position on the special page where we can see the list of all the issues classified by categories).
  • When a vote is taking place, the tab "vote" becomes active, and the tab "propositions and amendments" becomes inactive.
  • The +/- Tab is for giving ones opinion (why I think this is bad / this is good / why I'd rather propose this...)

... waiting for your comments! Vmandrilly 17:49, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

 

feature requestsEdit

(please post here the fonctionalities you would like to see implemented in wikicracy betas)

External linksEdit

Resources: Guidelines and important related textsEdit

OthersEdit

(websites based on wiki and/or democracy principles. They may develop tools for their own wiki that could be used in this project. These websites/wikis may also be the firsts to wish to test wikicracy betas)

the main idea seems to be this 'digging' system in which you can vote to make the issue more or less visible in the ranking. This looks much like the idea of 'priority' flag I designed on the proposal.(see above in 'example' section Vmandrilly 11:08, 30 October 2007 (UTC)