Summer Milestone 2 TeamRyan Leadership vs. Participatory democracy

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This team's activity dealt with the two story boards of Participatory Democracy and Leadership Boards. I held several interviews through forum discussions as well as read through various threads on TurkNation.


The main questions asked and topics of conversations were around the subjects of:

  • Goal Accomplishment
  • Situations and Advantages
  • Preference


Goal Accomplishment
Leadership boards were considered to result in better outcome in both terms of quality and for the wellbeing of the user base. Furthermore, considered to be a faster method for finding solutions as the leadership should "ideally" be populated by experts.
Participatory Democracy was considered to encounter more issues of "over encumbrance" of ideas, in that too many may be produced with no formal structure helping reduce it. Generally it was believed that Participatory Democracy would provide a good system to bring everyone's opinion to the table, but some concerns were raised about the social factors that would come into play (such as down voting just cause you didn't like the person).
Leadership boards were considered to have the advantage of speed and quality over Participatory Democracy. Community size was also another factor brought up. Leadership boards were considered better for larger size groups as well as larger and more complex tasks to accomplish, while for smaller groups and less complex tasks, Participatory Democracy was favored.
Leadership boards may have some potential issues, such as transparency. How would the leadership board be transparent enough so the rest of the community feels like their opinions are being considered? Even more so, Leadership boards were considered an ideal solution to the problem, but how is the ideal environment created?
Participatory Democracy was mentioned many times as having lower quality of results. Since the level of accountability is very low, it isn't expected that people will produce high quality results. Social factors was also a big concern. The main worry is the possibility of biases occurring through the voting system and thus lead to less quality solutions.
The majority of people interviewed did prefer Leadership boards (57%) over Participatory Democracy (28%). The remaining responses were uncertain and very much expected that a dynamic system incorporating the two structures and implementing which would be best given the circumstance.
One response stated "if I were on a task that I didn't care so much about I would like a group of leaders to address my concerns, if I were working on something I was more excited and committed to, then I would like to be more strongly involved and prefer a democracy"


While there is a clear majority of responses siding toward Leadership board preference, most responses and comments did not have a lot of confidence and compared them to governance system they are currently involved in. Mostly people would reference situations in which a similar structure failed to address the issue at hand such as half-baked results from a crowd create solution or a misunderstood issue addressed by leadership.
The majority comments did employ a sense that quality is the most important evaluation of the two types and while the majority of responses stated that Leadership boards did provide the best quality, only one respondent was uncertain if this was true.

Most mentioned aspects:

  • Leadership boards support speed and quality
  • Participatory democracy supports voice and variability in solutions
  • Community size plays into the context in which one has an advantage over the other