Weighted Democracy - Governance Experiment

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Throughout the crowdresearch project alongside the interest in Flat Democracy as a form of open-governance, there has also been the concern that a one person one vote system, will actually create an imbalance of power between the minority of workers using the platform as a primary income source and other who are occasion workers. Additionally, concern has also been expressed regarding "new workers" taking over and making decisions affecting long-term workers. To this end, this week we will experiment with Weighted Democracy. There are many similarities between these two structures (Flat and Weighted). We again see the process of idea generation, idea selection, solution generation and solution selection. And we continue to encourage everyone to consider the associated opportunities and responsibilities.


  • Voice - with weighted democracy every participant has a chance for their ideas to be considered by the platform. No one is stifled, everyone is heard.
  • Participation - In this structure, it is important to consider where support lies for your ideas. Whom do you need to motivate and collaborate with in order to get your idea/solution passed?
  • Representation - By representing a group of affected participants you can, in some ways, facilitate representative democracy.


  • Participation - this system works best with balanced participation. A low participation rate will enable a small number of motivated participants to have more power within and over the structure. Regardless of the weighting of the voters, volume will prevail. The stability of the platform rests on a balance of power, insured by participation
  • Depth - Thinking Not Linking - In offering ideas and submissions it is important that we synthesize all of the relevant research and show how it supports the idea/solution for the platform. By drawing lines of thought from the research to the specifics of the application in our platform, we offer a more compelling and educational submission for consideration by participants.
  • Global Thinking - It is important that we bear in mind that while this is a weighted version of "Flat Democracy" in many ways it is representative democracy in that we are representing the future participants in this platform. We must take the time to look at each issue from the perspectives of the wide range of workers (from newbies to very experienced) and requesters (from academics to small business to big business) and also across national and cultural boundaries.


Please read through submission guidelines below for more details. These boards will carry over to next week's weighted democracy prototype

Saturday - Thursday: Add your ideas to the [meteor board [1]] under category "Issues"

Saturday - Thursday: Vote on which issues should be moved forward for solution. Ideas with the meeting the threshold (15 votes) will be moved forward for solution

Saturday - Thursday: Items moved forward for solution will be open to solution submissions from participant. Those offering solutions will create a wiki per the guidelines below and offer a link on the [meteor board [2]] under "Solutions" for upvoting.

Friday: We will manually calculate the votes based on Voting noted in comments. The solution submission that has received the most support via weighted voting will be "implemented" (As last week, this is a mock governance structure decisions are not binding.)

Voting Methodology

Weighting Mechanism

We will utilize page rank based on badge ranking status of 6/19 to determine the weight of an individual's vote. We chose this method because it is a metric we already have in place, and additionally the distribution is representative of MTurk participation levels.

How to Vote

In the comment section create a comment that is ONLY the following "I vote for this idea." or "I vote for this solution." We will manually track each of these votes and calculate the cummulative votes.

Submission Guidelines

In an effort to facilitate consistency of submission we offer the following guidelines. We realize this is a slightly more in-depth approach to meteor idea offerings so if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact @acossette or @Trygve on the slack!

Issue Submissions

When adding your idea to the "Ideas" board on Meteor we ask that you set up your submission as follows:

URL: You can leave this blank when submitting issues.

In the body of your concept, after inputting the description please note as a subsequent line if your issue is Foundational or Feature and answer the following question.

Foundational: What is the current compromise in trust and/or power this addresses? Feature: How does this idea improve upon the user experience of the platform?

Solution Submissions

When creating your wiki-page of your solution, we ask you to please include the following table for all submissions. We do this to begin to evaluate all of our actions through the filter of our foundations. It can be a slippery slope, when features and code unintentionally begin to formulate and dictate policy. For example, many times we have heard Professor Bernstein speak of "the power of the default". What if an idea was proposed that the default be changed so that all tasks currently default to level 1 be changed to level 5, because the level 5 workers aren't getting enough work." Now in theory one could say, innocent enough, folks will pick the one they want anyway so sure...go ahead.

Foundational Effect Table

Workers Requesters
Trust What is the effect on trust of the workers in the platform? Trust of the requesters? Trust of other workers? What is the effect on trust of the requesters in the platform? Trust that the work will be as expected? Trust that this is a good investment?
Power How does this affect the workers access to power in the platform? Does it alter the balance of power with the requester? Does it alter the balance of power with other workers? How does this affect the requesters access to power in the platform? Does it alter the balance of power with workers? Does it affect their power in getting tasks done in a way that works for their business needs?

Other questions to consider when producing your wikipage:

  • Foundational Effect (see above)
  • Scalability - What happens as the numbers on the platform grow? Does this idea scale across various nations?
  • How does this affect new workers vs. established workers?
  • How does this affect academic requesters? small business requesters? big corporation requesters?