What's your thought on the current state of PPAU internal democracy? Should we experiment with a new voting system?

Here’s another question I would pose as part of Designing Open Democracy.

I forgot what voting system PPAU has, but I would say that this party has a pretty advance voting system compared to most other political parties. And being that there is a lot of technically capable members, we do have the capacity to experiment with more complex voting systems.

So the question here is:

What’s your thought on how PPAU internal democracy is functioning? Is it fostering the kind of political dynamism that is needed for this party to function effectively? Or is there a structural changes to the party that may need to be considered?

Would we need to switch to a more per issue based voting system? Should we vote via phone apps? Should we vote more often? How do we reduce internal division and factionalism? Etc…

Let’s hear your thoughts!


Refer also to this thread on liquid democracy for what we think we ought to use and some reasons why we currently don’t.


Seconded! That’s a great thread.

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So keep going with polly? Is there progress in internal party structural improvements? E.g. app development? Juries? Vote tokens?

Polly has a lot to commend it, but needs a lot more work. No one here would mind if you decided to have a crack at that. :wink:

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Is it something we can get other political parties to be interested in working on it together with PPAU? It sounds like something that would be better done professionally if we can get a professional to do it fulltime (Via crowdfunding etc…). Plus it’s a technology that would be good if shared rather than kept internally to one party.

I am also looking around to see if there is already software that does what polly does anyhow, just in case we are duplicating work as well. (I had a look at https://nationbuilder.com/software, but it doesn’t seem to implement any voting system inside).

Of course it’s completely open. There are links in the thread that @alexjago linked to above. Read through them and most, if not all, of these questions will be answered.

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There’s one issue with casually reading up on Polly now, which is that the associated web site has finally gone down.

Good thing there’s an archive…


Anyway, the thing that we were sort-of waiting on last time this came up was for a German person’s work to be translated, in case it radically changed what we thought we needed. @LMK knows more.


I wrote the original Polly requirements.
I did read a translation of @LMK’s German friends work, but my recollection of it was very much more a description of the need for such a system than any kind of description of how it should operate.

I’ll try to dig up the links tonight.


Here you go … the translated document:


Yes, so if anyone with programming skills feels inspired to work with Jano (and myself) to write these ideas into a software system, please do get in touch :slight_smile:


While I do want to see this thing reach a functional and useful stage, I’m afraid I can’t answer this call to arms. I’ve already committed to the project which is now paying my bills and I can’t over-extend; which would do no one any good anyway.


Hi folks,

I appreciate your openness for experimenting with new voting methods and tools, even if they might be a little more complex. Laura and I have just finalized the translation of another text on our website:

We thereby agree with @Frew’s view on the problems with the old (pseudo or non-) Liquid Feedback:

Additionally, concerning conscientious decisions and effectivity of self-organization with non-Liquid Feedback, commonly used majority voting (we call it “Republikstandard”) or the Schulze Condorcet preferential method, we criticize a lack of precise and valid measurement of quality of ideas and political performance, e.g. suitability of candidates, priority of problems and goals, as well as of solutions’ fit with common goals and human rights, e.g. the coherence of political performance with UN Global Goals and human rights, which is essential for a collective intelligence to self-regulate.

Of course, we would be happy to find skilled programmers who have the time to build a platform that incorporates some first modules and realizing step by step what we call “Extended Liquid Democracy” (ELD). ELD is a newer progress in our research and reflects a synthesis of two opposite modes of decision-making, i.e. based on bottom-up and top-down processes, as you can see in this picture of the ELD-Eisberg-Model:


The ELD is a synthesis of two opposite psychological modes (above and under water) each associated with decision-making methods of varying intensity that represent a continuum of increasing information, freedom of decision and complexity of problems to be solved (from the top down to the bottom*) and of self-coherent goal setting and emerging conscious will by reduction of complexity (from the bottom up to the top). With this new concept it is possible to improve both direct as well as representative democracy by implementing quality-oriented participatory methods of decision-making to measure the people’s will and coherence with human rights.

Please feel free to ask us everything you are interested in to know.

Kind regards,

*Please recognize that according to an integrative view at the will of individuals and groups, bottom-up and top-down processes show an inverse relation concerning freedom and self-determination at the micro- (individual) versus the meso- till macro-level (groups till society). Whereas at the individual level, free will and self-determination are associated with top-down processes including brain structures as the frontal lobe, such a maximally free and self-coherent decision process requires an open quality-oriented bottom-up design at the group and society level. Conversely, a group or society mainly based on quality-unspecific top-down decision methods cannot provide or support transparency and substantial freedom of expression, discussion, decision and thought on the individual level, nor can it depict pluralism without manipulative and ideologically framed polarization processes, or without the risk of developing an increasingly centralized oligarchy or dictatorship.


Hey Pirates,

I’ve been chatting with a chap named Guy Kennedy, who built/runs a website https://policyincubator.com/, who might be interested in collaborating with us to incorporate some of these ideas.

I think he’s already joined this forum as @Guy
Please welcome him. Maybe we can find some common ground where we can build something together.



Hey all,

Thanks Andrew for the intro.

The Polly, MAUT and REAL Liquid Feedback models of policy development and voting developed by the Pirate Party look unique and well ahead of anything else I’ve seen. While I don’t fully understand the technical details and appreciate that you’ve developed different models with some crossover, I was wondering if there might be synergy between your models and our platform. Maybe we could start with some simple experiments to test compatibility.

Here’s an overview of Policy Incubator. Nb. this is currently designed for Australia but may have international applications. The policies on the platform are rudimentary and for demonstration purposes.

Policy Incubator is an online democracy platform, with a focus on policy development. The system is open and free, with members able to create and shape policies of their own and of others. Policy development is shaped by community interaction and deliberation, culminating in a community vote. This will make politics more accessible to all corners of the Australian public! The strength of this decentralised policy making and deliberation model is based on the power of ‘the crowd’. This crowdsourcing model not only results in superior public policy but also provides an ideal platform for grassroots campaigners to build community support for their causes. https://policyincubator.com/

We’ve only just released our prototype (minimum viable product) and will start experimenting soon. In terms of the value-add (benefits), one idea is to empower political parties like yours by publishing your policies which would be promoted to as wide an audience as possible to increase your reach and influence.

Just as an example (these are very early thoughts), we could start the process with an ‘Issue’. We’re considering adding a new page to the website so the process would start with ‘Issue’ rather than ‘Policy’. At the moment the process starts with a Policy Maker proposing their own policy, which is difficult for most people. By starting with ‘Issue’ the platform will become more crowd-based with everyone working together to solve the same problem. The page would be called: 'ISSUES – DEFINE THE PROBLEM AND FIND SOURCE MATERIAL.

See here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1k-aKe6I0B9ypYGuh3p2iMFc9ctBbaifXcVZ4MghRozk/edit#slide=id.p1

Based on the PP drug policy, the issue could be:

Title: Incarceration of Personal Drug Users

Content: The cost of incarcerating personal drug users is $XX billion/year, which is Y% of total public expenditure. Even with this level of public expenditure, there has been no reduction in personal drug use over the period XY to XZ. See link on right for source material.

Click link for source material.

From there, community members (or groups eg. political parties) would work together to come up with solutions (policies).

This is where the Pirate Party could introduce its policy development and/or voting applications.

Policy Incubator already has two basic voting applications as follows:

  1. Voters vote for Policies (vote YES option only)
  2. Voters vote in Referendums (vote YES or NO)

I’m not sure if or how Pirate Party and Policy Incubator voting applications would be compatible or if PP voting could occur on your own platform. You could possibly start the experiment with a spreadsheet as Andrew and team did with the MAUT drug policy (lowest possible cost).

You can see the full Policy Incubator process here (note: as above we are considering a new first step called ‘Issues’ to make the whole thing more crowd-based: https://policyincubator.com/home/policy_making_process

Looking forward to hearing any feedback or suggestions.

Guy :slight_smile:


Dear Pirates,

thank you for your interest and the introduction of the Policy Incubator, which we think is a well done prototype for top-down policy-making with an improved participatory government-style.

If you like, we want to show you, how the Policy Incubator incubates within the field of Extended Liquid Democracy (ELD). Therefore, we first want to specify in more detail what I) characterizes top-down and bottom-up tools in the ELD-Eisberg model.
In a second step, we want to II) intensify (y)our understanding of the Eisberg model and then III) integrate the Policy Incubator as well as the Schulze preferential method within the ELD-Eisberg model and show you, what is missing for a Real Liquid Feedback.
If you like, we can afterwards discuss ELD and the Policy Incubator within an example as @Guy proposed. Perhaps you have some other ideas for important practical questions (or scenarios) to be discussed?

I) First, please let us make our ELD-inherent distinction of collective top-down and bottom-up processes more clearly (see figure 1: The ELD-Eisberg model):


A (single) top-down process on the community-level is characterized by a closed question including 1 to 2 proposals (e.g. “Do you want/prefer proposal A (or B)?”), coupled with nominal (non-metric) black-or-white scales (i.e. Yes/No; Yes or No; A or B).

A (multiple) bottom-up process on the community-level is characterized by (multiple) open questions concerning the most important problem to be solved (e.g. 1. “Which is the most important problem at the moment?”, 2. “What are the things that need to be changed concerning the most important problem?”, 3. “What are our goals to solve this problem?”, 4. “How can we solve this problem at best fit/match with our values and goals?”), mostly associated with an open gathering of more than 2 proposals or perspectives answering multiple open questions (which is integrated in the ELD-method or module called “Konsens-Café”). In bottom-up processes, open questions are further coupled with quality-specific, metric scales that measure the extent of every issue-quality P in question (e.g. P-rating scale from 0 = problem/solution has no importance; no fit or match with values and goals until 10 = highest importance; best fit or match with values and goals). Also possible are metric scales in terms of semantic differentials (e.g. a P’3-scale from -3 = very un-important until +3 = very important), which also includes the categorical information of majority votes as every negative answer reflects a ‘No’ - no agreement’, and a positive answer reflects a 'Yes" - agreement.

According to our ELD-Eisberg-Model a multiple bottom-up approach follows a certain minimal scheme that incorporates a universal concept of problem solving or a fully defined intention, respectively (and to be comparable, self-similar and interoperable, a (multiple) top-down approach should also include these stages). In our paper “What is Real Liquid Feedback”, we describe these requirements of a fully defined intention in terms of 4 parts of a proposal or stages of self-coherent decision-making:
1. Priority of problem(s),
2. Current state, background and causes of an important problem,
3. Desired state and goals/criteria of best solution for an important problem,
4. Solutions to solve the problem or actions to reach the desired state according to common values and goals.
Psychological research has shown, that on the individual level, one is at risk of performance deficits, alienation, external determination, helplessness, apathy and depression, if the defining issues of an intention are not transparently and fully developed or “degenerated” (e.g. Kuhl & Helle, 1986; Kuhl, 1994).

In case of top-down majority votes, a position paper or proposal should therefore also reflect 1. Priority of the problem, 2. Background and causes of the problem, 3. most important criteria for a good solution, and 4. a solution, finally to be chosen by a sufficient amount of supporters. In contrast, with multiple bottom-up voting, the result is a ranking of concrete priority of problems, background/causes, and goals, as well as a ranking of suitability of solutions concerning their gradual fit/match with common goals. A leader, group or community can also act self-coherently with a well chosen top-down position or policy but it will not be possible to validly measure, sensibly differentiate and prove precise quantities of priorities and fit/match with people’s needs, common goals and expectations, i.e. to precisely measure the people’s will and representativeness of politics, without the implementation of mass-deliberating bottom-up methods.

II) Let us further intensify our understanding of the ELD-Eisberg model. Philosophically, we have three forms of self-consciousness and stages of our emerging will represented by the “Eisberg”, and realized by our ELD-capable brains:

  1. Above the water, we have the emerging/materializing Eisberg, reflecting a categorical (self as) object perception, as well as a more or less conscious decision realized by (self- to externally) controlled action. Philosophically spoken, above the water means “I am doing or ruling - so I am”.
  2. The water-surface mediates the emergence/materialization of the Eisberg, and reflects the moment of self-realization or emerging self-consciousness and a cognitive precondition for self-controlled action, which is an action plan or ranking of more or less valued/prefered issues, i.e. of problems, goals and solutions. The water-surface (with larger doubts representing larger waves) thereby may represents Descartes’ ‘res cognitas’: “I am thinking - so I am”.
  3. Under water, we have the more or less unseen potential of the Eisberg or the self and the will, reflecting a rather fuzzy pool of interests, wishes, needs, and more or less adequate goals and coping solutions that remain in a sub-conscious till unconscious motive-structure of un-/wishful alternatives. What’s happening under water is a more or less detailed matching, rating, comparison, and ranking of all sensations, needs/goals and solutions with associated positive or negative feelings as results. The Eisberg under water therefore may represent Damasio’s “I am feeling - so I am”.

Please notice: The ELD-Eisberg-Model aims to include all possible forms of self-consciousness and connects it with all possible discussion and voting methods by means of their inherent type of question (open vs. closed), scale-level (i.e. metric = bottom-up; ordinal = surface; nominal = top-down); and complexity (i.e. from single till multiple questions, alternatives and P-scales, different argument-levels and process iterations) to measure agreement, common welfare or well-being and to transparently depict the (emerging free) will.

III) So far and to our knowledge, circa 90% of existing open source voting and discussion tools, including the Policy-Incubator, only realize a rough depiction of a reduced little part of the self and the will with a more or less distorting, alienating and enslaving top-down design which is related to the top of the Eisberg above the water. In case of more complex problems, for example, there always is the risk of a false dilemma.
With the Schulze preferential method, in comparison, we have a method that is related to the surface of the water, as it measures the individual and collective ranking that results from pairwise, but intransparent comparisons of issues or candidates (under water).
Thereby, the result of voting via Policy Incubator and Schulze preferential method does not include any information about the absolute/concrete level of priority, suitability or precision of each issue, as it is possible only via bottom-up methods from the underwater-sphere. With Policy Incubator and Schulze preferential method, we only know that one issue is more preferred than the other(s), but we don’t know the concrete levels of and differences in priority, suitability, or precision, and why. The more we miss data from “underwater”, the more we are at risk of alienation, since we can not recognize and consequently correct the errors or corruption of thinking and action according to our implicit values, needs and goals.

The Policy-Incubator, related to the upper Eisberg-level called “Republikstandard”, thereby seems to be in a process of developing a top-down voting standard that increasingly incorporates the elements of a fully developed intention, which is a very wishful structure for structured collective problem-solving, more transparency and controlled action and to experimentally integrate and compare multiple top-down and bottom-up voting methods.
Thus, we appreciate and like to support a further development of the Policy-Incubator that may complete the cognitive elements of a fully developed intention (plus add-ons). We thereby recommend to think about additional scales at ordinal scale-level (besides Yes, and Yes or No), e.g. of an ordinal traffic lights-P-Scale that measures suitability, depicts conscientious decisions and implements an informative majority voting, including the circumstances and requirements under which people would find it a suitable solution, which helps to transparently optimize proposals.

However, compared to the possibilities of self-regulated and self-controlled policy-processes associated with open-questions and quality-specific bottom-up methods from the “underwater”-sphere of the ELD-Eisberg model (e.g. Schrotta, 2011; FixMyRepublic, for further examples see footnotes), there are still some problems of alienation and actionism that grassroots-communities are at risk of when using tools like the Policy-Incubator, or the Schulze preferential method.
For example, if a tool misses the open gathering of problems and their metric priority-ranking, all further discussions and policies might not meet the needs of the people the policy is made for, probably leaving a majority in passivity, and keeping politics and activists at risk of irrelevant actionism or corruption by foreign interests, not solving the causes of most relevant problems of the people or the grassrouts-base.
Another risk of alienation lies in the missing of a fully defined intention, or transparent problem and solution spaces, for example, when it comes to the missing common goal criteria the most suitable solution should be rated and found with; and the less informative value that lies in Yes- or No- and Schulze preferential votes concerning a solutions’ match with common values and goals. Thereby, some conscientious decisions contributing to the overall-result may be mixed up with another majority of voters that desided based on criteria that are foreign to their own or common needs, goals and criteria for a good solution, e.g. because they were smashed up in fights against each other, or manipulated, and were not explicitly asked to think about, simulate and (pi-) rate the concrete goal-fit of solutions.
Additionally, it does not systematically support intrinsic motivation and self-determined learning of common values, goals and the materialization of goal-coherent solutions, because the method-design misses an explicitly and participatory, open goal-setting and a Real Liquid Feedback about quality of (political) performance according to the common values, needs and goals. Therefore, most of the issues and risks we speak of and criticise in our article “Old LQFB is not Liquid Feedback” are also relevant for the Policy-Incubator.

But, if the Policy-Incubator increasingly and explicitly integrates the elements of a fully defined intention (plus add-ons*) into its structure of proposals, and maybe integrates a new traffic lights-P-Scale for conscientious reasoning, as well as multiple P-voting, e.g. for every element of a fully developed intention represented by multiple questions, it would become a better standard for participatory decision-making at the edge to (multiple) bottom-up voting that we could probably upgrade in the direction of a Real Liquid Feedback, and a fully developed Extended Liquid Democracy.


* As add-ons for fully defined intentions we recommend a standardized metric measurement and comparison of ratings of the current state (Ist) with ratings of a desired state (Soll), and of proposal(s) to change something (Was tun?). Besides ratings and discussion of Ist, Soll, Was tun, we recommend to additionally discuss chances, risks and barriers of doing nothing (passive solution reflecting the current state) and of the action proclaimed in a proposal (change solution). With bottom-up methods, a high resistance against the passive solution implicates a high motivation or urgency to change something; and a change proposal that has a higher resistance or lower suitability than the passive solution would indicate an unreasonable step backwards (e.g. Schrotta, 2011).

Kuhl, J. & Helle, P. (1986). Motivational and volitional determinants of depression: The degenerated-intention hypothesis. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 95(3), 247-251.
Kuhl, J. (1994). A theory of action vs. state orientation. In: J. Kuhl & J. Beckmann (Eds.), Volition and personality: Action vs. state orientation, Göttingen: Hogrefe, 9-46.
Schrotta (2011): Wie wir klüger entscheiden: einfach - schnell - konfliktlösend, Styria Print.


Thanks everyone, I’m really excited that this discussion is taking off!

I’d just like to add that I’m happy to answer questions or clarify anything about Jano’s research and writing, including in the linked-to articles that I translated.

As I’m sure I’ve said before, I consider the developing of participatory grass-roots democracy our Party’s pivotal role, setting us apart from other parties and adding value to the political landscape with the potential of revolutionising the way politics is run in a way that is too often oceans apart from the public interest. Also, participatory democracy is one of our core tenets bringing us together as a party. Needless to say, it’s one of the main reasons I joined PPAU and why I’m still here.

:heart: Laura


An interesting thought could be to think about participatory democracy as something that isn’t just pushed by the PPAU as a policy towards the government. But perhaps a possible future campaign is the concept of laterally promoting participatory democracy across other parties as well (even if its not adopted exactly as how PPAU does it, as long as the spirit is kept that could still be a win). This would be via encouraging internal reforms in other parties.

Hope it becomes a topic for the next National Congress 2018 (along with working with policy incubator etc…)


Hi Jana, Laura and all,

Thanks for sending your proposal for collaboration and the integration of the ELD-Eisberg-Model (Real Liquid Feedback) and Policy Incubator. If it’s ok with you I’d like to invite one of our key collaborators, Dr Nicholas Gruen, professor of economics, to join this discussion. Nicholas is in the Designing Open Democracy group and has been working on and proposing new models of democracy for a number years. His proposals include a ‘Citizen’s Jury’, and increasing quality deliberation in policymaking. I think he may have the knowledge and skills to understand your proposal in some depth, and possibly provide valuable feedback and suggestions.

I’m wondering if you could also provide answers to a few questions to clarify how ELD-Eisberg-Model would work, and how it might be integrated with Policy Incubator.

You mentioned that Policy Incubator is a ‘prototype for top-down policy-making’, but the intention is for it to be a bottom up, deliberative policymaking system. See the attached (very basic) flow diagram.

Could you clarify how it is top down? From what I understand Policy Incubator has a relatively unstructured, open format for policymaking (so far), and the ELD-Eisberg-Model provides a far more structured policymaking format. Is that right? Actually, I’m doing an online course on policy development at UC Berkeley to learn how to implement a more structured approach to policymaking, so your ELD-Eisberg-Model sounds exactly what we were looking for, Could you provide any further comments?

I appreciate that the Policy Incubator voting functions provide only black/white options. Actually, voting for policies gives a YES option only while referendums allow YES/NO options. I see how the ELD-Eisberg-Model provides far more voting alternatives, like options on marketing research surveys. Your model could offer great potential for internal party policymaking procedures, which could possibly be licensed to other political parties to create a new political system in which people’s needs are more effectively met, similar to how companies adjust their strategies in response to market research questionnaires to better satisfy customer needs (this is just a thought, not a proposed business model).

On another point, I’ve been discussing with Nicholas Gruen how we could increase the effectiveness of Policy Incubator policy deliberation by implementing a new comments rating system, so that issues posted, comments posted on issues, policies and policy comments would be rated by community members. In this way the posts (and contributors) with the most merit would be rated and highlighted. Such a rating system could be a 1-5 scale, or grey scale as I think you’ve already proposed for policy votes.

Could a system like this for comment votes make the system more deliberative and meritocratic, and integrate with the ELD-Eisberg-Model?

Here’s a quote from an article by Nicholas, and the link below:

“One of the issues of the day is how one might be able to use the internet to scale such things. It’s not an easy question. As I’ve argued, in some ways the internet makes things worse, as it speeds the pace of deliberation and people refine their clickbaiting capabilities. But the Melbourne based website YourView tries to scale democratic deliberation by hosting discussions with the back end of the website helping to work out who is contributing to the conversation in the way that others find most constructive. Thus it rewards what it calls “epistemic virtues” by giving those that exhibit them higher credibility scores. It’s more complicated than this, but it will do for discussion to say that those with high credibility are those who make comments on issues which are rated most highly by those who disagree with them.”

‘YourView’ has been shut down but Nicholas has offered to talk to the founder/s about the possibility of us using some of the code.

Also, further to mofosyne’s suggestion, which userbase (target market) would the proposed platform be designed for? Would it be for internal Pirate Party use, other political parties, the general public (domestic and/or international), to create a whole new political and government system, or a combination? Which of these alternatives would produce the largest impact?

The answer to these questions will help to determine other factors, including ownership and management structure, investment alternatives, product development and revenue models (if any).

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

All the best,


Dear Guy and all,

thank you for your answer, feedback and interesting questions. Of course, we would appreciate it, if Dr. Nicholas Gruen would join our discussion!

ok. We can give you some more information concerning the ELD-Eisberg model and the related methods, and how to integrate and extend the Policy Incubator (concept) within the field of Extended Liquid Democracy (see figure 1 above capturing the ELD-Eisberg model).

First, we like to make some more distinctions concerning the method categories above and under water:

  • On the one hand, the ELD-Eisberg model reflects the final (materialized) realization of the Eisberg above the water, i.e. the final resolution, which in line with the “Republikstandard” is found by a Yes/No - majority vote. If the final resolution is made by a legally binding referendum, it is called direct democracy. If the final resolution is made by groups of representatives or a parliament, it is called representative democracy.

  • On the other hand, there are bottom-up methods, the underwater sphere including the water surface, which are associated with the emergence of the will and preferences, and an open participatory decision-making before the final resolution. With the concept of Extended Liquid Democracy, we primarily focus on the processes and results, which should naturally occur before the stage of final resolution above the water.

In contrast to the legally fixed final resolution format realized by Yes/No majority-voting, the format of the decision-making process before the final resolution is, besides proposals for certain quorums, less legally fixed. So we think, besides the Yes-quorums described in Guy’s flow chart of the policy-making process, there is still a good space for theory and experimenting with open questions, decisions with more than 2 solutions/proposals, rating of different argument levels and additionally using ordinal and metric scales as quality indicators in the phase of decision-making before the final resolution.

Yes, that’s right. While Policy Incubator incorporates a rather unstructured minimal standard, the ELD-Eisberg model is a more structured theoretical and complex scientific approach.

In your flow chart of the concept of policy-making with the Policy Incubator, you describe a process where one issue of citizens’ interests are brought up to another political class-level (the policy-maker) where the proposal is written and optimized until it is finally decided by referendum. As your concept integrates participatory and direct democratic elements of resolution, it can be included within ELD as a rather unstructured, participatory tool under the top-down (resolution-like) procedures related to the top of the Eisberg above the water. Top-down methods with single solutions and nominal scales, even for more complex problems, thereby have the lowest level of freedom and information in expressing the result of more complex considerations and comparisons of alternatives compared to bottom-up methods.

The following basic assumptions of the ELD-Eisberg model underline this:

  • A method is categorized as top-down when it includes closed questions concerning up to 2 issues that are answered by a nominal scale of either Yes or No.

  • A method is categorized as bottom-up when it includes open questions, an open gathering of a diversity of more than 2 problems and/or solutions and feedback is given with traffic light (ordinal) or more sensitive, metric scales (e.g. like a thermometer) for every alternative.

Comparing the definitions of bottom up and top-down processes in political sociology versus natural sciences of self-organization and the will, we think to recognize a difference or bias that may be caused by a rather ideologically framed political sociology of governance. Political sociology of governance often seems to frame bottom-up and top-down processes by class stereotypes according to a more or less undoubted power hierarchy. Thereby, the formation of the will is (ideologically pseudo-) explained by personified power hierarchies of authorities (e.g. citizens, politicians, leaders and final God) - instead of a structural ELD-theory of the will and rational criteria for conscientious decision-making and public welfare.

In Psychology, bottom-up processes (on the individual level) are associated with the stimulus-driven parts of perception and action, and with the emergence of automatized habits and conditioned behaviour that instrumentally reduce or change an unwanted state. There are a lot of autonomous and less conscious processes and needs that may be relevant for self-regulation and an organisms’ homoeostasis. In contrast, top-down processes (on the individual level) are associated with the cognitive parts of perception, self-controlled action and volitional efficiency, that for example enable the identification of objects, self-discrimination, attentional control, e.g. the ignoring of irrelevant ideas and options, and behavioural persistence in executing a certain plan to reach an important goal or a desired state.

In self-organizing groups of equal members, bottom-up is related to the open, decentral and pluralistic pattern formation of a group’s will by a free, equal and sensitive prioritization of inner-democratic needs or an upcoming group consensus about most fitting solution(s). In contrast, top-down (at the group level) is related to a monistic resolution, centralized government and execution of any will by enslaving individual degrees of freedom and dominating a group’s discussion, planning and action progress in favour of anyone’s goals.

Yes, we hope so.

Yes, the ELD-theory and the Eisberg model make several structural assumptions for an upgraded self-organized collective intelligence (e.g. via FixMyRepublic). These are for example:

  • the distinctions of bottom-up versus top-down processes and decision methods,
  • of psychological mind sets for self-coherent goal setting versus the execution of one’s will,
  • of an information and discussion phase that can be iterated, in terms of “quiet revolutions”, to transparently optimize proposals before the final resolution;
  • a problem solving and proposal-structure for a fully defined intention and the TOTE-unity, possibly with multiple votings on varying argument levels,
  • and universal rational choice criteria that may increase efficiency, coherence with common goals and representativeness through performance-contingent (real-time) liquid feedback.

The ELD-theory further suggests several algorithms for the initiation and utilization of bottom-up and top-down methods and processes, e.g. to avoid people unconsciously being forced into false dilemmas and inhibited in their freedom of expression and choice concerning their intuitive and rational processes and results of matching, rating, comparing and ranking of concrete needs, goals and actions (under water).

Moreover, there is an ELD-inherent categorization of methods resulting in different modules that can be worked with on different (sub-)argument levels. At the moment, we differentiate 5 ELD-modules including the Republikstandard module A and the Real Liquid Feedback modules B to E:

  • Module A (usal majority voting) = characterized by single or multiple closed questions with up to 2 options, nominal rating (e.g. Yes, YES/No) and discussion of pro and/or contra

  • Module B (informative majority voting) = characterized by closed or open questions with up to 3 options, ordinal rating (e.g. a traffic-light scale measuring the solutions fit with common goals) and discussion of reasons for fit (green), non-fit (red), and anticipated conditions of fit (yellow).

  • Module C (quick selectional consensus) = characterized by open questions with more than 2 or 3 options, metric ratings of priority, suitability/fit or precision, and discussion of reasons

  • Module D (medium to intensive selectional consensus) = characterized by open questions with more than 2 or 3 options, multiple metric ratings of priority, suitability/fit and precision and iteration of discussion process to optimize proposals.

  • Module E (quick to intensive Consensus Cafés) = characterized by multiple open questions, e.g. for solving complex sub-/problems with single to multiple ordinal to metric quality scales and iterations of discussion phases to decentrally and equally create and optimize a common codex, manifest or management.

We further like to discuss some use cases and results of these ELD-modules

within a fictional scenario:

It comes up in an independent grassroots community that a team member wears a weapon. Some team members want to discuss its relevance and acceptance.

Which possibilities does the community have to discuss this topic and self-organize with the help of an ELD-compatible platform?

Self-organization, a posteriori (after the incident) with:

  • Module A: a majority voting concerning the question whether it should be allowed to wear a weapon with a pro/contra discussion with yes or no as options.

  • Module B: an informative majority voting (of experts, a jury, community-members) concerning the question whether and under which circumstances the wearing of a weapon is acceptable by law or fits with the codex of the group by means of a traffic-lights-scale plus comments including conditions of fit. If there is a majority for no-fit and “fits under conditions” further proceed with module C…

  • Module C: Evaluating the degree of violence of the deviant behaviour with a necessary 80% agreement in ratings of independent, blinded raters (e.g. experts, a jury, community members). The level of violence which is reached by an 80% consensus is associated with a specific a priori fixed sanction level in a treatment list that is build before the incidence (Module D).

Self-organization, a priori (before the incident) with:

  • Module C: A regular discussion and priority ranking via metric priority ratings of (most) important problems and goals in the community to be discussed or solved.

  • Module C: A discussion about how to improve safety in the community according to common values and goals, especially when it is given a high priority by the community members.

  • Module D: Building and optimizing a list of automatized tailored treatment dependent on the 80% agreement of experts and community members concerning a specific treatment or sanction that should be given for a certain degree of violence or deviant behaviour.

  • Module D: Optimizing a specific part of the codex by including specific circumstances, under which it is allowed to wear weapons according to common values, i.e. an additional iteration of a former consensus process with metric quality ratings of fit and precision.

  • Module E: Building and optimizing a codex, manifest or management of violent or deviant behaviour.

Please note that with bottom-up methods, there is an increasing freedom of expression and decision, and complexity with additional valuable information concerning the people’s will, differences between options and conditions of agreement, by ensuring equality and justice and by serving the potential of various forms of autonomous, decentralized self-organization.

The Extended Liquid Democracy includes empirical methods similar to those used in market research, as it incorporates qualitative and quantitative self-report methods but based on scientific theories of self-organization, motivation and self-determined action. The ELD includes a rational choice model of self-coherent decision and action as well as a scientific humanistic approach to measure the will and common welfare. See figure 2 capturing the logo of Extended Liquid Democracy which is also a model for the functioning of the soul, the self and science:


The definition of Extended Liquid Democracy (ELD) thereby is as follows:

"In a real democracy people freely, equally and cooperatively strive to avoid pain (P-) and to sustain or multiply happiness (P+)."

Yes, the effectiveness may be especially increased with quality-specific metric ELD-subscales and quality indicators, since it becomes possible to sort or filter arguments in order to their priority, suitability, precision or correctness and to self-regulate and learn more efficiently through performance-contingent liquid feedback. If it is possible to mark and associate single text parts with a high or low quality and the different overall quality-ratings of the text, it becomes possible to create a heat-map of a text that further explains the result of the overall (info) quality measures of arguments or news etc. We also have thought about such a prototype and an associated quality-index for news and proposals and to rate quality of information presented in discussions.

A scale from 1 to 5 would rather be an ordinal scale level (at the surface), but without any clue what is measured with it. Together with metric scales, e.g. numerical rating scales from 0 to 10 or semantic differentials at a metric scale level, we called it grey scales in terms of measurement of degrees of resistance between black and white. The most of our P-scales and response modes, i.e. for voting via traffic lights-P-scale and semantic P-differentials, however, are better reflected by different (shades of) colours.

We think it is a very good idea to enable ratings of arguments and sub-arguments to improve discussion and to facilitate the recognition and correction of fake news or false arguments, hate speech etc… Within the ELD, the evaluation of sub-arguments is a generally recommended add-on for all discussion modules or levels of the Eisberg. This means, it is not primarily more deliberative (i.e. more bottom-up and uncensored), but it is probably more precise and correct, and promoting a higher quality of information and discussion as a precondition for good decisions.

We think that the possible userbase of ELD-tools promoting value-oriented self-organization is much bigger than from the political context only, where one could say that a party’s or NGO’s aim in general is to give public services for a need-oriented development of policies and proposals to solve common problems of citizens in coherence with human rights…

Perhaps you have some additional suggestions and ideas?
We are looking forward to the further discussion, your comments and questions! :slight_smile:

Jana and Laura