Why doesn't the Pirate Party practice Liquid Democracy?

Continuing the discussion from Pirate Party memes:

Okay. Why doesn’t the Pirate Party practice Liquid Democracy?

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I think we would, if we had the tools to effectively use it, unfortunately for all the promise in the world, there is no functional liquid democracy software that would allow us to run it effectively. There was a LOT of work done behind the scenes to flesh out a plan to build and operate a complete liquid democracy system, but much like the member database it takes a long time to implement and funding to pay for it, so hopefully, eventually, we WILL, but for now it is not available to us in a way that we can actually manage reliably with the volunteers we have.

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Didn’t the Germans try to make it work - surely their tools are reasonably complete?

In particular, what about Liquid Feedback doesn’t suit our needs?

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I wasn’t part of the team pulling it part, but I believe it had some serious issues around implementation, stability and anonymity, along with the voting algorithms being incompatible with the Schulze Condorcet preferential method that we use. Maintaining anonymity whilst making it unnameable is a big challenge.

I have not looked at it for over a year so it could have changed, but it was at the top of the list of options since we started basically.

It is probably worth being looked at again, but it doesn’t look like a lot has changed.

I also noticed this …

From the discussion Melbourne Pirates Gathering Sunday 24 April:

And what’s happening with Polly?

Polly was what I was talking about above, so far, not a lot in the actual building has happened.

Ideally we would be using Polly, which was made as a critique of Liquid Democracy.

There have been problems implementing it in other countries. I won’t go into specific country by country details because it is based on Pirate Party International discussions years ago and I’m sure the events discussed were disputed by the other participants.

The rate of participation is hugely influential on its effectiveness. If most members aren’t voting regularly and just delegate their votes to other people, the people who control those votes wield immense power over policy. There was a situation in one area where 6 people controlled over 50% of the vote, they realised it and formed a cartel to control the policies of their party. This alienated those who couldn’t influence the voting cartel and damaged the party.

Another issue was that the way the software was implemented created a short turn around time for policy to be debated. This resulted in those with the most time to debate policy having a lot of influence due to being able to invest more time in advocating certain positions.

If we ever get Polly off the ground, or decided to try a version of liquid democracy, we would use it to draft policy that would still be put to the National Congress for debate and approval. This would ensure we don’t end up with a system that doesn’t work in practice controlling the organisation. Once we had run it for a few years and ironed out the bugs we could look at implementing it fully.

Our policy development is done on a long timeline, all members are invited to participate and they are well discussed before Congress is held. This is currently producing excellent policy. The downside is that AndrewD the guy who runs the PDC, is the same guy who was working on Polly and actual policy work is trumping developing the voting system.


if you wanted to incentivise more people to vote (and thus less cartels). youd tie the votes to real money. like a cryptocurrency where voting mines a votecoin, that is worth something on exchanges.

there are a few projects working on that but i havent looked closely at them: