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:That's a very interesting idea, Menezesgc. I'm going propose it to the group on the [[PrototypeA|prototype]] and the list. FYI, while we have some discussions here, the majority of discussions currently take place on the [[Startup]] list server. You are welcome and encouraged to [[Participate#Join_the_Startup_Committee|join]]. — [[User:Ed Pastore|Ed Pastore]] 01:22, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
:That's a very interesting idea, Menezesgc. I'm going propose it to the group on the [[PrototypeA|prototype]] and the list. FYI, while we have some discussions here, the majority of discussions currently take place on the [[Startup]] list server. You are welcome and encouraged to [[Participate#Join_the_Startup_Committee|join]]. — [[User:Ed Pastore|Ed Pastore]] 01:22, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
I'd also suggest a reconsideration of Jefferson's ideal ("of, by, and for the people").  In a global system, it's not just "the people" who a system of governance should be "for".  The government must also be for the '''natural world''' which, need it be said, cannot easy participate in "open governance". [[User:StalkingTime|Marcos]] 20:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
I'd also suggest a reconsideration of [Abe] Lincoln's ideal ("government of, by, and for the people").  In a global system, it's not just "the people" who a system of governance should be "for".  The government must also be for the '''natural world''' which, need it be said, cannot easy participate in "open governance". [[User:StalkingTime|Marcos]] 20:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

Revision as of 18:07, 28 June 2009

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This was written before the mailing list discussion started.

Many things written here seem to have garnered agreement on the ml, whereas others seem to have spawned controversy.

Would it be ok to edit-out sections of hte main page that do not yet have consensus on the mailing list?

Today I showed the (static version of the) page to an activist who replied with disagreement about a few topics that I knew don't have consensus, and it made me think that maybe we should show a more updated vision to newcomers...

--AurSaraf 00:40, 14 May 2008 (UTC)

Yes, I think that would be a good idea. Hopefully others will contribute to your edits. — Ed Pastore 02:32, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Basic principles

For a discussion of the Basic Principles section of this page, please see: Talk:Basic principles.


The easiest and most practical way to transition from representative democracy to an open source government might be to have dummy candidates run for office. By that I mean have a candidate run for office under the "open source party", and if elected have them legislate as they're instructed to by the metagovernment. As the metagovernment would have to function within the existing framework of representative democracy, its abilities would be somewhat limited, and may not allow for the more sophisticated scoring system. For example, within a parliament or congress, metagovernment legislators would often be limited to voting "yes" or "no". Despite these limitations, this may be the most pragmatic and quickest way to achieve a kind of open source government.

Once the metagovernment has a large enough majority more fundamental institutional changes could be made, such as the implementation of the scoring system.ErikPressman 14:44, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

this is not really acceptable in many countries. For what I know politicians, ones they get in the job the swear that they will vote according to their consciens and not following external influences. I know many (most? all?) politician do not follow this code of conduct and are instead up for grab t the biggest lobby, but to have a strategy that openly requires it is just asking for trouble. It's a bit like the story of the man pissing in the swimming pool. He was harshly criticised: "don't you know it is illegal to piss in the swimming poll?". "But everybody does it!". "Yes, but not from the diving board" :)
--Pietro 12:21, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

I think the transition will follow two paths. One will be the introduction of shadow governments, dedicated to watching existing governments. Existing legislation will be put in a repository and the discussions in the parliament will be transferred into metascore. The communities using metascore will then generate feedback which the government won't be able to ignore. The shadow governments, will become ''the place to go, in order to talk about politics and it will be much easier and effective, than writing to your senator.

The other path will be organizations who adopt metascore to cope with their organizational complexity. I think many large organizations could use our system, to eventually direct the company, according to the will of its employees, rather than its CXOs.

Of course at first, we will need to sell the system to them as a way to filter and distil all the information in the organization, get feedback from shareholders, so that they can make better decisions. Of course the transparency in the organization, that comes with the system, will force them to stay in line, with the those participating in the discussions. Eventually people will realize that they don't need the people in power, and that they can govern by themselves. By then, the system will already have been put in place and the transition will be complete. Manuel Barkhau 20:20, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

This is very similar to how I see it working as well. The beauty of this approach is that it does not require any sort of active attempt on our part to displace any government; we simply invite societies to change their form of government to ours when they see fit.
It is significant to note here that several national projects seem to be getting underway. In addition to our Israeli friends at myvote.org.il, there is also Free Government recently launched in the United States and Demoex in Sweeden. And probably more I am not aware of. While these efforts are all fantastic... I am starting to wonder how they can be brought together. Making insular national governments seems necessary for the shadow government stage, but at some point, the world is going to realize that we are one internet. Restricting participation based on geographic happenstance doesn't seem useful anymore. — Ed Pastore 23:22, 26 July 2008 (UTC)

I was wondering, what if instead of getting power from the current government, we went straight to the people and asked them to ratify a constitution? We could copy the US and require 75% of nations to approve the constitution with a majority vote. We could conduct the vote online. — Ben Ochoa 13:50, 2 August 2008 (UTC)

That is pretty much the approach we are following, but we're trying to be patient about it. First, we need some software. Then we need some participants in the software. Then once we have something that people find to be superior to the status quo... people should have the motivation to figure out the best way to make it become the real government. — Ed Pastore 15:21, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

A system of governance is usually put in place because it has a strong track record (hence the adoption and metamorphosis of democracy. Instead why not petition the current governing body to "try it out". For example it could be applied temporarily to a small municipality. Or perhaps you could work with a Native American tribe (in possession of tribal lands)to institute it on their land. If it worked, it would begin to gain the reliability all new systems lack. Symetrist 15:58, 27 August 2008 (UTC)
This is currently being discussed on the Startup list server. See the thread starting here: http://metagovernment.org/pipermail/start_metagovernment.org/2008-August/000497.html Basically, we hope to use ourselves as the first test case, then to offer it to any other community wishing to try it. We have had an offer (in the message above) for an institution to use it, and we also have a couple of political projects which have expressed an interest, as noted here: Related projects#Affiliated_projectsEd Pastore 03:38, 29 August 2008 (UTC)

Direct democracy

I reverted a change in the Main Page (by G Fencer ) that was not being discussed here. The change was saying that the metagovernment would be a form of direct democracy. Since we asked in the first line to

Use this page to discuss the Main Page before you make changes to it.

DO we all agree that "metagovernment would be a form of direct democracy"? Should we put it back?--Pietro 15:13, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

I would say that yes, the word is a good description of this project. But as we note on the direct democracy page, this implementation should avoid the pitfalls of conventional direct democracy. "Open source governance" is probably a more accurate description (if for no other reason than that we are in the process of defining open source governance). But it may be useful to use the words "direct democracy" somewhere on the home page, so that people more readily get it. — Ed Pastore 14:47, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
Also, I should mention here that I had recently made some undiscussed edits to the Main Page, though they were mostly removal of old sections which may not be relevant anymore. However, I'll restore the timeline at Startup/Timeline and see if anyone wants to help bring it up to date. — Ed Pastore 14:47, 26 July 2008 (UTC)
I personally would vote against. I agree that it does represent quite well the project. But as we said elswhere direct democracy on the net is different than outside where it runs the risk of becoming populist. I think we more risk of losing people who do not want to support a populist project, more than gaining people. Who is really for direct democracy on the net, is generally well aquainted with the fact that what they want can also be described as open source governance.--Pietro 21:28, 28 July 2008 (UTC)
That makes sense. In that case, I think we should probably remove the reference to wiki government as well. I just got done replying to a blogger who got the impression that we were advocating simple government by wiki. — Ed Pastore 22:55, 31 July 2008 (UTC)
I just removed that ref. to wikigovernment, since the Wikipedia page has been deleted. — Ed Pastore 17:42, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Jefferson letter to Samuel Kerchival

I noticed the nice quote on the right, and went away to attribute it and add it to Wikiquote, only to find conflicting dates.

According to bottom of this, which gives a more complete quote, it was July 12, 1810. Project Gutenberg etext 16784 has the complete letter identified as CXXXV, and a date of July 12, 1816. To confirm the PG etext was accurate, I have put a digital edition of the four volumes onto Wikisource. The quote begins on leaf 302, and the date can be seen on leaf 297. The entire letter can be read at Letter to Samuel Kerchival - July 12, 1816.

The revision that introduced the "1810" makes me wonder where it came from. I'm not feeling bold enough to change the main page on my first second edit, especially as I've only checked one set of historical pagescans. John Vandenberg 13:47, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Welcome aboard, John! I think that even though it is a single source, a scan of the original document trumps something that I dug up probably out of Wikipedia. I'll change it now, and if anyone seems to find a better date, they can always change it again. :) — Ed Pastore 16:05, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Development status

Since the timeline is no longer on the home page, I added in a sentence about the development status. This was in response to a conversation I had with Dan Rosenthal, after he posted in this thread (fourth post). — Ed Pastore 16:43, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Discussion of 2008/08 changes

for brevity, i would just name the basic principles with a link to a more detailed description thereof. i think there is no need to repeat the interpretation of the principles on the main page. such an approach will lead to double work in terms of editing. rustahm 04:17, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

I think the basic principles are (somewhat) static though? I see your point, but I also remember being intrigued by the scope of the 'transition' section at the bottom of the page -- which, with an editors eye, would seem to be out of place. Richard Franks 06:18, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
static? nothing's ever static in this world. especially when we are talking about people's perceptions about abstract things, such as principles. fundamental movements are everywhere. remember Large Hadron Collider? ;-) so, description of the basic principles is subject to changes. like there might be one Bible but many interpretations thereof.
as for the section "Transition", i think a dedicated page would be more appropriate, again with a link thereto from a short passage on the main page.
rustahm 16:56, 16 September 2008 (UTC)
As of this revision, I changed the basic principles to a transclusion from the basic principles page. So changes on that page are automatically reflected on this page. That said... the basic principles should remain mostly unchanged, and at some point I think we should protect the page from modification. — Ed Pastore 21:47, 16 September 2008 (UTC)

Simple but no simpler?

From the current lede:

Anybody with enough time and dedication should be able to participate

The terms "enough time" and "dedication" are highly subjective - perhaps giving rise to the idea that it is a walled garden?

Disputes are resolved through synthesis, rather than voting or compromise, 

This would mean nothing to a newcomer.

I suggest that the lede is kept as simple as possible - providing information without raising any questions or nuance e.g.:

The goal of the Metagovernment project is to make the governance of any community as accessible as a free software project; not everyone must participate, but everyone must be allowed to participate.

People may help govern any community as much or as little as they wish by creating, discussing, and supporting resolutions. User input is weighed by other users through a scoring system and brought to the attention of other participants interested in that input.

The Metagovernment project governs and develops Metascore, the software to aid and manage community-based, open source governance systems. It is a global project in the startup phase, and you are encouraged to participate.

I believe this is a good enhancement for the main-page opening paragraphs--let the links give greater detail if need be. I'd say this opening lede(?) is concise, inviting, without excessive technical jargon, and easier to follow than the original.
On a side note, if we all help watch the main page, do we really need to treat it specially (for example, how long did this suggesting sit here?). It would be much worse for a good contributor to leave thinking that their input didn't get attention (or that the project is dead), than the occasional poor edit/vandal that can be corrected easily enough by nearly any of us. (If more watchdogging because necesssary, I'm sure the community will find a way distribute the responsibility.)
Consider also, that (unless the reader had a [non-English, for example?] misunderstanding) every edit is attempting to communicate some inadequacy in the existing document, however failingly. If an edit seems to make less sense, it's probably because while the general [valid] feeling is there, the grammar is not. It's up to the editors (i.e. you and me) to look at the suggestion with enough detachment to tease out the original inadequacy and to re-fit the new contribution in some way. In this way it becomes something like Pietro's project, nothing ever really gets discarded, but the suggestions that have value will continue on to the next generation.... Marcos 18:27, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

The following principles have been proposed but disputed. See basic principles and Talk:Basic principles for the dispute.

I wouldn't list the disputed principles on the main page, but I'd try to turn it into a selling point, e.g.

Following the principle of radical transparency, please see basic principles and
Talk:Basic principles for details of principles which have been proposed but disputed.

Transition - I'd be tempted to put a hook at the end - I think there is more power in humility here, especially as not to come across as radical looneys - so perhaps something like:

The Metascore software in current development may not be the tool which gains widespread adoption among the populace, but that's not a reason not to write it. The path transition takes will undoubtedly take us on many unexpected turns, but that's not a reason not to lay the foundations. We are confident that the philosophies, principles and practices we are developing together will form the cornerstone of the next major revision of democratic participation in governance.

While we do hope that you choose to participate in Metagovernment, we also encourage you to look at these related projects.

This is my first visit and post to the Metagovernment website. Although I am still learning about the project, I guess first impressions do count and tend to be underrated later on. My intent with this post is to express that I am very impressed by the work done here and I will try to help, even if from a distance since I am no more than a web user.

Abiding by the tenet of “first things first”, I have a suggestion about the Metagovernment logo design. The design is ok, but really does not convey to the observer any of the goals of the project, except where written “Government of, by, and for the people”. My opinion is that the graphic part of the logo should be more representative of such a new way of governance. Also, as the first thing you look at, the logo should capture the observer’s interest and curiosity, particularly in a project like this.

I like the metaphors conveyed by the saying “turning the world upside down”. The metaphor has many possible interpretations in the political context, but I think the most straightforward of them would read as this: a new way of thinking which changes fundamental aspects of preordained and accepted beliefs.

As you may very well have forethought, my suggestion is that the logo of the open half-world should be turned upside down. This is not a new idea and even some countries of the south hemisphere sell maps of the world turned upside down (south hemisphere at the top while the north hemisphere at the bottom). My suggestion, however, is not to be misinterpreted as a clash between national powers (such as south vs. north). The correct interpretation is that an observer would be interested in knowing the reason why a predetermined and uncritically accepted map design has a new appearance. Just as important, it stimulates critical thinking of preordained beliefs and openness to new ideas. -Menezesgc 19:15, 24 March 2009 (UTC)

That's a very interesting idea, Menezesgc. I'm going propose it to the group on the prototype and the list. FYI, while we have some discussions here, the majority of discussions currently take place on the Startup list server. You are welcome and encouraged to join. — Ed Pastore 01:22, 25 March 2009 (UTC)

I'd also suggest a reconsideration of [Abe] Lincoln's ideal ("government of, by, and for the people"). In a global system, it's not just "the people" who a system of governance should be "for". The government must also be for the natural world which, need it be said, cannot easy participate in "open governance". Marcos 20:59, 28 June 2009 (UTC)