[MG] Is Main Page unapproachable?

Pietro Speroni di Fenizio metagovernment at pietrosperoni.it
Fri Jun 25 04:50:15 EDT 2010

The idea of using evolution to develop the next version of a page is
by no means unique or new. It is in at the base of Vilfredo (which is
in fact called a human based genetic algorithm), but also at the base
of mixedink, whitehouse 2, and I suspect votorola, even though I
haven't explored votorola enough to say for sure.

The problem is how are you going to evaluate different versions of the
same proposals, that arrive in different moment. The problem is not
trivial and it is present also in biology, where some dynamics lead to
survival of the fittest, but other lead to survival of the most
common. In other words there are some dynamics (some ways to select
the creature for the next generation), where the most common creature
will win over a more fit, but more rare creature.

If we want to apply evolutionary dynamics to our democracy we need to
make sure to use a system that leads to survival of the fittest and
not survival of the most common. Not every dynamics does so.

Vilfredo avoids the problem all together by imposing an external
metronome that makes every proposal run the race anew at each
generation. The price for this is unfortunately a clunkiness where
people tend to easily get bored and abandon the discussion half way.
Mostly because they need to revote the same topic and the same
proposals over and over again. Of course the positive side of this is
that you can extract the Pareto Front which in a continuous model is

But this is not the only option...

I just disagree that you can just make new page compete with older
ones on the same level on equal terms. The bias might be too hard to
permit to new ideas to survive. Think how yahoo had it pretty easy at
the beginning, and so google, and so facebook. And also how easier it
was for myspace respect to facebook. Every new mutation of a service
on the internet have to be MUCH MUCH better than the previous one to
survive, and often they never are able to reach the position they
deserve. Is this what we want to have as our democratic system?


P.S. if you really think that an idea is new and you want to get
credit for it you need to write it in a peer review journal, or at
least for Arxiv. You do not need to be working already at the
university to be accepted, but the level of the work submitted MUST be
at academic level. Ideas I explained in my blog in great details have
later been st... borrowed by other researchers who forgot to mention
where did they took them from (even though I gave them a
presentations). The problem with good ideas, and the internet is that
they can make it into really hight impact factor journals, but those
journals are the ones that do not accept URL as a valid reference for
the bibliography. SO even if the author of such proposal would like to
reference you the Journal editor might stop them from doing so. This
is part of the reason why my collaboration here is so spotty. I tend
to discuss only ideas I have already presented, since the result of my
research also affects what my future academic job could be.


Dr. Pietro Speroni di Fenizio,
CISUC, Department of Informatics Engineering, University of Coimbra

Home Page: http://www.pietrosperoni.it
Mobile (Italy): +39 (345) 4542069

Home Address:
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Sitio Curcodia, Ribas,
Vila Nova de Poiares
3350-099 Portugal

On 25 June 2010 06:03, Mark Janssen <stalkingtime at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Definitely a great proposal. I think I can complete it, because it
>> doesn't tell yet which "user main page" should be the face of the
>> project. Something like www.google.com/websiteoptimizer shows at
>> random one of several versions of a page, measuring visitors'
>> responses to each one. After some time the tool determines public's
>> favorite.
> Yeah, this is very much what I'm proposing -- I see the genetic
> algorithm' solutions better than google's however.  IOW, don't just
> select a "final version" and eliminate the rest.  Keep them in all in
> (lessor/probabilistic) circulation, allowing later improvements that
> could bump them up again.  It's definitely a different paradigm, but
> it's known to work (wink-wink (they call it evolution)).  (Individual
> users could tailor they're own favorites with sticky-votes that would
> give them greater preference within their own personal "views".)
> To me, this is the only real way to solve the [information
> overload]-[democratic participation] problem.  It is [probably] the
> *only* long-term solution. It is *optimal* in the sense that there is
> no room for improving it.
> (...Damn, I hope I get credit for that....:)
> Marcos
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