Liquid democracy is a group-decision-making method that works as a sort of ”direct democracy for people who know they’re not experts on a subject, but know of people that they trust who who know more about a subject than themselves”. Questions are settled by asking everyone… but many people’s answer will be “whatever X says”.
It works by enabling people to solicit recommendations on how to vote from people they trust. So, people who know nothing about foreign policy can get vote recommendations on a subject from people who agree with the basic thrust of similar values and who either have a personal connection with pundits or experts on a given subject who also agree with the attitude, or who are experts in their own right.
In fact, one of the original influences on Liquid Democracy was the desire to replace the chain of command in a military situation with something more efficient and flexible. The idea was that if hierarchy in such a vital situation could be outcompeted on a power versus power basis by something less hierarchical, then hierarchical social decision-making system in general would have less credibility.
What Does Liquid Democracy Mean?
Liquid Democracy is a collective term for different approaches to making democracy more liquid, more transparent and more flexible. What all these approaches have in common is the concept of delegating your vote for certain subject areas or subjects. This makes it possible to choose to actively participate in some subject areas and delegate your vote to someone else for others.
Organisations and informal groups can use Liquid Democracy to collaboratively develop their goals, strategies, internal rules or positions and to make binding decisions about them. Groups and organisations can involve their members in developing solutions to their problems and thus make better decisions. Our web platform implements the two key concepts of Liquid Democracy: structured discourse and delegated voting.
Members of organisations can collaboratively create texts, debate individual paragraphs, and vote on the final draft. Each member can at any time delegate their vote to another member or use it themselves.
Why Liquid Democracy?
Technological progress of the last few years has made global communication a lot easier and faster. These new possibilities have yet to be fully utilized for society. Citizens are involved with organisations, informal groups and networks of all kinds. At the same time, many people feel they are lacking the opportunity to effectively and collaboratively campaign for the issues they are concerned about. This is the problem that Liquid Democracy focuses on.
Liquid Democracy Tools
Communication, exchange of experiences and decision-making in organisations and groups often takes place using inappropriate tools: there are forums, wikis, mailing lists, conference calls and face-to-face meetings. All of these work relatively well in small groups but quickly reach their limits in larger groups – this often leads to a situation where a small minority actually participates or where transparency and clarity dwindle. Tools such as Adhocracy were developed to facilitate broad and democratic involvement of members of large groups.