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Idea, background, and conditions for the implementation of network-based collective decision-making

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Abstract

This paper describes network-based collective decision making (NBCDM), an ICT-based technique of mak-ing collective decisions from very modest group sizes up to the global scale, suitable for all cases outside the vanishing European tradition of identical individual-to-group mappings that allowed for Western industrial democracies. The paper describes four characteristics, counting, trusted actors which allow for efficiency in option evaluation, electronic storage of trust relations, and evaluation of represented trust mappings. It inte-grates NBCDM into the history of collective decision-making, describes possible use case for its application, structures the field of cases by applying a number of criteria, and describes the possible path of introducing such NBCDM as systemic change.
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... Although CSBD is already well described in its main features [1][2][3][4] and despite a number of empirical results that support the viability of the embedding model of social development [32], practical experiences with CSBD and empirical results on its application are so far inexistent. Open questions remain on how actors react and adapt to CSBD, how it will be used, whether it will allow for improvements in political processes, and what avenues of further development for CSBD beyond the current description may be advisable. ...
... On the other hand, CSBD is expected to bring advantages for actors using it, partly overlapping with overall criteria as discussed below. For universes representatives and voters, increased influence and appreciation of voters may be interesting as well as in-depth discussions of complex issues, consensus orientation, incentives to the visibility of internal actors, impartiality and online transparency, or the independence from the European tradition of partitioned loyalities [4]. For open actors as politicians and civil society organizations, a formal influence and transparent success measures have advantages, as well. ...
... navigation, flexibility), a project-related perspective with a number of criteria including, a.o., audience width, emergence of better-informed opinions, scope of deliberation, cost and time effectiveness, process quality, or gender aspects, and a democratic perspective with, a.o., engagement and inclusion, transparency of process, conflict and consensus, equity, and the fit with the legal framework and offline participation. Added to these overall criteria is the extent to which the expected advantages for actors discussed above are fulfilled [4]. Some of these criteria can be measured with process-generated data (i.e. ...
Research Proposal
Full-text available
This project submitted to the Swiss National Science Foundation explores civil-society based decision making (CSBD), an upstream proposal regarding the digital-ization of politics that eases direct-democratic decision-making through allowing to store trust in political actors who provide decision proposals and serve as representation if no direct decision is made. By doing so, it contributes to a larger question emerged in the intersection of research in institutions and social structure: (1) Are actors able to exert responsibility in a world of overlapping loyalities, weak ties, and multiple identities with CSBD? We furthermore ask (2) how it will be used, (3) how it will perform in relation to established criteria, and (4) what avenues of further development may be advisable. The research plan revolves around the idea of implementing CSBD empirically and consists of three parts: (1) the development of an device-independent application including backend that provides a minimum viable prototype of a CSBD system [1-5], (2) the dissemination and invitation to participate in using this prototype, and (3) the core research to answer the four questions above with the collection, analysis, interpretation and communication of data from user interaction and from qualitative and quantitative interviews. 2 Research plan 2.1 Relevance with regard to the issues addressed in the call The digitalization of economic and social life and individualization processes independent from technological development have continued and accentuated a change in trust relations from group to general network structures. Groups still do play a role, but no longer in the form of large social segments which comprise their members with their complete identity (predominantly defined as occupation-based classes), but in the form of overlapping group relations of which any individual builds a unique set of relations. The project hence gives an upstream answer, contributing to further development, to the question "How is digitalisation transforming politics?" addressed in the call that is based on a thorough sociological theory of social development. While many current scholars have a rather negative view on the effect of digital media on political processes [6-10], the ability of digital technologies to offer flexible trust storage can lead to a renewed form of democratic decision-making that combines stability and popular responsibility. Current participation models are often shaped by the paradox that more tools create less participation due to inefficiencies in how participation is used.[11] Since the principle of CSBD allows to cope more efficiently with available perceptions and interactions of voters and sets incentives for offline interaction, it may overcome these paradoxes. Based on a long history of representative and direct democracy in a continuously evolved interplay, Swiss political institutions are well equipped to handle problems of individualization and new inequalities without using digital technologies. But even here, including civil society into a framework of improved responsibility and creativity may improve specific processes, for example in the formulation of counter proposals to initiatives or in the integration of non-citizens into Swiss institutions, the former by allow a discussion over more options and the latter by extending participation beyond national identity and allowing individuals from weak and non-democracies to experience the process of democratic decision-making directly.
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