Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Crowd Flowcilitation

What's the difference between a forum post and a blog post?


Anybody a fan of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (ESMZ)? I sure favorite song is Desert Song but the crowd favorite is Home.

The band's frontman, Alex Ebert, is passionate about helping to encourage and facilitate civic participation. To this end he's launched The New IRS and is in the process of developing SecondGov.

In this video, Ebert discusses both projects. You can read about them here...Change agent: Edward Sharpe frontman prepares to launch SecondGov, a virtual political system with real-world aspirations.

What do you think? Are you going to sign up to be notified when SecondGov goes live? Do you predict whether or not it will have a greater impact than Americans Elect?

I'm definitely planning on becoming a member of SecondGov. It sounds like a really fascinating experiment in facilitating input.

It should be a self-evident truth that allocation systems work better when input/feedback is facilitated rather than blocked. Being able to vote for a representative is certainly better than not being able to vote for a representative. Being able to write your congressperson is certainly better than not being able to write your congressperson. Being able to e-mail your congressperson is certainly better than not being to e-mail your congressperson.

If it makes sense for it to be easy to give a representative your vote...doesn't it also make sense for it to be easy to take your vote away from a representative?

Can you imagine walking up to Elizabeth Warren and taking your vote away from her? Should people be able to do any time? Why would we want to prevent people from doing so?

The trend is clearly to make it easier and easier for people to share their input. This forum is one of many examples. It seems inevitable that this trend will spill over more and more into the public sector.

Civic crowdfunding already facilitates deep input...and SecondGov will facilitate shallow input...along with perhaps BitGov (Correcting Democracy) and/or BitVote.

What's the best analogy to describe why facilitating feedback is better than blocking it? This one is pretty good...
The management of a socialist community would be in a position like that of a ship captain who had to cross the ocean with the stars shrouded by a fog and without the aid of a compass or other equipment of nautical orientation. - Ludwig von Mises, Omnipotent Government
So is this one...
Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. - Matthew 5:15
Blocking input is like turning off the lights. If the lights aren't on then we'll be stumbling around in the dark...
Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. - Proverbs 11:14
If you're not a big fan of the bible...then you can just think of it as Linus's Law...
given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow
And even more towards evolution...
It is sufficient if all firms are slightly different so that in the new environmental situation those who have their fixed internal conditions closer to the new, but unknown, optimum position now have a greater probability of survival and growth. They will grow relative to other firms and become the prevailing type, since survival conditions may push the observed characteristics of the set of survivors toward the unknowable optimum by either (1) repeated trials or (2) survival of more of those who happened to be near the optimum - determined ex post. If these new conditions last "very long," the dominant firms will be different ones from those which prevailed or would have prevailed under other conditions. - Armen Alchian, Uncertainty, Evolution, and Economic Theory
Life is such that we don't know what the future will hold. We don't know what future conditions will be like. Facilitating input allows us to hedge our bets against uncertainty. If an allocation system blocks input...then it's because the architects believe that they have a crystal ball. Or perhaps a perfect compass. Or night vision goggles. Or maybe omniscience.

I certainly don't have a crystal ball...which is why I greatly encourage your input!

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