Transitive Delegations in LiquidFeedback 

news :: 2012
von Björn Swierczek am 07. Juli 2012 Nur in Englisch verfügbar

It's not always possible for everyone to make a well-founded decision on every topic. To overcome this problem of direct democracy, LiquidFeedback provides the possibility to delegate your vote to someone else - and to revoke those delegations at any time. This leads to

  • transparent division of work within the democratic process, while keeping everyones ability to directly participate in any issue at any time
  • nondiscrimination of those people who do not have the time or ability to vote for each issue themselves

Delegations in LiquidFeedback are transitive. That means, if you don't know who is the most skilled person to decide about a particular topic, you may delegate your vote to someone else you trust. If your trustee feels confident to participate in the subject him- or herself, your voting weight may be used directly. But if your trustee knows another person, who is better suitable to decide about the issue, then he or she can further delegate your vote to someone else, and so on. Knowing that these rules are in effect, people are not obligated to delegate their vote directly to a final decision maker (e.g. a prominent politician known for dealing with a given issue).

Do transitive delegations lead to a concentration of power?

Transitive delegations create chains of trust.

As delegations are revokable at any time, each person within such a chain of trust can break the chain and reclaim the power, taking away many votes from the final representative at once.

Yet it is sometimes argued that transitive delegations can still lead to a few delegates, who over-rule many other directly voting individuals. While at a first glance it might appear undemocratic, it is a desired effect: Only if delegating members are counted in the same way as directly voting members, their vote is taken into account equally. Treating directly voting members in a different way than delegating members (i.e. canceling the voting weight of delegating members under certain predefined conditions) would actually undermine the democratic principle of "one man, one vote".