“PostGhost kept a record of everything that Twitter’s Verified users said, even deleted tweets that may have been embarrassing or otherwise reputation impacting. Twitter sent PostGhost a cease and desist letter, effectively eliminating this public record of stuff that people have said but no longer want read. “
It seems PostGhost was an attempt to archive deleted tweets from verified Twitter accounts (which includes public figures). It was quickly shut down by Twitter who, one can only guess, preferred a corporate interest (could even be something as noble as protecting the privacy of its own users) over transparency and accountability of public figures.
I don’t blame Twitter for this but it does exemplify that if we want to have transparency and accountability we must use platforms that can be aligned with those values. Twitter and most of the other corporates dominating our social-media domain are not in alignment.
I read most of this paper Pietro co-authored on an interesting modfiication to party-based voting – which goes something like this:
- A voter is allowed to select multiple parties, that she feels can represent her, in her voting ballot .
- Ballots can still only be asigned to one party (one man one vote) – which leaves the question to which of the parties is a ballot to be asigned.
- One sample solution is to count which party has the most ballots and then assign those ballots to that party – and that process is repeated creating a hierarchy of parties from largest to smallest … ensuring a majoritarian party. Other solutions may involve other decisions makers such as a president.
I found it to be an interesting and had some thoughts as I went through it.
My first set of thoughts are regading the publication process of such an academic paper:
- Are there public repositories in which such papers are published? I found it here through a direct link that Pietro sent out … I don’t think I would have found it on my own on the site in which it was published. This was also why I downloaded it and included it in this post … I didn’t trust that the paper would be responsibly archived and cotinuously available on that site.
- Why is it published in a enclosed container (PDF) and not as open HTML resource that can be searched and indexed.
- Why is it not published in a way that by default invites comment and conversation. Would it not be better if I could have seen other people’s thoughts on this paper or if I could have left my own comments so that others could relate to them too?
- Would it not be better (for the human race) if there was a lay-version of such an article. There are parts of it where I obviously had to withdraw because of the mathematic notation and attitude. There are parts I understood but were tedius for me, probably because of academic writing standards and expecations. But if this knowledge is truly intended to benefit people why not make it accessible, by intentional design, to lay-people, to non-academic and non-mathematicians. It could be something as simple as a lay-version or something more elaborate which could enable toggling from lay-reading to professional-reading. There is an inherent default to this format which I believe alienates many other non-professional readers who may be interested and could benefit from it.
My thoughts on the subject matter of the article:
- I found the cancelation of clone parties to be a very interesting feedback mechanism. Imagine that two large parties that have a very similar agenda compete in this system of voting. If they have a similar agenda they may appeal to a similar constituency – people that will select both parties on their ballot. Given the default selection process (described above) the party with the slightly larger vote-count will receive the votes of both parties – in essence integrating the political power and cancelling the weaker (however slightly) of the two parties. This is a powerful societal feedback mechanism giving priority to actual political agenda instead of personal political power.
- I wondered what would be the effect of an added veto vote on the ballot – this would allow every voter to indicate “anything but that party” … for example, allowing left wing voters to cancel out extreme right wing votes. Vetoes would be enacted before assigning ballots to parties. A veto is a sacrificial mechanism – because when a veto is applied the pro-votes on the ballot are also lost.
- Finally I also question the assumption that a voter is able to make a good decision by choosing a party … let alone choosing numerous parties … I don’t feel that is a substantial choice. I doubt that most voters are informed enouch to make such a choice. I would guess that most voters either choose a specific person (or people) or a specific agenda / subject with which they resonate in a party. What if such a voting mechanism allowed voting not for just a party but to assign social-domains to political parties. For example: each of the following social domains: economics, education, culture, defence … would give me a vote. I could then assign each domain to a political party I feel is best equipped to handle it. This may create more involved voting (requiring also more refined campagining) and may also inform the actual government that is created. Again making the choice of ministers more professional and less political / personal. I don’t know what the ballot assigning algorithm would be in this case.
This, I believe, is a good summary of the political situation in Romania:
Sometimes I truly think that the Romanian Revolution began in December 1989 and ended in June 1990 with the Mineriad, a six-month gasp of freedom before collapsing right back into the way things always were.
Just consider the evidence:
- Iliescu is a free man and is not facing any indictments or prosecutions.
- The police are still running secret prisons where inmates are beaten, tortured, and killed.
- Incompetence in government isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.
- The secret police (now called SRI) is more powerful and active than ever, and still loves to spy on the common people.
- Looting the state for private gain is more often rewarded than punished.
- There’s a parliament/congress, but it damn sure isn’t representing the people.
- The solution to popular unrest is more propaganda instead of genuine reforms.
- The government is still manipulating and controlling the state-run media (while simultaneously running it into the ground).
- Nobody from the old regime has ever been punished, and most of the worst guys still hold positions of power.
- Prosecutors and the judicial system “magically” convict 90% or more of the people suspected of having committed a crime.
With one additional qualifier … the state as an institution is nowhere near as established and powerful as more modern western entities. Romania is a poor AND large country … meaning whatever centralized authority there is stretched thin and far. Corruption is a cultural norm (which is not unique to Romania) and though it is a challenge it is a far lesser challenge then when it gets deeply entangled with money. legislation and authoritarian power (police and military).
I believe Romania can be more receptive to deep political change then other more “developed” countries.
Two very good videos shedding light on our illusion of democracy and on what democracy can actually be:
Oameni is about how to get systemically to something like this … and even better:
“For once, Canadians are proud (and perhaps even a little bit smug). We ran the data:
We have a Minister of Environment and CLIMATE CHANGE.
We have a Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and REFUGEES.
Our Prime Minister is a sci-fi geek.
Our Minister of Health is an actual Doctor.
Our Minister of Families, Children and Social Development is a poverty economist.
Our Minister of Science is an actual Scientist (oh, and she has a Nobel Prize).
Our Minister of Status of Women is an actual woman!
Our Minister of Veterans Affairs is a quadriplegic because he was shot in a drive-by shooting.
Our Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour is a Professional Geologist.
Our Minister of Democratic Institutions is a Muslim refugee.
Our Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities is a Paralympian Athlete.
Our Minister of Defence is a badass war hero, Afghanistan combat vet, and police officer.
OUR MINISTER OF TRANSPORT IS A GODDAMN ASTRONAUT.
Half of our Ministers are women.
Half of our Ministers are men!
Two of our Ministers are people of First Nations (Kwakwaka’wakw, Inuit)
Three of our Ministers were born outside of Canada (India, Afghanistan)
Two of our Ministers are Sikh.
At least one of our Ministers is Muslim.
At least two of our Ministers are Atheist.
One of our Ministers is battling breast cancer. frown emoticon
One of our Ministers is in a wheelchair.
One of our Ministers is blind.
One of our Ministers is openly gay.
One of our Ministers is openly ginger.
Also, Hon. Navdeep Bains has a perfect twirly moustache.”
Jeffrey Sachs mentioned this new book Intelligent Governance for the 21st Century in his twitter feed. I went to check out and came across this review and found this in it:
Chapter 5, “Intelligent Governance,” is naturally central to the book,and the central paragraph may be this one: “In practice this means that decision-making power must be decentralized as much as possible to communities of active citizens in the domains of their competence. In short, it must devolve and involve beyond the old systems of a mass public choosing distant rulers in periodic one-person-one-vote elections where their voice doesn’t matter. An `intelligent electorate’ is part and parcel of a knowledgeable democracy.”
This exactly describes the kind of social-dynamics I can see unfold and have tried to describe in the “social economics” of Oameni.