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Submission + - Improving representative democracy in the age of electronic media

brasselv writes: “When the supporters of the American and French revolutions proposed elections as a way of learning ‘the will of the people’, there were no political parties, no laws regarding universal franchise, no commercial mass media, and no internet” writes David Van Reybrouck in the Guardian.

There were several very prominent disasters, but overall the electoral system has served the goal of democracy remarkably well.

However, argues the author, a couple of centuries have passed, and electronic media (among other things) have changed virtually every way we interact with the society.

It's perhaps not heresy to ask if the electoral system in its current form (casting physical ballots a few times per decade) is still the best way to serve the purpose of democratic representation.

One idea that is gaining traction in recent years, is called sortition. There are infinite variants of it, some dating back to the Athenian democracy — but the incarnation most commonly proposed today is based on allotting groups of citizens to advise or deliberate on very specific topics. The groups could be selected with some combination of chance, competence, volunteered time, and other factors. The specific deliberations might be open for comments or votes, with the idea that active participation is more effective than passive acquiescence, in producing effective consensus.

Some independent, non-political groups operate in similar ways today — and some are undeniably effective at it. The open source community provides some examples. It remains to be seen if some of the same principles would translate well to produce laws or running general institutions, where it's arguably more difficult to fork your state if you think it's mismanaged.

Comment Re:A preview of President Trump's upcoming win. (Score 2) 693

Probably because the "experts" have been so completely clueless over and over again that it's time to give your head a shake and stop listening to them.

exactly! shockingly, some people wrote some books and some were wrong. we should reject all human knowledge or expertise and revert to the rule of the biggest club. that will show them.

Submission + - Has Google given up on the maps community?

lesincompetent writes: Have you noticed lack of progress in mapping or missing details in your Google Maps neighbourhood? Missing locations or terribly inaccurate information? Betteridge's law apart there seems to be something very wrong within the Maps/Map Maker projects, manifesting mainly as edits taking months to be reviewed and applied (showing a dramatic absence of Google Reviewers) and most worringly as an ominous and totally deal-breaking bug which is preventing some comprehensibly frustrated volunteers from adding new roads or paths everywhere around the world.
The official thread for this bug goes way back to February 9th.
Something is gravely amiss. The Google Map Maker tool bears embarrassingly no resemblance to a Google product.

Comment Re: How about (Score 1) 295

that's an old and tired argument, which sounds superficially reasonable - until you realize that civilization and progress never worked this way.

you could have used that same argument for any human advancement.

do you really want to spend money on chemical research / the Panama Canal / railroads / telegraph / cables under the sea/ etc, while there are people starving to death or dying of flu or lacking basic freedoms?

none of those things were ever a priority when money was spent on them throughout the centuries .

yet, without those, we would be living today in a world where millions more would be starving and be less free.

Comment Re:Get a grip. (Score 2, Insightful) 188

"Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants."
— Thomas Jefferson

It's a popular sport to pull the Founding Fathers out of context, to prove a point.

King George could not be voted out of his seat. I dare say that Thomas Jefferson, if he were to live today, would advocate peaceful means to oust anyone from power in the US.

To be sure: I am not saying that Parent is saying otherwise, I know he is just offering a quote.

However, the general mood of this thread is something like "tyranny demands exceptional means to be used". Which is fine, but if you live anywhere in the Western world today, you have no moral justification for violence against the system.

Because the system is far from perfect, but is far better than a tyranny.

Comment Re:Disgusting Moderation (Score 1) 188

You're living in the waning times of the US government, it has been going down hill ever since it was founded.

Wait a second. Maybe there were some good moments and some bad ones, in the last two centuries.

But in many key dimensions it has indeed become a more perfect Union over time.

(Unless of course you consider a "white males club" to be your ideal government, I believe you don't.)

Comment Re:A company with plenty of truly innovative ideas (Score 1) 275

The innocence of youth :-)
The post above was wrongly moderated as troll, I suspect because someone thought it was meant to be serious (it's not)
I guess not everybody was around when MS came out with the lovely crap called Bob 1.0

Bob received the 7th place in PC World Magazine's list of the 25 worst products of all time, a spot in Time Magazine's list of the 50 Worst Inventions and number ten worst product of the decade by

(After that, not even Steve Ballmer at the top of desperation would think of resurrecting any "Bob 2.0")

Comment Re:They should ban the production of low-end phone (Score 1) 307

Godwin's law at its best...
But seriously, do you really hear anyone "defending Stalin"? In which country?

I may be wrong, but I hear in your tone some rather shallow anti-intellectual rhetoric that has more to do with "the world as some FOX-news audience thinks it is", rather than with the real world itself...

I seriously doubt that any sane person, effete or not, would question the evilness of both Hitler and Stalin.

Now I turn the evil-o-meter off.

Comment Re:So let's talk abou it. (Score 1) 233

My point was that if talking about the system makes it less useful, then it is not very secure to begin with.

You are thinking in terms of computer security, and there 100% correct.

The larger point, however, is that there may be other 'security' reasons not to talk about it.
For example, more people involved in the project may find themselves in the spotlight. People have a physical life, and their actions can be spied - or worse.

Unfortunately, there is no 'by design' security protection against a bullet. Overall, as long as the thing does not make too many headlines, it seems we are better off - no matter how much the system is inherently secure from a strictly IT point of view.

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