[FoRK] occupy - deliberative democracy

Dr. Ernie Prabhakar drernie at radicalcentrism.org
Tue Aug 14 12:32:52 PDT 2012

Hi Lucas,

On Aug 14, 2012, at 12:18 PM, Lucas Gonze wrote:

> What about fraud in rigging the polling questions? What are the
> protections against attackers affecting the language used?

One of the key feature of a deliberative poll is The Briefing Packet.

The sponsor convenes a broad spectrum of voices and has them work on a consensus summary of the arguments for and against various proposals.

Importantly, the packet is a public document, which everyone (including non-attendees) can read and critique.

So yes, it is possible to get a biased document, but parties who find it biased have every opportunity to make a stink and undercut the moral credibility of the poll.

The more devious way to distort the poll is to substitute highly skilled but biased moderators, without anyone noticing.  I'm thinking of writing a sci-fi story about it, for the day when deliberative polling becomes the norm so there's massive economic incentive to game them...

> I went to a "ballot question" party once. Each attendee had to study
> one of the ballot questions and give a short presentation on what it
> meant. There is then a discussion about the details. The goal isn't to
> advocate but to understand. 5-10 minutes per question. But the
> conversation gets very substantive.
> This was a danah boyd project. Great idea for the health of a
> democracy, and fun.


- Ernie P.

> On Tue, Aug 14, 2012 at 11:44 AM, Dr. Ernie Prabhakar
> <drernie at radicalcentrism.org> wrote:
>> Hi Lucas,
>> On Aug 14, 2012, at 11:14 AM, Lucas Gonze wrote:
>>> I could imagine implementing this at the level of community government.
>>> A city might commit to using it for some particular policy question.
>> And in fact, many of them have. Mostly in China:
>>> Deliberative polls have been held in China for over five years. The coastal township of Zeguo in Wenling city[3] has a population of 120,000. Fishkin's team selects 175 people who are representative of the general population. Deliberative polling takes place over a 3-day period, and the local government utilizes the priorities of the group. The experiment worked so well that the topic expanded from a single issue the first year (prioritizing public works projects) to the entire budget, and the Chinese are considering the process in other municipalities.[1]
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deliberative_opinion_poll
>> http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2015790,00.html
>> The techniques have been refined and validated at the city and regional level; if we can make it work in California, there's no reason we can't scale it up to federal politics...
>> -- Ernie P.
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