Re: virus: Virian council and process

Tim Rhodes (
Thu, 24 Jun 1999 22:13:44 -0700

Sounds like functioning Kineocracy to me. (A rule by those who chose to take action.) I like it and I'd like to do the experiment to see if and how it works. But my experience with databases is quite rusty, so my opinion counts as nothing more than that.

-Prof. Tim

-----Original Message-----
From: Dan Plante <>
To: <> Date: Thursday, June 24, 1999 6:36 PM
Subject: Re: virus: Virian council and process

>This discussion group owes its existence to the internet, and the concepts
>embodied in evolution in general, and memetics in particular. This suggests
>an approach that does more than just pay lip service to the ideas and
>ideals of the CoV and the revolutionary aspect of internet communication; a
>new way of doing things that not only acknowledges but, by its very nature,
>variously co-opts, accentuates or subverts, those aspects of individual and
>cultural dynamics deemed beneficial or detremental. Call it a "directed
>mutation" of the old heirarchial paradigm, if you will. Here's a chance to
>do some "memetic engineering" - CoV can try it on itself.
>There's no need today for a traditional top-down heirarchy of authority,
>nor for the bug-infested algorithm of representative democracy. The
>drawbacks of both of these systems is, I'm sure, obvious to most on this
>list, and has been discussed ad nauseum in the past.
>Here's one option:
>Set up a web page running a database engine that allows individual access
>to all of the database for reading and searching, and write priveleges for
>the individual's own "voting" field in each voter record embedded in each
>"referendum issue" file. Within each field are three entries: one entry for
>the Yay or nay, one for the individual's email address, and another for the
>individual's PGP signature for that vote. Everyone has read access to
>everyone else's voter record, and a local copy of all the public keys and
>email addresses (everyone can do this nowadays, disk space is cheap).
> The CoV mailing list would serve as the arena to first bring up issues
>that may develop into an official referendum. The list's voting members
>(who would become such simply by being sponsored by an existing voting
>member who would disseminate the inductee's email address and public key -
>thereby vouching for its authenticity and providing an avenue to check - to
>all the other voting members), would hash it out in the informal arena of
>the list, and if the initial advocate of the issue later feels the topic
>still has merit, uploads a text of the proposed "bill" (along with his or
>her email & signature) to a new record entry in the "new motions" file of
>the database. In the "seconded" field of this record which has "append"
>permissions for every voting member, the motion would automatically be
>moved to the "bills pending a vote" file when the "seconded" field
>(automatically weeded for dupes and checked for authenticity) reaches 5% of
>the number of voting members (rounded up). A bill would pass if 75% of the
>voting members voted in favour, but an existing "law" would only need 67%
>to be removed.
> The entire voting membership would then be contacted by email and notified
>that a bill is pending. They then either vote or abstain if they are
>familiar with the issue, or search the list archives for the relevant
>threads, read and then vote, or abstain. After say, 2 days, the votes are
>automatically tallied, and all voting members notified of the result by
>email. If the bill is voted down, then any proponent must start from
>However, if the bill passes, the principal proponent "owns" the
>consequences, and must take full responsibility for the actions needed to
>enact the bill. The principal now has the authority to enact, though, and
>can draft the "seconds", then any other "registered proponent" (who may
>count for 2 votes each?), and finally, if deemed required, any voting
>member who voted yea in the bill, to do the work to enact the bill (if
>you're not prepared to put the time and energy into the new "pet project",
>why should you have a say in changing the paradigm under which all the
>voting members must live?). The only legislation not allowed is any that
>would apply to the membership in an unequal fashion. Except for that one
>stipulation, anything goes, except that a 6 month "cooling off" period
>would be required to enact any bill that would change the mechanics of the
>system itself as detailed above.
>The dynamics that this form and function would manifest are:
>- A completely flat (read: egalitarian) management model. This would
>undermine those aspects of human nature that tend to make all authority and
>ignorance gravitate to the top, and all expertise and responsibility to the
>bottom. We now have the means to enact a true, rather than representative,
>- A system that would have an unlimited "idea input" buffer, but a staged
>"nonsense" filter as well. The whole system would work very fast, and the
>turn around time for any bill would be written in stone ahead of time (no
>more filibustering).
>- The nature of the internet, email, and enterprise servers for database
>integration, would allow everybody to vote on every issue, as well as
>submit ideas, equally.
>- Email and the multitude of distributed "WhoIs" servers, as well as Public
>key encryption, would ensure the integrity of the overall system
>- The "take ownership" consequence, as well as the hysteresis aspect of the
>required percentages for bill induction and removal, would ensure that the
>beaurocracy doesn't grow out of control, and avoids "over-regulation" of
>the membership.
>- Special interests don't have a snowball's chance in hell. On the other
>hand, an issue that is of great importance to a large minority of the
>membership would have a chance, but only by persuading a majority, using
>email discourse, that the bill is in the best interests of the group as a
>whole without significantly undermining the individual. In other words, the
>issues stand on their merit (at least, much more than they do now).
>Sure, there are minor tweaks needed, but the essential framework is
>workable, I think.
>This approach doesn't just enshrine memetics, it takes memetics into
>account. It also serves as a kind of cultural mutation that, working in
>synergy with existing features such as the internet, is able to express a
>new cultural "trait". It can serve as an example to others that might want
>to adopt the new, effective system, replicating it all over the place.