Fwd: [Occupy-dev] On preventing a monopoly of voting media

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Pablo Segundo Garcia

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Nov 14, 2011, 1:38:35 PM11/14/11
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Un enfoque distribuido mediante mirrors para las plataformas de voto
electrónico.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Eduardo Robles Elvira <edu...@partidodeinternet.es>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Subject: [pdi-afiliados] Fwd: [Occupy-dev] On preventing a monopoly of
voting media
To: pdi-afiliados <pdi-af...@googlegroups.com>


La leche


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Michael Allan <mi...@zelea.com>
Date: Mon, Nov 14, 2011 at 6:31 AM
Subject: [Occupy-dev] On preventing a monopoly of voting media
To: Occupy Dev <occup...@lists.takethesquare.net>


Dear colleagues,

This is a proposal to develop a technology to prevent any single
project or site from establishing a monopoly of online voting media.
Social media in general is prone to monopolies [0], and voting is no
exception.  The tendency may be be spurred on by individual technical
projects, by other organizations, or by governments [1].  It poses a
threat not only within the Occupy movement, but also among the wider
applications of online voting.

Many of us have put years of effort into developing the technology to
enable real democracy, often without funding, intellectual property
rights or any other firm hope of remuneration.  There are quite a few
of us in this field; we have at least dozen active projects, and new
ones are popping up frequently.  I don't know how many are represented
here in the mailing list.  The only two I know of for certain are:

 * OpenAssembly, Frank and Todd
 * Votorola, C and myself
   . . . but there is also Demoex, MixedInk, Adhocracy,
         CivicEvolution, DemocracyLab, Liquid Feedback,
         Aktivdemokrati, and many others

The solution proposed here is a vote mirroring inter-network.  Its
purpose is to enable us to compete for users without thereby splitting
the voter base.  The method is to effectively share the voters in the
form of vote images among competing projects and sites, thus leveling
the playing field for all.  Even an experimental project or a startup
with no actual users as yet would still have all the voters.  The
details are described in the essay below, and in its references.

Vote mirroring is not technically difficult to implement.  We already
have a trial prototype that was coded in a matter of days.  Working
together to develop the techology further would benefit not only our
existing projects and contributors, but also new entrants.  We'd be
extending a safety net across the entire field, making it more
attractive for quality engineers and other talented contributors.
Please take a moment therefore to review the details of the solution
presented below.  Does it overlook any crucial aspect of the problem?
Or do you disagree about the problem itself?  Or do you see any other
flaw in the proposal?


VOTE MIRRORING AS A COUNTER-MONOPOLY MEASURE
--------------------------------------------
http://zelea.com/w/User:Mike-ZeleaCom/Vote_mirroring_as_a_counter-monopoly_measure

Vote mirroring is arguably a sufficient measure in itself to preclude
the formation of a monopoly in the provision of online voting services
for participatory democracy.  A vote mirror can unilaterally
interconnect the voters of multiple service sites into a single
"inter-network" of participation and thus reduce the network effects
that might contribute to the dominance of a single provider.  Social
media in general is prone to monopolies, but their formation is not
inevitable [0].  By posing an early challenge, vote mirroring can
level the playing field and preclude a monopoly in voting media.

Vote mirroring works by copying votes from multiple service sites
(vote-servers) and reproducing them as images at another site (the
mirror) [2].  The technique is illustrated in figure 1 below.  The top
half of the figure shows three vote-servers together with a sample of
the votes cast on each.  Vote-servers A and C are providing a
communicative type of service in which votes are delegated
transitively, while server B is providing a conventional mass type of
service [3].


                      |                    |
            A         |         B          |           C
                      |                    |
                      |                    |
             (0)      |                    |        (0)   (0)
        (0)   |       |                    |  (0)    | 1  /
          \ 1 | 1     |                    |    \    |   / 1
           \  |       |                    |     \ 1 |  /
  (0)  (0)  \ |       |                    |      \  | /  (0)  (0)
    \ 1 |    \|       |        (0)         |       \ |/    | 1 /
     \  | 1  (2)      |  (0)    |          |        (3)    |  / 1
      \ |     |       |    \ 1  | 1 (0)    |         |     | /
       \|     | 3     |     \   |   /      |         | 4   |/
       (2)    |       |      \  |  / 1     |         |    (2)
         \ 3  |       |       \ | /        |   (0)   |    /     (0)
          \   |  (0)  |        (6)----(0)  |     \ 1 |   /       |
           \  |  /    |      1 / \  1      |      \  |  /    (0) | 1
            \ | / 1   |       /   \        |       \ | / 3     \ |
             \|/      |     (0)  1 \       |        \|/       1 \|
             (7)      |            (0)     |        (8)         (2)
                      |                    |
  --------------------+--------------------+------------------------

              (0)               D                (0)   (0)
         (0)   |                           (0)    | 1  /
           \ 1 | 1                           \    |   / 1
            \  |                              \ 1 |  /
   (0)  (0)  \ |                               \  | /  (0)  (0)
     \ 1 |    \|              (0)               \ |/    | 1 /
      \  | 1  (2)       (0)    |                 (3)    |  / 1
       \ |     |          \ 1  | 1 (0)            |     | /
        \|     | 3         \   |   /              | 4   |/
        (2)    |            \  |  / 1             |    (2)
          \ 3  |             \ | /          (0)   |    /       (0)
           \   |  (0)         (6)----(0)      \ 1 |   /         |
            \  |  /         1 / \  1           \  |  / 3    (0) | 1
             \ | / 1         /   \              \ | /         \ |
              \|/          (0)  1 \              \|/         1 \|
              (7)                 (0)            (8)           (2)


  FIG 1.  Vote mirroring.  Three separate vote servers (A, B, C) and
          a mirror that reproduces the votes of all three on a single
          server (D).  Each number in brackets shows the quantity of
          votes received by a candidate.  Note that a candidate may
          be a text, as well as a person. [4]


The mirror (bottom) reproduces the votes of all three servers.  This
involves translating the votes from their various native formats on
the original servers into the single format used on the mirror.
Voting methods differ greatly and the translation may therefore
entail a degree of information loss, making for an imperfect image.
Such imperfections cannot invalidate the overall technique, however,
because a best effort at an image is always a better reflection of
reality than no image at all.  For example, knowing that these
particular votes (figure above) all concern a single issue, the mirror
has represented the four end-candidates as rivals, with 7, 6, 8 and 2
votes respectively, because this gives a truer picture of the options
available to the voters. [5]


USES OF A MIRROR
----------------
This section concerns the direct uses of a vote mirror by a
participant.  The table below summarizes these uses for different
categories of participant together with the associated costs and
benefits.  Of the four uses shown, three are of benefit to the users
of any voting service, while the fourth is of benefit to users of mass
type services in particular.


  Table 1.  Uses, costs and benefits for different categories of
            participant.

  Use of original      Use of mirror
  vote server
  ===================  =============================================
  SERVICE PARTICIPANT  USE        COST         BENEFIT
  TYPE    ROLE                    (if any)
  ======= ===========  ======================= =====================
  Any     Candidate    Soliciting votes [5]    Overview of voters,
                                               Overview of rivals

          -----------  ----------------------- ---------------------
          Voter        Comparing candidates    Overview of
                                               candidates

                       ----------------------- ---------------------
                       Voting     User         Convenience
                                  registration
  ------- -----------  ---------- ------------ ---------------------
  Mass    Trailing     Delegation User         Visibility to voters,
          candidate               registration Viability as
                                               candidate
  ===================  =============================================


Soliciting votes
----------------

A mirror may be used by a candidate as a tool for soliciting votes.
It provides two benefits for this purpose: an overview of all the
voters in a single interface, plus an overview of the rival candidates
(compare top and bottom in figure 1).  Seeing all the voters is
especially beneficial, because online voting tends to be a continuous
process in which voters are free to shift their votes. [5]

Comparing candidates
--------------------
A mirror may be used by voters as a tool for comparing candidates.
The benefit it provides for this purpose is an overview of all the
candidates, together with the "live" structure of their voter support.
Only a mirror can provide such an overview.

Voting
------

A mirror will typically provide a voting service of its own, making it
a combined mirror and vote-server.  This is a convenience for any
voter who uses the mirroring part to compare candidates and then
wishes to shift his vote.  Rather than having to register as a user on
the candidate's home server, he simply registers on whatever
mirror/vote-server he prefers, which is most likely the one he is
currently using.  He can then shift his vote to any candidate.

Delegation
----------
A mirror can provide a delegation service to a candidate on a mass
voting site, where it would otherwise be unavailable.  This may be
particularly useful to a candidate who is trailing in votes, as it
increases both her visibility and viability.  A new voter will often
explore upstream and inspect the supporting structure of votes before
deciding where to place his own vote.  A candidate who presents
herself in that context is more likely to receive a vote than one who
appears as number 29 (or 229) in an ordered list.


                       |                    |
           A           |         B          |           C
                       |                    |
                       |                    |
           (0)         |                    |        (0)   (0)
      (0)   |          |                    |  (0)    | 1  /
        \ 1 | 1        |                    |    \    |   / 1
         \  |          |                    |     \ 1 |  /
 (0)  (0)  \ |          |                    |      \  | /  (0)  (0)
  \ 1 |    \|          |        (0)         |       \ |/    | 1 /
   \  | 1  (2)         |  (0)    |          |        (3)    |  / 1
    \ |     |          |    \ 1  | 1 (0)    |         |     | /
     \|     | 3        |     \   |   /      |         | 4   |/
     (2)    |          |      \  |  / 1     |         |    (2)
       \ 3  |          |       \ | /        |   (0)   |    /     (0)
        \   |  (0)     |        (6)----(0)  |     \ 1 |   /       |
         \  |  /       |      1 / \  1      |      \  |  / 3  (0) | 1
          \ | / 1      |       /   \        |       \ | /       \ |
           \|/         |     (0)  1 \       |        \|/       1 \|
           (8)----(0)  |            (0)     |        (8)         (2)
                1      |                    |
                       |                    |
 -----------------------+--------------------+------------------------

             (0)               D                (0)   (0)
        (0)   |                           (0)    | 1  /
          \ 1 | 1                           \    |   / 1
           \  |                              \ 1 |  /
  (0)  (0)  \ |                               \  | /  (0)  (0)
    \ 1 |    \|                                \ |/    | 1 /
     \  | 1  (2)                                (3)    |  / 1
      \ |     |                                  |     | /
       \|     | 3                                | 4   |/
       (2)    |              (0)                 |    (2)
         \ 3  |        (0)    |            (0)   |    /       (0)
          \   |  (0)     \ 1  | 1 (0)        \ 1 |   /         |
           \  |  /        \   |   /           \  |  / 3    (0) | 1
            \ | / 1        \  |  / 1           \ | /         \ |
             \|/        7   \ | /               \|/         1 \|
             (14)------------(6)----(0)         (8)           (2)
                           1 / \  1
                            /   \
                          (0)  1 \
                                 (0)

  FIG 2.  Cross-server delegation in a mirror. A candidate on a mass
          server (B) has cast a vote using a communicative server
  (A).  The mirror (D) recognizes this as delegation and carries the
  6 votes of the first candidate to the second candidate for a total
  of 14.


Note that up to three servers are involved.  A delegate is both a
candidate and a voter.  Here the role of candidate is provided by the
mass server (B) on which the delegate continues to receive her
original votes, while that of voter is provided by the second server
(A) on which she casts her own vote.  The third server (D) is the
mirror that combines both roles and reveals her as a delegate.  If the
mirror were to provide its own voting service, as well, then it would
be more convenient to cast the delegating vote there directly. [6]


COUNTER-MONOPOLY EFFECTS OF MIRRORING
-------------------------------------
If the benefits outlined above are roughly accurate, then the
counter-monopoly effects are clear.  Votes will shift in favour of
preferred candidates regardless of their home servers.  Users will
tend to migrate to those servers that provide a convenient combination
of both mirroring and voting services rather than relocating with
every vote shift.  But any vote-server is capable of hosting a
mirroring service and sharing equally in the full extent of voter
participation [8].  A new server without any actual users, for
example, would still have all the voters.  Such an advantage cannot
easily be dispensed with.  Network effects are likely therefore to
entrench vote mirroring as a practice; and with that, no imbalance in
the distribution of users could ever tilt over into a monopoly [9].


  Table 2.  Non-defences against mirroring.

  -------------------------------------------------------------------
  Defence                  Why it is likely to fail
  ----------------------   ------------------------------------------
  Copyright                Non-creative factual information is exempt

  Closing data APIs        Data scraped from user interfaces

  Opaque client platform   There is none, all can legally be hacked
  -------------------------------------------------------------------


Copyright
---------
This defence is ineffective because non-creative, factual information
is generally exempt from copyright protection.  A vote conveys the
simple fact of assent or agreement and people are free to inform
others of that fact.

Closing data APIs
-----------------
Closing the data APIs is an ineffective defence because the data
necessary for vote mirroring can instead be scraped from a user
interface.  This defence would have to be combined with an opaque
client platform (below) in order to be effective.

Opaque client platform
----------------------
This defence is ineffective because no such platform exists.  The only
opaque platforms with sufficent coverage to support a monopoly bid are
Flash and Java, both of which have open source implementations on the
client side [10].  An open source client can always be hacked and
internally scraped.


  Table 3.  Defences against mirroring.

  ------------------------------------------------------------------
  Defence                 Cost
  ----------------------  ------------------------------------------
  Secret ballot           Lower credibility of results,
                          De-socializing the medium
  ------------------------------------------------------------------


Secret ballot
-------------

In this defence, the identity of the voter is kept hidden.  This is an
effective defence because votes cannot accurately be imaged without
knowing the voters' identities [7].  One of the costs associated with
this defence is a lower credibility of results.  There are methods of
verifying private votes, but none is so simple and credible as the
method of full disclosure available to public vote-servers.

Another cost is the de-socializing of the medium.  This cost is more
serious, because the social attractions of a medium are largely
eliminated if the participants can no longer identify each other.  It
is unclear therefore how this defence could be reconciled with a
competitive strategy, especially one in which the goal is a monopoly.


CONCLUSION
----------
There is no viable defence against vote mirroring.  The immediate
effects of mirroring are sufficient in themselves to prevent the
formation of a monopoly in voting services.

 [0] Public telephone networks are an example of a social media
     monopoly.  Online examples are Twitter, Facebook and Skype.
     Email is a counter example.

 [1] Regarding a government backed monopoly, see for instance:
     http://www.nycga.net/groups/political-and-electoral-reform/forum/topic/creating-a-modern-citizen-lawmaking-process-in-nyc/

 [2] Vote mirroring is the invention of Thomas von der Elbe.  See the
     original description:
     http://zelea.com/w/User:ThomasvonderElbe_GmxDe/Vote_mirroring

 [3] On the distiction between communicative and mass voting, see:
     http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#medium

 [4] How a candidate may be both a person and a text is described at:
     http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#candidate
     http://zelea.com/project/votorola/d/theory.xht#action-norm

 [5] Vote mirroring depends on knowing whether two sets of votes on
     otherwise distinct servers are concerned with a common issue.
     When they are, the candidates receiving the votes may faithfully
     be represented as rivals in a common pool of voters.  The method
     of determining this on a case by case basis is still under
     active development (mid-2011), but probably the users of the
     mirror are the best qualified for the decision work, as they
     have the most at stake.  In that case, it would have to be
     accounted as a cost of using the mirror.

 [6] If the vote were cast instead on mirror D, then the total for
     the end candidate on server A would have remained 7.  It would
     be incorrect in any case, as the results calculated on all the
     non-mirroring servers (A, B, C) are incomplete.  None of them
     takes into account the full set of votes on the issue.

 [7] Vote mirroring depends on shared standards of voter
     identification and authentication.  These may be grouped
     together under the category of "voter registration".  Voter
     registration differs from user registration in tying the user's
     identity to a physical place of residence, among other
     real-world properties.  The purpose of voter registration is not
     only to establish the user's eligilibility for voting on local
     issues, but also to prevent the user from multiplying his votes
     under false identities (sock puppets).  The dependency on voter
     registration is not particular to vote mirroring, but is shared
     by voting in general; vote mirroring need only be sensitive to
     the various methods of registration employed on the
     vote-servers.

     The dependency is moot, however, because no public vote-server
     currently implements and enforces voter registration.  Users on
     any server may employ sock puppets if they wish.  Vote mirroring
     might make the practice somewhat easier to get away with, but
     the incentive and opportunity to exploit this at an effective
     scale would depend on vote mirroring itself becoming entrenched
     as a practice.  In that light, the problem goes beyond the scope
     of this essay.  But the solution is simply to enforce voter
     registration when it becomes necessary.  The costs of that
     enforcement will be easier to bear after the problem has exposed
     itself.

 [8] Glossed over in the main text is the requirement of shared
     standards for the replication of the mirrors themselves.
     (Thanks to Alex Rollin for pointing out this omission.)  Such
     standards include issue identification and voter registration
     [5][7].  It may be enough to say that the requirement is not
     absolute.  Having two sets of standards that are mutually
     incompatible would not result in the fragmentation of the
     mirroring inter-network into two halves, but only in the
     creation of two inter-networks that were layered, as it were,
     one atop the other.  Each would be complete in itself and would
     reveal the full complement of participants.  The individual user
     would then have a choice of which to frequent.  In other words,
     a mirroring inter-network may itself be mirrored, and it follows
     that none could ever be locked in by network effects and imposed
     as a kind of monopoly solution.

 [9] Crucially vote mirroring unbinds the role of participant from
     that of user.  Only the former is subject to network effects,
     and unbound it can no longer reinforce an imbalance in the
     latter.  A user is free to choose her own vote-server based on
     quality of service, but that choice will not affect the fact of
     her broader participation and thereby the choices of others.

 [10] Java itself is open source.  For Flash clients, there is
     Lightspark. http://sourceforge.net/apps/trac/lightspark

--
Michael Allan

Toronto, +1 416-699-9528
http://zelea.com/
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--
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---- CONOCIMIENTO BASE
5 sentidos morales/psicológicos en humanos y su correlación con
izquierdas y derechas.
http://www.ted.com/talks/jonathan_haidt_on_the_moral_mind.html

Buen resumen sobre la felicidad y la infelicidad (que no son lo mismo)
http://www.ted.com/talks/nancy_etcoff_on_happiness_and_why_we_want_it.html

Experimentos morales. Su relación con la autoimagen.
http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_on_our_buggy_moral_code.html


---- POLÍTICA / SOCIEDAD

4 MILLONES DE METROS CUADRADOS CORRUPTOS
CIUDAD FINANCIERA DEL SANTANDER
http://www.elconfidencial.com/espana/2011/10/03/santander-pago-al-arquitecto-municipal-de-boadilla-que-recalifico-la-ciudad-financiera-85255/

--
Reforma de la Constitución - Artículo 135.3
"[...]
Los créditos para satisfacer los intereses y el capital de la deuda
pública de las Administraciones se entenderán siempre incluidos en el
estado de gastos de sus presupuestos y su pago gozará de prioridad
absoluta. Estos créditos no podrán ser objeto de enmienda o
modificación, mientras se ajusten a las condiciones de la Ley de
emisión.
[...]"


---- HAZ ALGO UTIL POR LA SOCIEDAD / POLÍTICA

¡¡ ABAJO EL BIPARTIDISMO CORRUPTOR !!
http://cacamorada.wordpress.com

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