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Image of Google Votes: A Liquid Democracy Experiment on a Corporate Social Network [PDF]

Abstract

This paper introduces Google Votes, an experiment in liquid democracy built on Google's internal corporate Google social network. Liquid democracy decision-making systems can scale to cover large groups by enabling voters to delegate their votes to other voters. This approach is in contrast to direct democracy systems where voters vote directly on issues, and representative democracy systems where voters elect representatives to vote on issues for them. Liquid democracy systems can provide many of the benefits of both direct and representative democracy systems with few of the weaknesses. Thus far, high implementation complexity and infrastructure costs have prevented widespread adoption. Google Votes demonstrates how the use of social-networking technology can overcome these barriers and enable practical liquid democracy systems. The case-study of Google Votes usage at Google over a 3 year timeframe is included, as well as a framework for evaluating vote visibility called the "Golden Rule of Liquid Democracy".


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In science it often happens that scientists say, "You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken," and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. - Carl Sagan