Experiences with space democracy

This post is part of the EVE Blog Banter, a monthly Eve Online blogging extravaganza maintained by Seismic Stan. The polls have just opened for the election of candidates to occupy the 14 seats on the 7th Council of Stellar Management. To kick-start a topical CSM-themed banter, CCP Xhagen - fierce champion of freedom of speech and in his words, "the guy that gets yelled at when the CSM dudes do booboos" - has offered this question: "How would you like to see the CSM grow, both in terms of player interaction and CCP interaction?"

Pay to vote
The Council of Stellar Management (CSM) is a group of players elected by the player-base of Eve Online. It originates with the publisher of the game rather than the community itself, and its main mission seems to be to allow players to contribute meaningful ideas to the development and exploitation of the game beyond the playing itself. CCP, the publisher, seems to believe there should be no taxation without representation, so the right to vote is not given to actual persons but to game accounts: players get as many votes as they have accounts (sometimes two or more). Subscribers, not players or characters, have the right to vote.
One of the main hurdles on the digitization of the real life voting process is indeed the necessary verification of the voters's identity. The set of processes devised by the democracies of the 19th century to ensure transparency in elections does not function so well over the Internet. Unlike what happens in South Korea, where players have to provide their Social Security number before they can play online games, CCP cannot know for sure the identity of the players. They have settled for the next best thing, their database of accounts.

Liquid democracy?
CSM members are representatives, they gather physically to hold meetings, they elect a chairman, etc. This part is very traditional, too much for my taste in fact. This game is a sandbox, a space to explore alternatives and boldly go where no elective process has gone before! Thus, one thing I would like to see is something different. I have an example that I intend only as a starting point. The German Pirate Party has implemented within its ranks a system of direct democracy called "liquid democracy". In a nutshell, the word "liquid" refers here to the way you can delegate your vote on a specific topic to somebody you trust on this issue, and this person can in turn delegate his vote to somebody else, etc., in a flow. Search for it and you will find explanations of the concept, such as in this wiki.

Bring on the science fiction
I am not saying it would be a good idea to implement such a system as is, I am saying that Eve Online is a game, not an actual country, and though hundreds of people depend on it for their livelihood, they can also take much riskier stances and innovate like crazy, and it might just work, thanks to all those brilliant minds in the community and in the company.

Check other Eve Blog Banter articles on the same topic:

Further Resources
CSM Vote-Match (candidate/voter compatibility test)
Jita Park Speakers Corner (discussion forum)
Council Candidates Voting Page The Council of Stellar Management - Implementation of Deliberative, Democratically Elected, Council in EVE by Pétur Jóhannes Óskarsson (CCP Xhagen)

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