The main problem faced by any form of popular governance is demagoguery -- the co-opting of the discussion by small groups of monied or vocal people. Therefore an important question is how to prevent this demagoguery. How do we ensure the right of the majority to decide what to decide, and how does the majority frame the question? Can we find a way to prevent someone from highjacking the discussion by repeated interjections? Can we prevent someone from structuring the debate by buying the news?
The important and hard problem is making up the lists collectively. Being able to exclude issues because the majority doesn't want them considered even if some religious group considers it very important. Being able to divide things up into x,y,z rather than a,b,c because the majority would rather consider then in the frame x,y,z even though advertisers would prefer the structure a,b,c.
Well, my way of dealing with that problem is via several mechanisms:
- no limit on the number of questions up for discussion or the number of possible solutions to a given question -- so no arguing about which ones to include
- obviously that causes the problem of information overload -- there's a solution to that which I need to write up
- people will inevitably want to let other people tell them what to think -- so let's make it easy for them to do this, while documenting who listens to who so we know where the power centers are (and who we need to argue with). See htyp:InstaGov/concepts/proxy
- the structured debate module is specifically for resolving complex disagreements of the sort that tend to get heated and are therefore easily manipulated by mainstream media framing.
These are all issues we need to be watching out for. My thinking is that we will be better able to observe these things happening once some people are using the software, and that will give us a better idea of what needs to be done to prevent them. (In other words: fill it up with water and see where the leaks are.)