Bubbling Mechanisms

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A new way to conceive of democratic deliberation.


From the now defunct TechnoDemocracy site, at http://web.archive.org/web/20011229064759/www.technodemocracy.org/papers/tdpnotes/Section3.html#BubblingMechanism

Bubbling Mechanisms - "In any form of democracy, everyone is clamoring to be heard and to get their own issues to the top of everyone else's agenda. This introduces a high degree of 'noise' into the process of locating worthwhile legislative proposals to vote on. To create a more tolerable 'signal-to-noise ratio' and a more productive environment, a 'bubbling mechanism' can be created. In this mechanism, any issue, proposal, position, comment, vote, or any other online content which can be linked to will be considered its own virtual 'bubble'. Each voter, advisor, and representative then has the ability to help determine the value of each of these bubbles to themselves, their constituents, and to everyone else.

If any given issue-bubble is worth-while and deserves more wide-spread attention, then each voter/advisor/representative can incrementally increase the size of that bubble by voting for the bubble to 'bubble-up' and by passing it on to a group of their own personal contacts (via the bubbling software). If those people, in turn, feel that the issue deserves wider attention, then they will pass it on to their own contact list. And so on. The more people that pass-on an individual bubble-issue to other people, the 'larger' it becomes and the higher-up it bubbles in comparison to all the other bubble-issues. As issue-bubbles rise higher and higher in the bubble-space, then the more attention they will draw.

If any given issue-bubble is deemed not worth any further attention, then each voter/advisor/representative will mark it to 'bubble-down' in the bubbling software and would not pass it on. The more 'no-further-attention' responses an issue receives, the smaller its bubble gets and the lower it sinks in the bubble-space. As issue-bubbles get smaller and smaller, the less and less attention they will get. Effectively reducing the 'noise' in the overall TDS.

One way to further reduce the intra-TDS noise level is to create the bubbling software so that voters/advisors/representatives can set their bubble 'in-box' to only accept bubble-issues passed to it from specific, pre-approved people or groups. This would effectively eliminate 'spamming' in the bubble-space. People who send bubble-issues to individuals who do not want them (and have bubble-filtering turned on) on a repeated basis, could loose their bubble-up/bubble-send privileges on the system.

One very important benefit of a bubbling mechanism of this nature is that it allows *anyone* to submit legislative ideas, issues, and proposals into the system. It, in effect, democratizes the legislative process. The bubbling mechanism, thus, totally prevents any individuals or groups from blocking issues which they are not in favor of (as happens in present-day legislative bodies). It also prevents other types of blocking measures which are used in present-day legislative bodies and insures that important issues actually get voted on. It would contribute significantly to 'leveling the playing field' in the legislative arena." (http://web.archive.org/web/20011229064759/www.technodemocracy.org/papers/tdpnotes/Section3.html#BubblingMechanism)