…Voting as input is perhaps the least valuable interaction for a community. The real value of community lies in the conversation and the exchange of ideas. Breaking down complex ideas into yes/no and calling the result input works quite well for computer programs, certainly less well when people are involved.
Why bother to explain your point of view when you can simply shout down the opposing point of view with sheer numbers? Bury conflicting viewpoints. Add to that a system that can be manipulated by creating false voters and the result is a propaganda machine. Unpopular ideas are simply buried.
I ripped social bookmarking on my old blog back when I was just fighting through swarms of techies and DailyKosites – and I don’t mean either term in a bad way – to get them to look at one article they might not normally look at and say it was worth their time.
In Aristotle and Plato though, the most democratic form of choosing a leader is by chance – if we’re all equal, then anyone should be able to do anyone else’s job. Voting is aristocratic. The modern political philosophers (I’m thinking Montesquieu mainly) concur with this, and do not endorse the secret ballot, because they want all of us to be able to talk to each other and stand for our opinions. Underlying voting is the ideology of Enlightenment, make no mistake, and it is a confidence in each of us.
Still, I think the divorce between the vote and having to explain yourself is the key problem. If most people who voted for anything had to explain themselves nowadays, we’d be wondering if democracy was feasible in any sense whatsoever. There are articles out there which talk about how in a world of 50-50 elections, the fact that Laura Bush wore green one day might influence the 1% of voters needed to put a candidate over the top or sink them.
So I definitely agree with DG, and I wonder how his voting experiment will work – he’s adding the ability to vote on stuff to certain blogs of his.
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