Wikipedia works because the number of people who wish to make the articles better outweigh the number who wish to vandalise them.
Democracy has a problem: disengagement. There are too many levels of abstraction between the citizen voter and the decisions being made that affect us citizens.
- The voter votes for a constituency MP of a party
- The balance of MPs determines power in the House of Commons
- MPs votes affect decisions and law-making
Citizens have to hope that the person they elect has broadly the same views on a wide range of topics – and that those views will also be upheld at a party level.
Imagine if democracy and government decision making could work in the same way as Wikipedia.
A bit like this;
- The party fields a candidate who, if elected, will consult the crowd on decisions they make
- Party members, and the wider electorate, can take part in ‘controlling’ the decisions of this MP via the web
- An online tool would democratise access to the MP to everyone who can get to an internet connection
- This avatar politician would act only in the express interest of the crowd who elected him or her
The engagement with this politician’s decisions would probably work a lot like Wikipedia;
- Most people would ‘consume’ – checking the online tool to see the politicians voting record, and maybe add bits of feedback with comments
- The less-engaged would feel empowered to participate in important decisions, votes on big issues, or issues that concern them deeply
- The very engaged few would be checking daily, adding comments and influencing day-to-day decisions of this avatar politician
Multiply this up by hundreds of MPs and maybe we could have a crowdsourced democracy, removing the layers of abstraction and making government fairer and more transparent for everyone.