Will Grant

User Experience Consultant & Author with over 20 years experience delivering powerful web & mobile products that have reached over a billion users.

A wiki-like crowd-driven democracy

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.