Friday, 15 October 2010

Gaming the System

"Gaming" is the notion that any set of rules can be played for maximum advantage, often in ways that the original game designer didn't intend. This raises the question: how would Interactive Democracy be gamed?

  • One way is that the issues to be voted on can be selected or written in such a way as to encourage one outcome.

  • Another is to limit the number of choices.

  • If several choices are available, a voting system may be offered that is proportional but biased.

  • Deadlines for votes may be chosen to coincide with sporting events that drag peoples attention away.

  • Wealthy individuals or groups, or the media, may pursue a campaign of persuasion.

  • Individuals may bully others into a vote.

In previous posts I have addressed counter measures to some of these issues - the contribution of an elected Parliament, police powers, balancing media power with information on the voting site - but perhaps the best way to prevent abuse is to make the system adaptable enough for voters to change it in response to problems.

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