Cast your Votags!

It’s late in Middlebrook Hall, but not too late maybe for a first little sketch on tag-based voting. Basically, in addition to the usual topic-based keywords or identifiers certain voting tags (votags, anyone?) could be applied depending on the desired type of vote. Several voting mechanisms come to mind:

  • Simple up-or-down vote: yes/no (votag_yes, votag_no)
  • Agreement on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents “strongly disagree” and 10 represents “strongly agree” (votag_1, votag_2 … votag_10)
  • Rating of the quality of the content on a scale from 1 to 10, where 1 represents “poor” and 10 represents “excellent” (votag_q1, votag_q2 … votag_q10)
  • Multiple choice, e.g. option A through E (votag_a, votag_b … votag_e)

Surely, things like abstention, being undecided or “I don’t care” should be addressed as well.

With something like this in place, a vote could easily be organized (where “owner” refers to the governing body holding elections, and “user” refers to the electorate):

  1. Owner to define identifier tag (e.g. “proposal_1234″).
  2. Owner to define type of vote (different votes require different sets of votags)
  3. Users to assign votags.
  4. Owner to aggregate votags.

Other votes could run along the line of how well an issue is being understood, whether a debate should end (and when), whether the group feels ready to make a decision etc. This could be interesting for ongoing deliberative processes: “A decision shall be made only if a certain degree of understanding has been reached within the group.”

In a wiki environment, votes could be mapped against various historic versions: “Over the last five (major) versions the degree of comprehension in the group has gone up by 30 percentage points, while the degree of agreement has stayed roughly the same.”

Not yet covered here, I guess, are privacy issues and votes in closed groups.

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