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democracyonline.org is a website that would allow people to easily create and manage social or political groups. It provides a strict organizational framework within which a variety of types of organization can be created. The web site not only helps people connect and communicate, but actually structures their interactions.
How it works:
After creating a general account at the democracyonline.org website, you and a few friends create a new group, call it SaveTheMosquitos. You then select or create a template organizational structure, say a standard President+Secretary+Treasurer. You appoint a president, a secretary and a treasurer. And you're done.
The group is given a home page with a blog, an "About Us" wiki, a mailing list and a list of members among other things. Now comes the interesting part: in order to do anything (add a new member, ban a member, send an email to the local representative or appoint a new president) you must create a vote. To do this you go to the "Create a Vote" page, select the type of action you want to perform from a drop-down list, type in the required details and some text promoting your vote. When you click "submit vote" the vote is immediately posted to your group's front page as text describing the action to be taken and two "yea" or "nay" buttons. If enough members vote 'yea', it will pass and be immediately implemented by the system.
For example, if a given user was trolling around and being a nuisance, you could submit a "ban user" vote, which, as soon as the last yea was cast that was needed for a majority, would result in that user being deleted as a group member and refused all member-rights.
Another example: if you wanted to send an email to your congress person in the name of the group, you would type one up as a wiki and, as soon as it seemed to have reached a consensus, submit it for a vote by specifying in the vote to whom it should be sent. If the majority voted in favour, the email would automatically be sent to the stated recipient from your group's email address (SaveTheMosquitos@democracyonline.org). Any response would be immediately posted by the system to the group's front page.
Last example: if your group wanted to collect dues, it could require that members pay (via PayPal or other) at a given point in time. If a member failed to do so this member would receive a reminder email and eventually be locked out of the group until the due was paid.
The website would, thus, basically take over all organizational elements of a (small) organization and enforce all rules that had been set up in the group's defined structure. This allows groups to quickly form without extensive offline meetings, to easily span continents, and it avoids members circumventing the group's rules. Finally, it is fundamentally democratic.
votes: any type of vote can be set up (ie the group's structure can be defined so that, say, the president has veto power on most important votes, but cannot unilaterally push anything through). The system supports any form of governance, from a dictatorship (the president is the only member allowed to vote) to pure democracy (50%+1 for everything) and anything in between.
types of actions:
* managing members (add, delete, etc) * electing officers * public relations (posting a statement of intent, sending emails, etc) * managing finances (collecting dues via PayPal, etc) * modifying the structure of the group (defining officer rights, etc)
finance: this would probably be more of a .org than a .com. Adds, of course, could provide some revenue and the financial management feature could either be taxed (1% of transactions) or be available for a flat fee.
intended audience: small social awareness groups, political groups, trade unions, clubs, college and university groups, even fraternities.
The website could, if an initial success, expand in many directions. It could offer online voting for small, local governments. It could allow ever more complex organizational structures for ever larger organizations. It could allow groups of groups to form, which could eventually become large enough to wield some degree of influence in the world. And it could add something like Cory Doctorow's whuffie, or virtue points to individual profiles to encourage people along.