Digital Democracy 101

What are the fundamentals of a digital democracy platform?

1 Security

Any network that can be infiltrated is as good as nothing. The recent hack of Hillary Clinton’s email by Russian intelligence services shows that as soon as an electronic platform is considered vulnerable, its credibility is ruined permanently. And there can be no deterrent because responding with another cyber-attack gives away how deeply you can read another system. So security has to be at its maximum.

2 Identification
When users post, not only does the platform need to be sure that it is them, but also have their household address. This is how citizens communicate to representatives currently and it is the only way to ensure people are speaking to the right people. A platform could generate a mailing list, such as the one on TheyWorkForYou, so that citizens were directed to the right people.

On the other end, the platform would clearly tell users what part of a response from a representative is automated. This is only fair so that users don’t get the same copy pasted response over and over again.

3 User experience
People will naturally argue against platforms that seem to disenfranchise citizens. First, the platform needs to be designed being friendly to desktop computing. Second, it needs to be available in multiple languages with localisation from the very beginning. Third, accessibility controls need to be built in from the start.

4 Abuse monitoring
Content moderation can come from many sources that already do this out there. The point is to have a civil exchange.

5 Rolled out so that it is not discriminatory to any demographic
There needs to be a veritable media storm so that everyone knows this is the platform, with every type of marketing employed. No excuse for not knowing.