A decision-making method for wikis

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This essay describes a decision-making method that takes advantage of wiki technology.

Method[edit]

Step 1: Propose without signing[edit]

Come up with an idea and create a wiki page to explain it. If the idea was already proposed by someone else, feel free to improve the explanation in the usual wiki way.

Step 2: Debate without signing[edit]

After the explanation, add an "Arguments" section with your arguments for and against the idea. Do not sign any of the arguments.

Users may improve the idea and the arguments in a wiki-way, without changing their essence. This is the step where wiki technology becomes essential. Editing the text of the original proposal and of the arguments is something that needs specialized software to do effectively. New arguments for and against are added, as well as objections to the arguments and to other objections. A debate builds up in the "Arguments" section, but without any arguments being signed.

Optionally, the dialectic algorithm may be applied using the DebateTree software.

Step 3: Vote by signing[edit]

After reading and contributing to the debate, cast your vote by signing. This is the only part of the debate where signatures should appear.

Advantages[edit]

  • Arguments are not signed or tied to their author, thus reducing the role of the ego in the debate, and allowing users to add or improve arguments against their current position.
  • Rather than having users cast their vote the day they arrive to the debate and make up their opinion, you force them to wait until all arguments are in, and presented in the best way the community agrees upon. This causes the voters to at least scroll through the debate before casting their vote, thus increasing the chance they will scan it, and maybe even read some of it. This doesn't happen in regular voting, where voters may cast their vote, leave the site, and never come back until the voting is over and the decision made. This also prevents them from knowing any arguments posted in-between and thus reducing the chances they take an informed decision.
  • After the voting is over and the decision is made, what is left behind is a very clear summary of the reasons that led to the decision, rather than a long and intricate discussion.

Structure[edit]

Binary issues[edit]

Binary issues are issues where the possible answers are yes or no, such as "Should we do X?". For such issues, the resulting structure is:

  • Proposal
  • Arguments
    • For
    • Against
  • Votes
    • For
    • Against
    • Neutral

Non-binary issues[edit]

Non-binary issues have other possible answers, such as "What should we do regarding X?" or "Should we do X or Y?". The structure of the pages for making decisions about these two different kinds of issues varies slightly. For non-binary issues, the structure is longer, but follows the same basic principles:

  • Proposal
  • Option 1
    • Arguments for
    • Arguments against
  • Option 2
    • Arguments for
    • Arguments against
  • Option 3
    • Arguments for
    • Arguments against
  • Votes
    • For option 1
    • For option 2
    • For option 3
    • Neutral

See also[edit]