Collective Decisionmaking

Democracy is the worst system, except for most of the alternatives.

STAR Ballot
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For almost all purposes within an aftok, there should be no need for collective decision-making; people vote with their effort in terms of how they wish to influence the organization. However, there are a few special circumstances where actions must be decided on collectively - in particular, shared expenses pose a challenge because the costs incurred may have an impact on all contributors to a project. In situations where the actions of an individual may have costs which affect others, it is necessary to obtain consent. This is where voting comes in. The voting system provides utilities to facilitate this process.

Just as the depreciated amount of time that a person has devoted to the company (relative to that devoted by the rest of the collaborators) determines what proportion of revenue they are awarded, it also determines the amount of influence that person has in making decisions that affect the organization as a whole.

The voting system provided uses a score-based model, where the ratings chosen by an individual for the options provided are then weighted by their revenue distribution percentage for tallying. Only those contributors who are currently permitted to record time to the aftok's logs are allowed to vote; while former contributors are entitled to compensation to the value that they created, they do not have the right to influence the aftok's future.

Share-Weighted STAR Voting, A Quick Primer

A modified version of the STAR (Score-Then-Automatic-Runoff) was chosing for the voting interface on the basis of its being able to satisfy several objectives:

  • Multiple options can be presented for selection, in such a way that a vote in favor of one option does not imply a vote against other options.

  • Participants in an election can accurately represent their opinions of each option presented.

  • A participant's vote may be weighted by their overall investment in the project.

  • The ultimate option selected is the preference of a majority of the participants, when considering the highest-rated options.

Under STAR voting, a user provides a rating for each option; then, at the time of the conclusion of the election, each voter's relative share of revenue payments is computed, and their ratings are multiplied by this share. Then, all users adjusted ratings are summed, and two finalists are selected by chosing the two highest-rated options.

Then, to choose between the two highest-rated options, we compute the difference between each user's ratings of those two options such that the difference is recorded as a positive value when the highest-ranked option is preferred, and negative when the second-highest-ranked option is preferred. These differences are then again multiplied by share weights, and a sum of the resulting values is used to determine the result - the highest-ranked if the result is positive, and the second-highest ranked if negative.

Now, click here to read about how voting is used in managing shared expenses.

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