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Private vs Public Polls

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Demo Game: Citizens' started by DaveShack, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Perhaps it's time we had a discussion on private polling.

    What kinds of polls must be private, what kinds must be public, and what kinds don't matter?
     
  2. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Here's my view:

    Private polls must be used when the primary subject of the poll is an individual. The principle behind using private polls for matters pertaining to an individual is to allow the voter to vote according to conscience without fear of being seen in a better or worse way based on their vote. For example, voting against a friend or in favor of an enemy becomes easier when the vote is private, where a public poll would unduly influence a vote one way or the other. It should be noted that the moderators have consistently said that polls about individuals must be private. There is very little disagreement on this point, in fact I don't remember seeing any disagreement.

    Once we move away from polls about individuals, we reach an area where politics is affected by how we handle polls. The democracy game has two major components -- playing a game of Civ using democratically derived instructions, and using a game of Civ as a platform to play at being a democracy. It is this second part, the emulation of a democracy using this forum and a game of Civ as the mechanism, where it matters whether polls are public or private.

    In this game, we emulate elected officials who are representatives of "the people". During elections, when we have enough players to actually have a contested election, the candidates campaign on issues and the people elect them based on their track record, their platform, and the needs of the game. Whether a poll is public or private enters into politics because using public polls forces some accountability upon our elected leaders. With public polling, a leader cannot campaign for war and then vote against it without facing the people's questions on that change of position. With public polling, a prospective leader cannot claim to be voting on all the issues after having not voted on a single question.

    Detractors of public polling might say, but when I go to the polls in RL, my vote is secret. This is absolutely correct from the individual point of view, but it overlooks a simple concept for the Democracy game. We are not acting in this game as individuals, we are acting as the representatives of the in-game people. We call the legislative body the "citizens assembly" for a reason, because we are the representatives. Public assemblies, all the way from school boards up through parliment and congress use public voting. Representatives vote publically, placing their decisions on record for everyone to see. There is no reason that we cannot do the same within this democracy -- in fact, we must use public votes to carry the simulation to its logical implementation.

    Non-binding polls don't matter, they can be public or private -- but for a poll to be binding it must either be about an individual and private, or not about an individual and public.

    I welcome whatever discussion may (or may not) follow. :)
     
  3. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I think we all agree that private polls should be required for polls about individuals. DaveShack has just pointed out many of the benefits of private polls. In a private poll a citizen, be he office holder or not, can vote they way he or she wants to vote without fear of things like peer pressure, or other anxieties. Private polls have good points. We still require them for elections. They are not evil things.

    What about public polls? Well, so far we have the argument that public polls will keep our officials accountable. And that's it. Period. End of sentence. End of reasons to force all official polls to be public. Ok, maybe even I could accept that official polls must be public IF we made the distinction between citizen initiated polls and those put out by officials in the course of their official duties. I'd be happy to force officials posting official polls to make then public so long as I'm allowed, as a citizen, to post an initiative poll as a private poll if I think that's what is needed. I'm not saying we should force all citizen initiative polls to be private. No. I'm saying leave it up to the citizen who is trying to accomplish something to make that choice.

    What about (so called) non-binding opinion polls? Why can't they be private if they are truly for information purposes only and can be disregarded by officials? Do we really need accountability in opinion polls? Can they not be private or public according to the desires of the one posting the poll, be he citizen or official?

    Some of us crotchety old demogame folks remember a time when all polls were private - because that's all there was. I recall vividly some of the troubles we had. One was, how do we know it's really active demogame citizens that are voting in our polls and not someone who is say, creating fake logins and casting multiple votes (not that anyone would really do that, but you wonder about it anyway). To tjose of us who obsessed about that sort of thing, public polls were a God send. No more worries, we just make everything public. Well, public polls are not the only new technology on the block. We now have user groups and we can rest assured that no one can ever vote more than once (again, not that anyone would). With that evil conquered our only reason now for public polls is accountability of our officials. So let's limit the requirement for public polls to stricly official polls and leave flexibility for opinion polls and citizen initiatives since they are not official polls - and there is no good reason to keep such polls from being private.

    I thank you for your time and please feel free to vote me for Censor. :D

    PLease pass the babies up so I can kiss them.
     
  4. dutchfire

    dutchfire Moderator Moderator

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    Another reason for public polls is if someone voted the wrong option. With public polls, you can check this, and thus see if he really voted the wrong option and change the vote, while if the poll is private, this can't be done easily.
     
  5. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Donsig suggests allowing binding initiative polls which are posted by a mere citizen as private but requiring binding initiative polls which are posted by an official to be public.

    I think we should ignore the concept of "posted by an official" and distinguish polls solely based on binding vs non-binding. Anyone care to comment on why it matters if an official posts the poll or not?

    I can't think of a single legitimate reason to keep votes secret that is not related to the poll being about an individual. I do know of one illegitimate reason that an attempt was made to use a poll which was binding, private, and "not about an individual" -- illegitimate because the person posting the poll had publically supported (demanded) answering one way on the question posed in the poll in another incident when another player was involved, but then wanted to trap the people into giving permission to do the opposite in his own case. Many of us who voted no on that poll (or was it yes? :crazyeye: ) voted that way because it was a misuse of the term "initiative", not because the poll was private.

    If someone would please post a scenario where it is appropriate to have a private binding poll I'd certainly be interested in seeing it.

    What about having an objection system? I don't want sole power to make a binding poll private resting in the hands of the person opening the poll.
     
  6. Eklektikos

    Eklektikos Eponymous

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    I tend to agree with this viewpoint in principle, however I'm not so certain that the Constitution and CoL as currently written support its application in practice. Use of the word "official" in the Constitutional definition of a referendum and its replacement with "initiated by the citizenry" in that of an initiative would seem to suggest that the origin of a poll has some bearing on the manner in which the results may be applied as the law stands.

    I can therefore support the idea of treating the origin of a poll as irrelevant, but only if the Constitution is amended so as to make the legality of such an approach incontrovertible.

    While being in favour of the idea of binding polls being public in general, as it fits well with my inclination to view the Citizen's Assembly as being akin to the House of Commons (or Representatives for those from less enlightened shores ;)), I do not see any particularly compelling reason for this being absolutely vital to the legitimacy of such a poll.
     
  7. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    I certainly agree with donsig that Opinion polls (any poll posted by an official i their area clearly marked as opinion/informative, or any poll posted by a citizen not marked as an initiative) can be Private, Public, Biased or complete and utter bunk. I just don't care.

    For those that have been particpating in this government simulation for a while, you might remember my "Abstain, poll is public" campaign. For everyone else, when the public polls started, we did adopt them for several different reasons. It was either DG3 or 4, I invite the interested reader to use the archives to review that debate.

    I didn't really like public polls - and so objected, publicly, to them everytime. I was laughed at, ridiculed, mocked and some even tried to reason with me. Heck, a few posted had all of that! One of my main objections to public polling was pressure put on citizens because of their vote, including those that had not posted their choice.. I don't mind people trying to persuade fellow citizens, I object when citizens are called out publically for daring to vote their mind.

    See, I believe the cornerstone of democracy is the ability for all citizens to make their vote free from pressure and ridicule, but not free from persuation. "You should choose X for blah, blah, blah" is fine, but "Ravensfire's a tool for voting XYZ" is Not Good. Democracy is about persuasion, not pressure.

    Democracy is also, however, about respecting the decisions made the by citizens. We've had multiple polls about this issue, and the concensus has been that the binding polls are marked public. Accordingly, I've accepted that, although I disagree with it, that is the viewpoint expressed by the people in a decision that was made with full awareness of the pros and cons.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  8. GeorgeOP

    GeorgeOP RF Bleachers

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    I don't think this is a valid reason. I can't go to the polls hours or days later and "change my vote". Once the vote is cast, it is cast.

    I fail to see why all polls that must be followed have to be public. If there is a question of who voted for what, any citizen may post a new public poll.
     
  9. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Doesn't the Censorial validation system address that? In fact, this is one of the main reasons I've tried to keep this issue in front of our citizens. We've set up a system where one person has the power to decide whether or not a poll should be binding or not binding. It's a bad system. It is our judiciary that should be deciding this when needed. This is a great idea and is a logical application taken directly from our judicial practices. Think about polls for a minute. Once a poll is posted what can happen after the posting to make it better or worse? Editing the first post of the poll changes it. For better or worse? Changing the wording or even clarifying the question casts doubt on the votes already cast. Our Censor should automatically invalidate any poll that has an edited first post. Aside from editing the first post or the actual question, the data used to judge a poll's validatability is right there (far all to see) before the poll is posted.

    Back to DaveShack's suggestion: Couldn't we address the public/private thing in the issue's discussion thread if it is a sensitive isuue? Part of the discussion could be about whether anyone has strong feelings about the poll type for that particular initiative. The trouble with a formal objection system is that there will be times when time is very important in a citizen's initiative. Our constitution recognizes this and clearly says initiatives should always be allowed - even when there is no time for discussion. All I'm asking is that citizens (not officials) be given the option of using either a publilc or a private poll and letting the citizen him or herself make the decision (based on discussion or not). We should give our citizens the benefit of the doubt when it comes to posting polls. We should not automatically assume that our citizens will post poor polls.

    @ravensfire: I was never a part of the public versus private debate. And we've never formally addressed it in this particular game. So we should not assume that those of us playing now have made our choice.
     
  10. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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  11. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    And what is the point of posting that? All it will do is stop the discussion going on here. I've waited four terms for a proper discussion of this issue. Can't you wait a few flipping days for the discussion to run it's course? I've lost alot of the respect I once had for you because of your unreasonable campaign to deny a fair airing of this issue.
     
  12. ravensfire

    ravensfire Member of the Opposition

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    That's quite the ironic statement given your actions on various other issues as a member of the Judiciary where you've stalled and refused to rule on matters before the court.

    That's okay though - demand the fair hearing for issues that concern you. Stifle the rest, they just don't matter, right? Your actions of late have radically changed MY view of you, donsig. I was dissappointed when I realized that.

    -- Ravensfire
     
  13. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    I am just as disappointed that our next chief justice would publicly post an accusation of this sort about a sitting justice without first checking to see if there was any justification to it. It is true that I have refused to rule on an amendment that I feel is not needed. However, there are current judicial procedures in place that allow decisions to be made if two justices concur. There was nothing I could do to prevent DaveShack and GeorgeOP from oking that amendment and taking it to the next stage in the process (assuming they agree on their JR ruling). I have no special powers guys. This term has been a great example (like many previous terms) of how just posting dissenting opinions freezes our officials. This is quite sad in a democracy. No wonder people lose interest in the game.

    It is also an example of how so many of us do not understand the laws of our system. For many terms I've been asking for one simple thing: the recognition that our current laws allow private citizen initiative polls. Well, I also am campaigning for the acceptance of private citizen initiative polls. I am not asking for the replacement of public polls. What I'm really campaigning for is the re-establishment of a citizen's right to choose what they think is best for his initiative poll.
     
  14. Strider

    Strider In Retrospect

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    My take on the public/private polls:

    Okay, from almost the minute public polls were made the normal procedure inside of the demogame, I have opposed it. The measure was orginally passed because anyone who opposed the issue was called cowardly for not wanting their votes seen. Followed by some questioning of your manhood and I believe you guys get the general idea.

    Really, what do we gain from public polls? The ability to change your vote. That's basically it. We no longer need them to check for voter fraud, which was about the only other thing gleamed from the less than ingenius idea.

    So, the only thing really gained from the use of public polls is the that nice little vote changing thing. Has it occured to anyone here that it's kind of tumbling to a democracy to allow people to change their vote?

    Meanwhile, I'm slightly suspicious of the accucracy of public polls. How do we know people aren't just voting with the majority because they don't want their name seen in the minority? We have no way of really telling wether someone is voting truthfully or not, but the point still stands that it is a possibility.

    We also have someone (that someone being myself) and possibly others who just don't like the idea of everyone being able to see where you stand on an issue. I like being mysterious, so give me back my damned singularity.

    Of course, honestly. There are bigger fish to fry than public/private polls. Hell, we still need to catch the damn fish first! Donsig.. that's your job. Daveshack can be the frycook.
     
  15. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    An opinion poll shows that we're split on the issue of allowing private polls. I plan to post a citizen's initiative poll on Monday or Tuesday. The initiative poll will be private. Please post any comments on that and this subject in general.
     
  16. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    No initiative on this subject will be allowed, public or private. To effect a change in polling standards would require an amendment.
     
  17. DaveShack

    DaveShack Inventor Retired Moderator

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    Let's examine the laws as they currently stand, to see what needs to be done to allow private initiatives. I'll start by looking for every occurance of "public" n the law, and pasting the ones which are about polls.

    Article D - Elections
    Terms of service of all elected and appointed offices shall be determined in advance of the beginning of such term, as further defined by law.
    All Election and other polls in which specific individuals are chosen by name shall be private polls, and not public polls.
    The candidate with the highest vote total is the winner of an election poll, regardless of whether such vote total is a majority of votes cast or not.
    Should two or more candidates tie for the most votes, as many runoff elections shall be held as needed to resolve the election, as further defined by law.​

    Nothing needs to be done with this one.

    Article G - Ratification and Amendments
    The Constitution shall be initially ratified by a majority (more yes votes than no votes) of votes cast in a public poll which shall be open for no fewer than 4 days.
    The Constitution may be amended by a 60% majority of votes cast in a public poll which shall be open for no fewer than 4 days.
    A lower form of law may specify a procedure which must be followed to amend the Constitution.
    Minor changes to the Constitution, such as correcting typographical and clerical errors, reorganization and reformatting for better readibility, and addition of text which does not impact legal definitions (such as a preamble) may be made at any time.
    If 5 or more citizens object to a minor change within the 48 hour period commencing when the minor change is proposed, the change shall be considered an amendment and must undergo ratification as such.​

    Not hearing any disagreement about amendments, we're discussing initiatives here.

    II. Polling Standards
    IIA. The description and initial post for all official polls should be stated in a clear and neutral manner.
    IIB. The initial post should contain a link to all relevant discussion threads. Each option should be explained if not immediately clear. The time frame for the poll, and how the results will be interpreted should also be in the initial post.
    IIC. All official polls must be open for a minimum of 2 days to be binding, however it is recommended that binding polls be open from 3 to 4 days if possible.
    IID. Official polls should be marked Public unless directly concerning another Citizen.​

    This says should which means private polls are allowed, just discouraged.

    Section 10 Amending the Code of Laws

    A) Amending the Code of Laws
    I. The Code of Laws may be amended by a 60% majority of votes cast in a public poll which shall be open for no fewer than 4 days.

    II. Minor changes to the Code of Laws, such as correcting typographical and clerical errors, reorganization and reformatting for better readability, and addition of text which does not impact legal definitions may be made at any time.
    IIA. If any citizen objects to a minor change within the 48 hour period commencing when the minor change is proposed, the change shall be considered an amendment and must undergo ratification as such.​

    Again, this is about amendments which we have generally agreed should be public.

    So, what remains? A vendetta by a single individual to change something which already says what he wants changed, against prior actions of people who for the most part aren't even active in the game.

    The current term's draft Censorial procedure already has what we needed all along -- an acknowledgement that the language should means that private polls are not necessarily invalid. It also allows a mechanism for pre-validating a private poll, and for allowing citizens to object to the private / public decision.

    The question for the citizens is, since the truth is revealed (as it should have been long ago if someone had just followed the proper process), do you think we need to do anything about it? What law should change, if it does need to be fixed?
     
  18. donsig

    donsig Low level intermediary

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    Initiatives have the force of law and must always be allowed. These are words from our constitution.

    Well, I guess I'll see you in court then.

    At least three Censors that I can racall (SwissEmpire, ravensfire and Ice2k4, all had Censorial procedures prohibiting private initiative polls. The first of this trio went so far as to invalidate a private initiative poll that I had posted. There was also a large cry that the private initiative poll was illegal and I don't remember our esteemed CJ-emeritus-turned-Censor speaking up back then and saying it was a legal poll. Guess I need to go back and look at what was said back then.
     
  19. Nobody

    Nobody Gangster

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    Does anyone really have a problem with:

    1. All polls concerning a individual are required to be Private polls. E.g. Elections, Trials, Impeachment.
    2. All other polls are required to be Public.

    Cant we just follow this system, its not hard, then the censor can spend their time just checking the poll is neutral ect.
     
  20. Eklektikos

    Eklektikos Eponymous

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    No problem there.

    While I personally don't have a problem with other polls being public, I don't really see why they should legally have to be so in order to be considered binding. Why is it unacceptable that the choice be left to the whim of the poller?
     

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