List of democratic regions?

Here you might discuss basically everything.

Moderator: SC Moderators

Post Reply
User avatar
Desmond Shang
Passionate Protagonist
Passionate Protagonist
Posts: 115
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2006 12:56 pm

List of democratic regions?

Post by Desmond Shang »

Hey, so there's four CDS regions now, or at least 0.013% of the thirty-thousand-some regions on the grid that are democratic.

How many more democratic communities are out there?

Reason I was wondering this, is that I've got a Caledon neighbour about to go democratic - wheee! Small place, but they seem pretty serious about it.

Claude Desmoulins
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 730
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 9:28 am

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Claude Desmoulins »

That's a good question Des. Unfortunately I don't know the answer.

One thing that makes it tough to make a count is that there are probably a number of regions that make decisions with a town hall sort of approach to things. They may not share the CDS obsession with documents, allowing them to be democratic quietly and without drawing attention to themselves. Also. there are mainland communities like the Chilbo project that don't own any whole regions but do have some democratic governance.

User avatar
Patroklus Murakami
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:54 pm

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

It's an interesting question Desmond. I doubt we can give a definitive answer since, as Claude rightly points out, many small communities may be 'just getting on with it' and running their affairs without making any great impact on the wider SL world.

Other democracies I'm aware of include Cedar Island which I was a member of for a while. Jon Seattle could tell you more about it as he has been the driving force behind the project. My understanding is that Cedar takes decisions at community meetings - a 'Town Hall' direct democracy model - but only on the basis of consensus. This is sometimes referred to as the Quaker model for decision-making. The recently-established Port Spinoza community, related to Cedar Island, is run along similar lines. The SciLands group of islands also run their collective affairs using a board structure with different groups having one member each. This is perhaps a little different as it is a group of government and academic institutions getting together to promote science and technology education in our virtual world.

There were some other contenders for a while but these don't appear to have developed into democratic communities. Al-Andalus raised a lot of hopes but had not yet developed any democratic institutions last time I checked. Metaverse Republic has been developing a rather byzantine constitutional framework for Second LIfe for almost two years now, difficult to say if it's defunct or just quiet though - there has been no posting on their blog since April. The Extropians started off with the aim of having a democratic, self-governing community but found that their citizens preferred benign dictatorship!

If I had the free time and disposable income I'd like to run an experiment (described here) setting up a number of democratic regions run along different lines - direct democracy; presidential system; cabinet government; tribal council etc. Unfortunately, with the RL economy tanking and the SL land market suffering I don't think the time is ripe! But, if you're interested in stumping up the cash and time Dessie, I have a sketch for a self-governing community in Second Life just waiting :)

Honi soit qui mal y pense
User avatar
Jamie Palisades
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 639
Joined: Sun Aug 05, 2007 3:56 pm

Democratic regions in SL?

Post by Jamie Palisades »

Democracy in running sims --- and the idea that they can be run and owned for community purposes, and not as a single auteur's project -- are important ideas. They help draw virtual worlds closer to some important aspects of community in the tangible world.
Few estates in SL seem to be doing it -- and of those who do, not all may have done it loudly -- our Anzere launch team, and the 2006 putsch folks, on the other hand, wanted to be a conspicuous example.
Has that project succeeded? Does it attract "votes" in the form of numbers of people who want to come live in such a place?
Personally I'm not happy with the outcomes so far.

== My Second Life home is CDS. Retired after three terms
== as chancellor of the oldest self-governing sims in SL.
User avatar
Sonja Strom
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 608
Joined: Fri Sep 21, 2007 12:10 pm

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Sonja Strom »

I agree with Jamie. In my view our attempt to have an actual, functioning democratic government that works as a community is not very inspiring. At the same time, everybody here (so far as I know) is genuinely trying to make it work.

Desmond, if you suggest to that community they send a delegation to us, we will hopefully be organised enough to talk with them about what they want, and our experience. :)

Rose Springvale
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1074
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:29 am

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Rose Springvale »

Al Andalus operates on a direct democracy basis... we have met weekly, (most weeks, usually twice the same day to serve both EU and US times,) and take votes on issues of importance to the community. We have at present, four "ministers" who were selected based on their interests and vote of the residents at regular meetings: one in charge of events, one in charge of land issues, one in charge of art and cultural matters and an honorary Minister of Cake. We laugh a lot. Al Andalus includes 2 full sims and 4 open space sims, operated as a non profit for SL purposes. We'd be happy to share our experiences as well.

We recently conducted exercises seeking input from the community for a more developed form of government, as even if they want to be governed by a benevolent sultana, she is not willing to serve in that capacity. The results were inconclusive, favoring a representative council plus executive, with judiciary to be "named later." The structure will be formalized before year end.

We do not keep a blog nor forums; our focus is tolerance and respect. While the original proposal was to conduct the sims pursuant to authentic Islamic Law, that part of the project has not developed. So we rely on the basic principles as originally expounded in our covenants: community self-governance, active citizen participation, equality, dignity, social justice, democracy and human rights

There is also a fledgling democracy called the Polksa Republic, serving polish SL residents. Lincoln Beck can give you information on that.

User avatar
Gwyneth Llewelyn
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1183
Joined: Thu May 25, 2006 8:00 am
Contact:

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Gwyneth Llewelyn »

... and don't forget the Metaverse Republic ;)

"I'm not building a game. I'm building a new country."
  -- Philip "Linden" Rosedale, interview to Wired, 2004-05-08

PGP Fingerprint: CE8A 6006 B611 850F 1275 72BA D93E AA3D C4B3 E1CB

User avatar
Patroklus Murakami
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1929
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 5:54 pm

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Patroklus Murakami »

Gwyneth Llewelyn wrote:

... and don't forget the Metaverse Republic ;)

Is Metaverse Republic still going? They haven't updated their blog since April which doesn't look healthy. Any idea on when it might be launched? My understanding was that this was still a 'work in progress'.

Honi soit qui mal y pense
Rose Springvale
Forum Wizard
Forum Wizard
Posts: 1074
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2006 12:29 am

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Rose Springvale »

MR is still working diligently, having approved many segments of the program. They have been gathering input on specific portions of the constitution from sim owners... i remember specifically being asked about provisions concerning subscription to the program, and the local government rules within the MR constitution. I think they will be rolling out beta testing early in 2009. They meet saturday mornings i believe.. can get you information if you want it. i usually keep the notecards, but confess i don't always read them.

wonder if there is a correlation between health and blogging....

Jon Seattle
I need a hobby
I need a hobby
Posts: 648
Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:18 am

Re: List of democratic regions?

Post by Jon Seattle »

Cedar Island (with 16 plots) and Port Spinoza (44 plots, two islands, but just getting going) are organizationally separate, though currently about half the members of Spinoza are transferred Cedar Islanders. Cedar is also beginning some re-development that will extend the number of plots. Things are looking bright for both communities.

My original assumption was that Spinoza would not choose to use consensus with all community members, but when it came down to it it was the form we were most comfortable with. Once you get used to the process, its fun to work thing out to everyone's satisfaction. Cedar has been using this approach for 16 months. Wikipedia has a description of the process:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making

Spinoza is increasingly doing much of its planning via wiki pages and then confirming the results at in-world meetings. That method seems to work really well. And in general, we don't rush decisions.

Some differences between Cedar, Spinoza, and CDS:

1. Both Cedar and Spinoza are communities of people involved in life-long learning. In order to be a member you have to have a learning project and there are requirements for giving quarterly presentations on your work.

2. Long-term membership requires at least three months and community approval. In practice this tends to be a self-selection process. We have never actually had to turn anyone down.

3. Administration is very minimalist. This is intentional, but it can be disconcerting if you expect more written rules and procedures.

Post Reply

Return to “General Discussion”