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Voting behaviour and power in online democracy: a study of LiquidFeedback in Germany's Pirate Party

Voting behaviour and power in online democracy: a study of LiquidFeedback in Germany's Pirate Party
Voting behaviour and power in online democracy: a study of LiquidFeedback in Germany's Pirate Party
In recent years, political parties have adopted Online Delegative Democracy platforms such as LiquidFeedback to organise themselves and their political agendas via a grassroots approach. A common objection against the use of these platforms is the delegation system, where a user can delegate his vote to another user, giving rise to so-called super-voters, i.e. powerful users who receive many delegations. It has been asserted in the past that the presence of these super-voters undermines the democratic process, and therefore delegative democracy should be avoided. In this paper, we look at the emergence of super-voters in the largest delegative online democracy platform worldwide, operated by Germany's Pirate Party. We investigate the distribution of power within the party systematically, study whether super-voters exist, and explore the influence they have on the outcome of votings conducted online. While we find that the theoretical power of super-voters is indeed high, we also observe that they use their power wisely. Super-voters do not fully act on their power to change the outcome of votes, but they vote in favour of proposals with the majority of voters in many cases thereby exhibiting a stabilising effect on the system. We use these findings to present a novel class of power indices that considers observed voting biases and gives significantly better predictions than state-of-the-art measures.
208-217
AAAI
Kling, Christoph Carl
3e66e481-5a13-444f-87e2-772268e9fdb1
Kunegis, Jerome
8fbf7dcb-e263-4651-b6e5-744258943fe7
Hartmann, Heinrich
66e3c96b-77be-4c33-9291-10d5850a2d14
Strohmaier, Markus
ab0f945b-6e00-49d8-a464-4c71d9469679
Staab, Steffen
bf48d51b-bd11-4d58-8e1c-4e6e03b30c49
Kling, Christoph Carl
3e66e481-5a13-444f-87e2-772268e9fdb1
Kunegis, Jerome
8fbf7dcb-e263-4651-b6e5-744258943fe7
Hartmann, Heinrich
66e3c96b-77be-4c33-9291-10d5850a2d14
Strohmaier, Markus
ab0f945b-6e00-49d8-a464-4c71d9469679
Staab, Steffen
bf48d51b-bd11-4d58-8e1c-4e6e03b30c49

Kling, Christoph Carl, Kunegis, Jerome, Hartmann, Heinrich, Strohmaier, Markus and Staab, Steffen (2015) Voting behaviour and power in online democracy: a study of LiquidFeedback in Germany's Pirate Party. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Web and Social Media. AAAI. pp. 208-217 .

Record type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)

Abstract

In recent years, political parties have adopted Online Delegative Democracy platforms such as LiquidFeedback to organise themselves and their political agendas via a grassroots approach. A common objection against the use of these platforms is the delegation system, where a user can delegate his vote to another user, giving rise to so-called super-voters, i.e. powerful users who receive many delegations. It has been asserted in the past that the presence of these super-voters undermines the democratic process, and therefore delegative democracy should be avoided. In this paper, we look at the emergence of super-voters in the largest delegative online democracy platform worldwide, operated by Germany's Pirate Party. We investigate the distribution of power within the party systematically, study whether super-voters exist, and explore the influence they have on the outcome of votings conducted online. While we find that the theoretical power of super-voters is indeed high, we also observe that they use their power wisely. Super-voters do not fully act on their power to change the outcome of votes, but they vote in favour of proposals with the majority of voters in many cases thereby exhibiting a stabilising effect on the system. We use these findings to present a novel class of power indices that considers observed voting biases and gives significantly better predictions than state-of-the-art measures.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 9 March 2015
e-pub ahead of print date: 26 May 2015
Published date: July 2015
Venue - Dates: Ninth International Conference on Web and Social Media,, Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015-05-26 - 2015-05-29

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 413598
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/413598
PURE UUID: b4e1fb7e-4e9a-4fa1-8bc7-a45af27ac05c
ORCID for Steffen Staab: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-0780-4154

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Aug 2017 16:31
Last modified: 19 Dec 2019 01:31

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Contributors

Author: Christoph Carl Kling
Author: Jerome Kunegis
Author: Heinrich Hartmann
Author: Markus Strohmaier
Author: Steffen Staab ORCID iD

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