The Liquid Democracy Journal
on electronic participation, collective moderation, and voting systems
Issue 1


by the Editors, Berlin, March 20, 2014 other format: text version (UTF-8)

In autumn 2009, triggered by the government's plans to deploy an internet censorship system in Germany, there was an emerging demand for political change amongst those people who felt rooted in or grew up with the internet culture. This came with a demand for new ways for democratic self-organization. It was then that we, the editors of this journal, decided to develop the software LiquidFeedback to overcome the previously known limitations of democratic organization structures found in political organizations and, specifically, political parties. It didn't take more than a few months before we could present a prototype that was going to be used and tested within the Berlin branch of the German Pirate Party, which was arguably the biggest union of those people that demanded a fundamental change of the course of German politics.

Being also part of that political movement at that time, we noticed quickly that simply providing the technical basis for a new and more fair process for decision-making isn't sufficient to advance the way real world politics works. Therefore, half a year later in June 2010, we decided to affiliate within a newly founded association: the “Interaktive Demokratie e. V.”

Within the years 2010 through 2013, we promoted the use of electronic media for democratic processes, including LiquidFeedback's concepts for a truly fair and democratic decision-making process, and we occasionally commented on political developments in our web blog, including reporting on improper nonverifiable use of electronic participation systems that would put democracy at stake.

Still today, there is an ongoing development both in politics and science regarding Liquid Democracy and electronic participation systems. With the Liquid Democracy Journal on electronic participation, collective moderation, and voting systems, we want to create a publication platform for us and other people who are interested in the political and scientific advance of electronic democracy. While we're not a mathematical science journal on social choice theory, our work is inherently linked to mathematical advances in that scientific field, and our articles will not just cover political but also mathematical considerations where there is an impact on real-world systems.

With this journal, we address an English speaking audience, though we will occasionally cite or republish German sources, providing a full or partial English translation of those. Starting with issue 1 of this journal, we will republish our German article “5 Jahre Liquid Democracy in Deutschland,” along with a full translation to English where we reported about the political difficulties of implementing Liquid Democracy concepts in Germany. The reader shall be advised that this article covers the events up to August 17, 2011 prior to the Berlin city-state elections in that year. Much has happened since then, ranging from the use of LiquidFeedback for citizen participation in the county of Friesland (LiquidFriesland) to the Berlin Pirate Party's decision to use LiquidFeedback no longer pseudonymously but in a binding fashion within their branch. Future issues of this journal will give an account of many of these events and developments, but also deal with theoretical advances and ideas.

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