The Liquid Democracy Journal
on electronic participation, collective moderation, and voting systems
Issue 5


by the Editors, Berlin, May 11, 2017 other format: text version (UTF-8)

Issue 1

In the articles “5 Jahre Liquid Democracy in Deutschland” (German) and “5 years of Liquid Democracy in Germany” (English translation), both being part of Issue #1 of this journal, it has been claimed that the idea of Delegated Voting (transitive delegation) was first formulated by Lewis Carroll in his work “The Principles of Parliamentary Representation”, published in 1884.

Reading the original publication written by Lewis Carroll, [Carroll] we must conclude that Lewis Carroll did not propose a transitive delegation of votes with more than two steps in that publication. However, it is true that some of the ideas which we find in Liquid Democracy today have already been stated by him in the late 19th century. This will be elaborated on in the following article “The Origins of Liquid Democracy” [Origin].

Issue 4

In the editorial of Issue #4, we criticized that in Google's experiment on Liquid Democracy it was allowed to cast private ballots that “were hidden from the users”. According to the last paragraph on page 4 of the referenced paper [GooglePaper], private votes are only described as one possible way for the proposed “general framework to define the space of all vote-transparency-compliant policies”, while the same paragraph states that “making all votes publicly visible” was used in case of Google Votes, instead. However, page 12 of the paper states that users may “choose to cast a ‘personal vote’ which means they decline all incoming delegations and use only their own single vote”. In either case, our critique in regard to allowing private votes in the proposed framework is still valid.

Instead of “as so in case of Google's experiments” read “as so in case of the paper [GooglePaper] describing Google's experiments”. Instead of the paragraph beginning with “As the experiment had to fulfill […]” read “Hardt and Lopes propose in their paper that only those ballots that use delegated voting weight need to be public.” Instead of “Therefore, the participants of the system did not have any way to check the results of the system; they had to blindly trust the results” read “Therefore, the participants of the system would not have any way to check the results of the system; they would have to blindly trust the results”. These corrections have been included in revision 2 of the electronic version of Issue #4 of The Liquid Democracy Journal.

[Carroll] Lewis Carroll (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson): “The Principles of Parliamentary Representation”, 1884. Available at or (referenced at: a)
[GooglePaper] Steve Hardt, Lia C. R. Lopes: “Google Votes: A Liquid Democracy Experiment on a Corporate Social Network”, June 5, 2015. In “Defensive Publications Series”, 2015, on Technical Disclosure Commons, available at (accessed 2017-05-10) (referenced at: a b)
[Origin] Jan Behrens: The Origins of Liquid Democracy. In “The Liquid Democracy Journal on electronic participation, collective moderation, and voting systems”, Issue 5, May 11, 2017, pp. 7-17. ISSN 2198-9532. Published by Interaktive Demokratie e. V. (referenced at: a)

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