[governance] What does lazyness in Remote Participation is a symptom of?

Daniel Pimienta pimienta at funredes.org
Tue Apr 21 08:20:22 EDT 2015

Foreseing remote particiption always as a synchronous process 
allowing outsiders to see in real time what happen in a face to face 
encounter and barely "participate" *in the sense of contributing to 
it is a confortable and lazy approach for the lucky ones who can 
attend, for different reasons which can be analyzed (the power hidden 
in attributing traveling budgets). I would call it a distance 
participation alibi... Doing absolutely no effort for remote 
participation is the extreme lazyness and you even loose the alibi.

This appearant lazyness is not neutral indeed: it is a subbtle mean 
to maintain control of a large group of persons by a minoirity (and 
here we are obviously talking about democratic processes),
Not even doing that sort of efforts reveals lack of interest for 
truely democratic processes.
By the way the same lazyness wiuth the same symptoms occurs when 
talking about linguistic diversity ...but this is another subject n'est-ce pas?

What would be the alternative?
Introducing some level of asyncrhonism to the remote participation 
process so to, with proper methodology, allow a real implication of 
the "outsiders" in the face to face process.

Another way of considering face to face encounters for members of a 
virtual community is possible and more prone to obtain truly 
democratic process!
It has to be based in a deep consciousness that when less than 10% of 
a community is meeting face to face, then the center of (democratic) 
gravity of the community remain within the 90% of remote participants 
and then there is a need to provide all the attention to have the 
outsiders not only duly informed of what happen in the non virtual 
place but also to participate in some manner in the debate and even 
more important in the decision making if it has to occur This 
requires obviously a different concept of face to face meeting...

One way is to structure each session with a component close to the 
end to allow this remote participation with a slight asynchronism. 
The same discussion list could channel those contributions or 
sub-lists open for the sake of the device

We have experimented in 2000 with those principles in the MISTICA 
virtual community (http://funredes.org/mistica ) and we can claim 
some success (Spanish description of the methodology can be read in 
and the very process can be checked across the mailing during the 
meetings and in the events reporting).

If there is one single fact which is essentialy meaningful in our 
experience is to obtain that face to face participants deeply 
understand they did not represent the whole community (only a 
minority of luckiest member) and that their collective decision could 
not be considered democratic unless some minimum effort was made to 
have the remaining majority of the community involved not only in 
watching the process but also in participating to decisions through 
designed channels.
Note: one of the funniest side effect of the device was the 
possibility left to the face to face attendees to also participate at 
distance which makes sense when there are parallel sessions (but also 
to the session they were attending showing the emergence of some 
interesting  fractal effects in the democratic process).

I do not see any progress here made here on those approaches... only 
regression and we are again and again in the subttle dictature of 
those who get fundings.

We shall not forget though that what is at stake here is the nature 
of our democratic process.

Note: I have been in an ICANN meeting attempting to do the same in a 
synchronous manner: the moderator (Vint Cerf) gave sequentially the 
floor to people in the meeting or to people at distance. It was 
indeed interesting and somehow spectacular...but the choice of who 
speaks at distance was not systematized and as often the spectacular 
is less important that the impacting which could emerge of a well 
designed method of asynchrous participation of the majority of 
members in a meeting of a minority of them...

By the way who really believe that participative democracy will 
function in a synchronous manner. Just imaginate the chaos of a one 
millon people deliberative assembly!

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