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

Michael Gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Tue Apr 21 10:29:13 EDT 2015

Excellent comments by Daniel and David.  Overall, of course the issue is not
the methods of participation (the "how") but rather the objectives of the
participation the ("why" and "what for").  

And only to add or reiterate that facilitating remote participation is the
wrong terminology -- we should be talking about how to facilitate
"participation" using a variety of methods--face to face, synchronous,
asynchronous--whatever makes most sense in the context and in pursuit of the
objectives of the process.  

If as Daniel says the objective is democratic governance then a process
needs to be designed including the various modalities for achieving
democratic governance.  If the objective is "participation" as a "spectacle"
so that someone can check "remote inclusion" off on a checklist then that is
something else entirely.


-----Original Message-----
From: governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org
[mailto:governance-request at lists.igcaucus.org] On Behalf Of Daniel Pimienta
Sent: April 21, 2015 5:20 AM
To: governance at lists.igcaucus.org
Subject: [governance] What does lazyness in Remote Participation is a
symptom of?

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

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

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

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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