Code of Good Practice for allotted mini-publics involved with legislation

This text is meant as a start to discuss the problem, it is not even a draft. My hope is nevertheless that we will reach that point, or even farther.

Introduction: As the use of mini-publics appointed by sortition is spreading around the world, and is reaching the legislative level, a code of good practice is essential. A glossary is also necessary.

We know that not all essential criteria can always be met, but we have to know at least what to aim for and how to refute well-founded criticism and protect a valuable democratic system. Citizens must know that there are essential choices to make that are of significant impact on the outcome and on the reliability of the results.

The first question we have to ask ourselves is what the kind of application it is we have at hand. The participation ladder from Arnstein may be of help. The participation cube from Archon Fung is somewhat more complicated but more up to date. Or we can look for an answer ourselves.

– Is the proposed mini-public of significant influence on legislation? Answers may differ, but we have to make a decision.

The Oregon CIR system has a noticeable influence on legislative decision making (by referendum in this case). Providing information is a very important issue in any form of democratic legislation.

The Washington state panel that sets the wages of elected legislators has no influence on legislation.

The Irish panel is also not of direct significant influence on legislation. It makes non-binding suggestions to the elected body which decides to whether to initiate a referendum or not.

A Jury in the judicial system has no relation to legislative use.

For this reasons I suggest that the first code of good practice is about the lowest legislative level, the Oregon CIR (or alike).  Although the Oregon CIR is difficult to place at the Arnstein ladder I propose to qualify it at level 6 for the sake of comparing it with other initiatives.

81 Responses

  1. Thanks Paul,

    You note “The Oregon CIR system has a noticeable influence on legislative decision making”. I’m familiar with the way it works, but do you know any material seeking to document the extent to which it is influential on votes”. For instance the referendum on mandatory sentencing had around 70% approval before the citizen review which was hugely negative (21:3), but the proposal still got up in the referendum – with a majority from memory of 56-7% or so.

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  2. Paul, cash you flesh out the arnstein and fung references. I, for one, don’t know what arnstein level six is

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  3. Hi Nicholas, I read in some publications that there was some research about the influence of the CIR but I have not saved it.
    I assume that the only purpose of the CIR is to influence the outcome of referenda by providing a kind of information that is or was not available.
    The CIR is for me defensible as an improvement of the ‘neutral information’ provided to all citizens by the administration in some cases. Information for the people by the people.

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  4. Hi Keith, the Arnstein (ladder) and Fung (cube) are attempts to classify ‘participation’ events in democracy. It is only by evaluating the event that we are able to compare it with others. Without classification it is also impossible to advise how sortition could or should be used (Terry). Although the Arnstein ladder is from 1969 it is still used as a reference and well known (but there are a lot of other proposals, Hart, ..)https://www.participatorymethods.org/sites/participatorymethods.org/files/Arnstein%20ladder%201969.pdf . The ladder has the advantage that it is easy to visualise and to define thresholds in contrast with Archons ‘cube’ https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-Democracy-Cube-as-a-Framework-for-Guiding-for-Pablo-Ona/a049da66e8b8b44226211323993d6a3bd871bd7d/figure/0 who has a special category for mini-publics. Nevertheless I think that we, in time, have to develop our own ‘ladder’ but that is a whole other work with or without a reference to Arnstein. We can already try to evaluate the different uses of sortition (at this time) as pointed out by Dimitri Courant in https://www.academia.edu/37132101/Thinking_Sortition._Modes_of_selection_deliberative_frameworks_and_democratic_principles (missions page 11). As far as I understand Stochation can be placed at step 8 Arnstein. The use of sortition in the French military also seems to me a reference of good practice in that area. I haven’t tried to categorise it but is not near to ‘legislation’ so I leave this for later.

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  5. We start the “Code of good practice” at the hand of the criteria proposed by Keith :

    1 – Criteria for the acceptability of the allotment procedure

    2 – Selection pool

    3 – Voluntary or quasi-mandatory participation?

    4 – Size of the allotted sample

    5 – Length of service

    6 – Information and advocacy

    7 – Deliberative style and decision mechanism

    8- Ex-post corruptibility

    9 – Binding or advisory outcome?

    10 – So who should decide on how these criteria should be instituted?

    https://equalitybylot.com/2019/07/25/criteria-for-a-representative-citizens-assembly

    If necessary we change and rearrange the list.

    At the same time we can start to develop the ‘Kleroterians ladder for the use of sortition in politics* and the “glossary” ” if it seems appropriate.

    *politics is the activities involved in running a governmental entity or state. The “politics” definition may seem broad but this is because politics itself is broad. The origin of the word “politics” comes from Greek, and means “affairs of the city”

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  6. Paul,

    The only problem I see is the extension of the principles from democratic representation to politics in general. I think we agree that sortition has three potential benefits to politics:

    1) Prophylactic: Insulation of the political process from factionalism and corruption.

    2) Stochastic: Helping ensure that the decision-making body represents the whole citizen body “descriptively”.

    3) Epistemic: Increasing the cognitive diversity of decision makers in order to secure better outcomes.

    But can these three principles be linked by a ladder? 1) and 2) for example depend on opposing “lottery principles” — the negative, arational Blind Break in the former and the highly rational and (stochastically) determinate LLN in the latter. And the third principle has no inherent connection to sortition, as there are better ways of ensuring cognitive diversity.

    The trouble is that your ladder might be hijacked by snakes (as in the board game), intent on using sortition to camouflage their undemocratic projects. This, as we know, is already happening.

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  7. Keith, it is up to us here to propose what we think is possible or useful. We can always limit or expand our proposal. I only wanted to hold the options open because I proposed to work top down at the Arnstein ladder and I don’t know where we will land. It is maybe better to reverse the numbers of the Kleroterians sortition ladder at this stage.

    This way we have:

    1 – Decisive (stochation) – example : Multi body system TB
    2 – co-decisive – example : additional ‘chamber’
    3 – high influence on legislation – example : CIR

    This is the highest level of the ladder for the use of sortition at legislative level.

    We have to expect that “special interests” will want to influence or determine the outcome. The systems used must be robust. We also have to be careful not to hand over ‘democracy’ exclusively into the hands of specialists or specialised institutions or companies, be it government or private. It is not our intention to install a ‘Sortition technocracy’.

    Therefore we propose, at this level, as general rules: full detailed transparency of methods, a public bookkeeping (follow the money, who is funding and who is payed to do what) and avoiding as much as possible ‘sortition technocracy’.

    When special techniques are used in some applications they have to be explained in detail.
    For example : Mentioning that ” 10% of seats were reserved for socially vulnerable persons and groups who are hard to reach” is not acceptable at this level. If reduction of proportionality is appropriate a Penrose square-root system can be used (or another system) with official data.

    ….. it does seem reasonable to demand that an a priori rule be appropriate, on average, in the real world. At some point, the burden of proof has to be on the proposers of any rule to justify that it is empirically reasonable, in its general patterns if not in all details. *1

    We also have to consider in how far we can divert from the ‘image of society’ (Keith Sutherland) what is a cornerstone for the acceptance of sortition. We know that we can reduce significantly the definition of a digital picture without losing the image, but what if the image is reduced to some patches of the main colors, even not in proportion? Is this ‘an image of society’?

    along with the ‘democratic elements of sortition’: Equality, impartality, representativity and legitimacy (Dimitri Courant) .

    at the next lower level we have:

    4 – low level of influence on legislation – example : startup CIR / petition level initiatives

    5 – informative – example climate panels (hola big money interests? how do we catigorise ‘decisive participatory budgeting’ )

    *1 http://www.stat.columbia.edu/~gelman/research/published/gelmankatzbafumi.pdf

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  8. Paul,

    Dimitri and I are in agreement (we gave papers together on a sortition panel a couple of years ago) that at this stage we need to focus on the theoretical issues. The problem with going empirical before resolving these issues is that people will hijack buzzwords like equality, impartiality, representativity and legitimacy for their own projects in a misleading way. Brett Hennig gave a paper on the same panel which was received by the audience (of political scientists) with considerable scepticism but this doesn’t seem to have constrained the outreach efforts of the Sortition Foundation.

    >We know that we can reduce significantly the definition of a digital picture without losing the image, but what if the image is reduced to some patches of the main colors, even not in proportion? Is this ‘an image of society’?

    Certainly not (in a sense that has any meaning that would be comprehensible to a statistician). That’s why I would wish to distance the stochation model from the abuses of sortition by Red C Research and Marketing, newDemocracy and the Sortition Foundation.

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  9. Of course they will hijack terms, the best example we all know is ‘democracy’. The same thing is happening now with sortition.
    I heard a CEO of a company (ecological products) explain why he was a successful entrepreneur, he told that inducing ‘a wave’ is nearly impossible but a good businessman recognises a wave that is coming and uses it.
    That is what we ar seeing now. If we don’t react we loose an interesting instrument to “sortition technocrats”: polling institutes, social stratification specialists, companies specialised in political congresses, team building, and so on.
    Everyone using some kind of sortition in the political field at this moment claims to use a ‘representative sample’. In politics this is known (in Dutch) as a ‘container notion’. It can mean anything the reader or listener want to read or hear. Therefore the glossary is important.
    I was criticised for being critical for some (most in fact) sortition proposals without presenting a solution. I have to deliver to the best of my knowledge. I concentrate on level 3, the CIR and leave stochation out of the list.

    1 – Decisive – example : Multi body system TB
    2 – co-decisive – example : additional ‘chamber’
    3 – high influence on legislation – example : CIR

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  10. Paul:> Of course they will hijack terms, the best example we all know is ‘democracy’. The same thing is happening now with sortition.

    There’s no real parallel, in that there is an agreed definition as to what the concept “democracy” means (even if current (or any) practice falls a long way short of achieving it), whereas sortition is just a practice (drawing lots) that can be used in a wide variety of ways. So the first thing we need to do is introduce clarity into the theoretical concepts (I think there are at least three, as I mentioned above).

    >Everyone using some kind of sortition in the political field at this moment claims to use a ‘representative sample’. In politics this is known (in Dutch) as a ‘container notion’. It can mean anything the reader or listener want to read or hear.

    Yes indeed. The problem is that many of these people should know better, as they come from within the sortition movement. The statistician that I have spoken to most about sortition has argued that the minimum size of a sample to which the adjective “representative” can be meaningfully applied is 1,000 (which is also Dahl’s number), so it is an abuse of language for anyone to claim that a sample two orders of magnitude smaller is representative.

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  11. >So the first thing we need to do is introduce clarity into the theoretical concepts (I think there are at least three, as I mentioned above).

    Yes indeed but the problem is that I even don’t understand these theoretical concepts. I don’t know how much time I need to get an idea of what you are talking about. But let that not stop you. It depends probably on what public you are writing for.

    >The statistician that I have spoken to most about sortition has argued that the minimum size of a sample to which the adjective “representative” can be meaningfully applied is 1,000 (which is also Dahl’s number), so it is an abuse of language for anyone to claim that a sample two orders of magnitude smaller is representative.

    Yes indeed, I heard the same argument from a statistician (for a simple random sampling https://towardsdatascience.com/sampling-techniques-a4e34111d808 ).
    The only response I have is that it is easy these days to calculate error rate and confidence level automatically at the internet and by estimating the legislative / social / economic importance we can accept (I suppose) higher error rates. It is easy to see that once the number of 500 participants is reached the rates are only getting better very slow (maybe exponential?). There is also another aspect with the number of participants and that is the ‘wisdom of crowds’ you can’t claim in my opinion for an assemblee of 20 people (Landemore 2013, but I have to confess that Landemore is difficult to read for me). You have to add this argument when you propose the number of participants. Maybe we have to look for another word? I don’t know if we can classify representative appointment by sortition under a ‘representative system’ because, as an allotted person, you don’t have to ‘represent’ anyone apart from yourself. It is maybe more a ‘peer to peer’ system.

    (a bit modified) A ‘peer‘ is somebody of the same legal status as somebody else. A peer is also an individual who is equal to another person in age, qualifications, abilities, experiences and background. Therefore, the term ‘peer-to-peer’ means ‘equal-to-equal.’

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  12. Paul,

    The theoretical distinctions are straightforward — certainly accessible to any postgrad working in the field.

    >The only response I have [to the statistician’s claim] is that it is easy these days to calculate error rate and confidence level.

    The trouble is the people making these proposals aren’t even interested in doing the calculation. So far as they are concerned if the persons are chosen at random (corrected by a few crude stratification criteria) then it’s a “representative sample”.

    >Landemore is difficult to read for me.

    The problem with Helene’s book is that she has no interest at all in the (stochastic) wisdom of crowds, only cognitive diversity. In her prime example of cognitive diversity only three people were required (not a very big crowd!)

    >as an allotted person, you don’t have to ‘represent’ anyone apart from yourself

    Not so. The beauty of stochastic representation is that although you believe you are representing yourself, the LLN tells us that your views are largely (sociologically) determined (by your peers). So someone who thinks they are a trustee is in fact a delegate. This is very much like Edmund Burke’s justification of ‘virtual’ representation which occurs when

    there is a communion of interests, and a sympathy in feelings and desires, between those who act in the name of any description of people, and the people in whose name they act, though the trustees are not actually chosen by them . . . Such a representation I think to be, in many cases, even better than the actual. It possesses most of its advantages, and is free from many of its inconveniences; it corrects the irregularities in the literal representation, when the shifting current of human affairs, or the acting of public interests in different ways, carry it obliquely from its first line of direction. The people may err in their choice [of representatives], but common interest and common sentiment are rarely mistaken. (Edmund Burke, ‘A Letter to Hercules Langrishe MP’, my emphasis)

    Again this would be standard fair on any postgrad political theory course. BTW — I’m not a (professional) political theorist, just a semi-retired printer who has spent the last 15 years studying sortition. Anyone can do it, but you need to put the work in, whether at university or autodidactically.

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  13. Paul:> I don’t know if we can classify representative appointment by sortition under a ‘representative system’ because, as an allotted person, you don’t have to ‘represent’ anyone apart from yourself. It is maybe more a ‘peer to peer’ system.

    It’s very important that we do classify them as representatives and the secret is to switch the focus from the individual to the corporate body (as determined by its constituent groups, which represent the target population sociologically). Strictly speaking the term “descriptive representatives” only exists in plural form, which makes it somewhat unique! It’s the failure to clarify these basic theoretical issues that has created the mess that the sortition movement is currently in.

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  14. Keith I came across this, in case you don’t know it , or do you have additional information of this kind?
    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140708-when-crowd-wisdom-goes-wrong

    Flawed thinking

    Still, Surowiecki also pointed out that the crowd is far from infallible. He explained that one requirement for a good crowd judgement is that people’s decisions are independent of one another. If everyone let themselves be influenced by each other’s guesses, there’s more chance that the guesses will drift towards a misplaced bias. This undermining effect of social influence was demonstrated in 2011 by a team at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. They asked groups of participants to estimate certain quantities in geography or crime, about which none of them could be expected to have perfect knowledge but all could hazard a guess – the length of the Swiss-Italian border, for example, or the annual number of murders in Switzerland. The participants were offered modest financial rewards for good group guesses, to make sure they took the challenge seriously.

    The researchers found that, as the amount of information participants were given about each others guesses increased, the range of their guesses got narrower, and the centre of this range could drift further from the true value. In other words, the groups were tending towards a consensus, to the detriment of accuracy

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  15. Paul,

    The wisdom of crowds is derived from the Condorcet Jury Theorem (CJT) and Law of Large Numbers (LLN), and independence is an important precondition, and this can be demonstrated empirically.

    The other example the article mentions — the “diversity trumps ability” (Hong-Page) theorem — is nothing more than an priori logical truth based on “a contrived computer simulation that illustrates the well-known fact that random algorithms are often effective” (Thompson, 2014). The number of “agents” involved in the computer simulations (10-20) indicate that there is no connection with the CJT/LLN and the attempt to draw any real-world inference from Page’s work has been dismissed as an example of the misuse of mathematics in the social sciences (ibid.).

    Unfortunately the wisdom of crowds and cognitive diversity approaches have been jumbled up together and this has rendered most of the sortition literature incoherent. It’s also the reason that Surowiecki, at the end of his book, describes Fiskin’s attempt to harness the wisdom of crowds for political decision making as “Quixotic”.

    Helene Landemore is one of the only theorists to keep the two literatures separate, but in championing Hong-Page, she’s backed the wrong horse. I’m currently revising an article “Epistemic Democracy and the Wisdom of Crowds” for a journal submission which attempts to prise apart these two traditions.

    Ref
    ===

    Thompson, A. (2014). Does diversity trump ability? An example of the misuse of mathematics in the social sciences. Notices of the American Mathematical Society, 61(9), 1024-1030.

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  16. Keith and Paul,

    Keith frequently references ” The statistician that I have spoken to most about sortition has argued that the minimum size of a sample to which the adjective “representative” can be meaningfully applied is 1,000 …”
    This isn’t a valid notion. Random samples can be somewhat, somewhat more, or very representative… it’s not a binary thing. A larger sample size simply decreases the likelihood that any particular sample will deviate more than an acceptable amount from the population it is meant to represent. There is no magic threshold to achieve “representativeness.” The slope IS curved, however, so an optimal balance of representativeness, reappearance of rational ignorance, and cost can be suggested (and I think 1,000 is way too big to be optimal).

    Several key facts statisticians know… sample size barely needs to get larger at all to maintain nearly equal quality if the target population is 100,000 or 100,000,000. Also, while the difference in likely accuracy between samples of 100 and 500 is substantial, the difference between samples of 500 and 1,000 is pretty close to negligible.

    The question is simply how concerned do we need to be about the risk that a particular sample will fall outside what somebody considers an acceptable match to the population, We have had this discussion on this Blog before, with the reasonable solution of using smallish samples (more cost effective and maximal attention)… but if the final vote is quite close (let’s say 53% to 47%), a new LARGER sample is drawn to repeat the decision process. If the vote in the smallish sample had been 86% to 14%, on the other hand, it really makes no difference if your sample size was 100 or 5,000… the same decision would be made. (All of this is assuming Keith’s mute “weighing” deliberation – which I agree with for final policy votes).

    The above is all about stochation (statistical representation). The other uses of sortition have tremendous value for other democratic functions (like agenda setting or proposal revision), where diversity and active deliberation are essential, but a final decision on policy will be left to a separate panel.

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  17. Terry and Keith, I think it is important to list up the considerations about the size of the panel. Let’s suppose the sortition system is the “simple random sampling” from an official list of the whole population.

    We have general considerations
    – pool size
    – purpose and influence (legislative , socio-economic,..)

    Positive considerations for high participation (500 or more)
    – image of society (descriptive representation)
    – wisdom of crowds
    – inclusion
    – rotation
    – resistance to manipulation, coercion, corruption
    – trust (high calculable characteristics)

    Negative considerations for high participation
    – cost
    – manageable

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  18. Terry,

    Both Paul and myself are fully aware of the trade-off between sample size, error rate, confidence interval, rational ignorance and cost factors (indeed we have both attempted to quantity the relationship). Our concern is with the claim that groups of people one or two orders of magnitude smaller still constitute a “representative sample”. This is a mendacious abuse of language (in any sense other than the individuals selected are all human beings).

    >The other uses of sortition have tremendous value for other democratic functions (like agenda setting or proposal revision)

    Unfortunately you still haven’t identified the democratic principle that legitimises this use of sortition. “Equal chance” is a key topic in normative theory, but I’m not aware of it being adopted by democratic theorists as a significant principle in their sub-domain.

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  19. Paul,
    By the words “high participation” in your last post I assume you are referring to the size, not rate of acceptance. One additional NEGATIVE factor is the tendency as size increases for members to be less attentive and succumb to “rational ignorance.” I’m not sure the best term to describe this negative… it could be termed “cognitive free riding,” or as 17th -18th Century philosopher Jeremy Bentham called it a decline of “active aptitude.”

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  20. Paul,

    Sutherland’s repeated assertions about the need for an allotted body to have at least 1000 members in order to be representative is one of those frequent cases where it is unclear whether Sutherland is being ridiculously and pompously stupid or deliberately and shamelessly deceptive. (The fact that he attributes this claim to “a statistician” is neither here nor there. Sutherland regularly falsely attributes his own claims to others in an attempt to lend credence to his nonsense/lies.)

    As Terry notes, the statement is not so much false as it is meaningless. If a different person would be making such a statement I would ask for clarifications or explications in an attempt to make sense of this statement. With Sutherland, however, such an attempt would lead nowhere except more nonsense/lies, so I don’t bother.

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  21. Paul,

    Your list of considerations against a large body lacks the most important one: the inevitable formation of oligarchies within large groups. After all, if it were not for this dynamic, why have a decision making body at all? Why not have the entire population make decisions?

    If the problem with that is simply a matter of cost, then at least all important decisions could be taken with a plebiscite. To some extent this is what the “popular initiative” method used in Switzerland and in California tries to do. Obviously, it does not generate democratic outcomes. The elite dominates both the agenda and the discourse around the “popular initiative” proposals. This results in elite dominated (i.e., anti-democratic) outcomes.

    A body that is too large is not self-representative. That is, its own members are not politically equal. Self-representativity of the decision making body is a prerequisite for the body to be democratic (meaning that it has to represent the entire population).

    For more see here.

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  22. Yoram,

    I can only refer you to my earlier response to Terry (though I doubt you will bother to read it): https://equalitybylot.com/2019/08/07/code-of-good-practice-for-allotted-mini-publics-involved-with-legislation/#comment-27660 John Garry may well be nodding his head to Dahl’s call for a mini-public to be “perhaps 1,000 citizens randomly selected out of the entire demos”, but it’s two orders of magnitude larger than the “representative” sortition-based groups mentioned recently on this forum.

    >Self-representativity of the decision making body is a prerequisite for the body to be democratic (meaning that it has to represent the entire population).

    Hopefully one day you will remind us of the syllogistic foundation of this claim (and also your reason for rejecting the rational ignorance principle), but I would point out that, in the compressed version provided here, the self-representation of a tiny group of persons has no obvious connection to the representation of the entire population. My focus is, as always, on the plight of the vast majority of citizens disenfranchised by your aleatory coup.

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  23. Terry

    Apart from Yoram, we all believe in the concept of rational ignorance. In 1950, Gabriel Almond drew attention to the need for an “attentive public” and the inevitability of rational ignorance in large-scale democracy was theorised by Anthony Downs in 1957. Rational ignorance is so obviously true that nobody bothers even to theorise it any more, though hopefully the new interest in sortition will lead to research into the maximum size of a decision-group prior to the onset of rational ignorance.

    Refs
    ====

    Almond, Gabriel A. (1950), The American People and Foreign Policy. NY: Harcourt Brace.

    Downs, A. (1957). An Economic Theory of Democracy. NY: Harper.

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  24. I think that the Iron law of Michels is about “organisations”. And indeed we have to avoid that the allotted Jury becomes an “organisation”. This is one of the reasons long term mandates are excluded. As far as rational ignorance is concerned I don’t have any documentation on that subject but I had some experience. In our proposals we have therefore only retained one important part of the deliberation, namely the stimulation and facilitation to ‘summarize’ the received information by the members of the jury themselves. This proposal is between “deliberation” (very complex and vulnerable) and the mute proposal (the most robust system).

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  25. Code of Good Practice for allotted mini-publics involved with legislation

    Working text
    edition 2019 08 12

    Introduction: As the use of mini-publics appointed by sortition are spreading around the world, and are reaching the legislative level, a code of good practice  is essential. Also a glossary is necessary.

    We know that all criteria can’t always be reached but we have to know at least what to aim for or how to refute well-founded criticism and protect a valuable democratic instrument. Citizens must know that there are essential choices to make that are of significant influence on the outcome or on the reliability of the results.

    The first question we have to ask ourselves is what the kind of application it is we have at hand. The participation ladder from Arnstein may be of help, the participation cube from Archon Fung is somewhat more complicated but more up to date. Or we can look for an answer ourselves. That is what we will do.

    What is the influence on legislation of the proposed mini-public ?

    The answer is probably different for everyone but we have to make a decision.

    Some examples:
    – The Oregon CIR system has a noticeable influence on legislative decision making (by referendum in this case), anyway it is his only purpose. Providing information is a very important issue in any form of democratic legislation. Even more when it claims to be “information by the citizens for the citizens”.
    – The mixed panel in Washington DC that decides about the wages of elected legislators has no influence on legislation.
    – The Irish mixed panel is not of direct significant influence on legislation, it makes not binding suggestions to the elected body who decides to initiate a referendum or not.
    – A Jury in the judicial system has no relation with the legislative use.

    Of course the same evaluation can be made for the use of socio-economic panels and the same “Code of Good Practice” can be implemented.
    An example is the use of an allotted panel for “participatory budgeting”. Another approach, maybe more suitable in this case, might be to ask in how far we can expect that “special interests” will try to influence or determine the outcome of the panel.

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  26. Code of Good Practice for allotted mini-publics involved with legislation

    Working text
    edition 2019 08 12

    Table 1

    1 – Citizens decision

    -Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of Week ends)
    -High rotation
    -Obligatory participation (civic duty)
    -Panel size 800/1000
    -Simple Random Sampling from official database
    -No “deliberation”
    -Transparency in finances and methods

    2 – Co-decision

    -Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of Week ends)
    -High rotation
    -Obligatory participation (civic duty)
    -Panel size 500/800
    -Simple Random Sampling from official database
    -No “deliberation”
    -Transparency in finances and methods

    3 – High influence

    -Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of Week ends)
    -High rotation
    -Obligatory participation (civic duty)
    -Panel size 500
    -Simple Random Sampling from official database / Stratified Sampling from official database
    -No “deliberation”
    -Transparency in finances and methods

    4 – Low influence

    -Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of Week ends)
    -High rotation
    -Voluntary participation (stimulated / supported)
    -Panel size 100 / 200
    -Stratified Sampling from official database / Calculated proportionality / Arbitrary adaption
    -Transparency in finances and methods

    All levels and criteria are explained in next sections.

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  27. Comment by Paul Nollen:

    You can see that from 100 to 200 participants (sample size) the difference is about 2.8 while the difference in error rate from 200 to 300 participants is 1.2 while once reached 700/800 there is little or no difference (only confidence level will rise)

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  28. *** The title « Code of Good Practice for allotted mini-publics involved with legislation » should be « Code of Good Practice for allotted mini-publics involved with policy choices and legislation ». In modern dynamic societies, usually the policy choice comes first, and afterwards the deciding body must establish the corresponding regulations. And some policies do not imply general rules (laws), specially in foreign policy.
    *** It is right to distinguish judicial functions. But the mini-public idea may be used too in the judicial area, only the problems are partly different.

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  29. André, we take your suggestion with us and we will see how things develop. We already mentioned ‘policy” more or less in a previous posting. https://equalitybylot.com/2019/08/07/code-of-good-practice-for-allotted-mini-publics-involved-with-legislation/#comment-27635 I will post the whole working document on academia with remarks suggestions and so on in order to keep track.

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  30. Yoram:> You can see that from 100 to 200 participants (sample size) the difference is about 2.8 while the difference in error rate from 200 to 300 participants is 1.2 while once reached 700/800 there is little or no difference (only confidence level will rise).

    That certainly rules out randomly-sampled two-digit groups as of any relevance to representative democracy, notwithstanding the rhetoric of the Sortition Foundation and newDemocracy. I’m still waiting to hear what value they do have, even in the absence of any kind of democratic mandate (no-one chose them and they fail the descriptive representativity test). The epistemic case for random selection (as opposed to cognitive diversity per se) has still to be made and the prophylactic argument only applies ex ante.

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  31. *** Keith Sutherland said to Terry Bouricius : (August 11, 2019, 9 :03 am) « Unfortunately you still haven’t identified the democratic principle that legitimises this use of sortition. “Equal chance” is a key topic in normative theory, but I’m not aware of it being adopted by democratic theorists as a significant principle in their sub-domain. »
    *** I can quote, again, the first democrat theorist whose text we have (Protagoras’ books are lost), Theseus in Euripides’ Suppliant Women. Athens is called a « free » City, because it is ruled by its citizens, the Athenian People, and « the People rules by turns through annual successions » [the People (dêmos) rules through rotations, it implies that the successive parts of dêmos exercizing power are « representative » of the whole, otherwise the governing of the City would be chaotic]. The equal chance of being allotted is a political equality, it is the equal power of citizens when exercizing sovereignty, i.e. the collective liberty. It is not the individualistic chance of winning a lottery, it is not described like that by Theseus, nor by any democrat orator I remember.

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  32. Andre,

    I’ve frequently acknowledged rotation — whereby the people rules by turns in annual successions — as the key principle of Athenian democracy. In Athens, if you wanted to participate in the sortition for the council or other magistracies or the jury pool (and there was strong normative pressure on all citizens to participate), there was a high probability your wish would come true at least once in your lifetime. But the rotation principle has no relevance to large modern states, where the chance of being selected is in line with winning the national lottery (i.e. you’re more likely to be struck by lightning).

    As for the consideration of equal chance per se, this is the mechanism underlying the lottery and is true irrespective of the reason the lottery is being used (blind break, invisible hand or whatever). I repeat my challenge to Terry (or anybody else) to provide an example — ancient or modern — of equal chance as a democratic principle (end in itself) as opposed to just the means to attain another normative goal. Note also that equal chance and equal opportunity (as valorised in Pericles’ Funeral Oration) are entirely different normative principles.

    Until someone can provide this evidence then small allotted committees have no democratic legitimacy (and the argument for their epistemic merits conflates cognitive diversity and random selection).

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  33. *** Keith Sutherland said «I think we agree that sortition has three potential benefits to politics:
    1) Prophylactic: Insulation of the political process from factionalism and corruption.
    2) Stochastic: Helping ensure that the decision-making body represents the whole citizen body “descriptively”.
    3) Epistemic: Increasing the cognitive diversity of decision makers in order to secure better outcomes. »
    *** The second “benefit” is only a benefit for those who support the democratic idea. Many people are against sortition precisely because the decision-making body mirrors the civic body, instead of being “better”.
    *** Keith adds « the third principle has no inherent connection to sortition, as there are better ways of ensuring cognitive diversity. » But we must consider the third principle with the first principle in mind : they are better ways than sortition of ensuring cognitive diversity, but these intelligent « selective » ways are impossible to insulate from bias and maneuvers. Sortition ensures cognitive diversity by a process maybe less efficient than some intelligent ones, but protected by the other, prophylactic, character of sortition.

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  34. Andre:> there are better ways than sortition of ensuring cognitive diversity, but these intelligent « selective » ways are impossible to insulate from bias and maneuvers.

    Yes that’s true, and if it were the case that democratic policy generation were to be derogated to a cognitively-diverse group of citizens then sortition would be an appropriate selection mechanism. But I don’t think there is either an epistemic or democratic reason to support such a proposal — I’ve attacked Landemore’s epistemic arguments in a new paper (under review) and (absent the argument for equal chance as a democratic principle) Terry’s policy juries are democratically illegitimate. My own preference is for a variant of election (based on a modified party principle), but we need to await Alex’s book to see how that would shape up.

    PS if it were really the case that diversity had significant epistemic benefits then it would have already been widely instituted in the commercial sector without the need for PC targets and quotas for the inclusion of under-represented population categories (and dodgy computer simulations “proving” that diversity trumps ability). Corporations will jump at the chance of anything that will improve their competitive performance, especially as the prime responsibility of directors and executives is to increase shareholder value.

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  35. *** Keith Sutherland says : « that equal chance and equal opportunity (as valorised in Pericles’ Funeral Oration) are entirely different normative principles. »
    *** Theseus’ discourse includes two kinds of equality : there is political equality in the deciding power, including what we can say « equal chance in political lottery » – but, as I said, this individualist wording is not Theseus’ one ; and the equal right to speak, which is a kind of equal opportunity, as the smart and clever minds will have more influence : it is implicit in Theseus’ sentence « he who has a good idea for the city will gain praise. The others are free to stay silent. »
    *** Equal opportunity is actually much valorised in Pericles’ Funeral Oration, which omits the sortition idea. But it is an oration written by Thucydides, admirer of Pericles but not of democracy. Thus we may be wary of a bias, concentrating on the equal opportunity side, more pleasant for an elitist point of view.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Andre,

    Hansen claims that isonomia and isegoria are the principal norms underlying Athenian democracy and Thucydides tells us how they valued equal opportunity. What’s equal chance in Greek? (google translate give us íses pithanótites). It doesn’t appear in Hansen’s glossary and I don’t see any mention of it in the literature on demokratia. Is it not a modern idea (dependent on the notion of mathematical proportionality)? It certainly has no intrinsic connection to demokratia.

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  37. PS, who was the presiding deity — Tyche? This would suggest that to the Greeks chance was arbitrary and the notion of equal chance oxymoronic.

    Tyche, the blind mistress of Fortune, governed mankind with an inconstancy which explained the vicissitudes of the time.(Stylianos Spyridacis).

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  38. Three responses to Keith:
    1. Keith wrote: >”Apart from Yoram, we all believe in the concept of rational ignorance.”
    I don’t think Yoram disputes the existence of rational ignorance… he simply thinks it pales to irrelevance compared to the problem of elite domination. The problem that elite elected legislators will make decisions that are objectively bad for the public because they fear the ill-informed public wants those bad policies and will put them out of office if they refuse… he thinks is trivial or silly. (Yoram, am I correct in my interpretation of your view.)

    2. Keith wrote: >”Note also that equal chance and equal opportunity (as valorised in Pericles’ Funeral Oration) are entirely different normative principles.”
    I don’t get this… I consider them synonyms. Okay so any where I wrote “equal chance, just substitute “equal opportunity.”

    3. Keith wrote: >” if it were really the case that diversity had significant epistemic benefits then it would have already been widely instituted in the commercial sector…”
    The epistemic value of diversity is a testable hypothesis, that the bulk of evidence so far confirms. As for corporate behavior…While several studies have indicated that corporations with many women on their boards, on the whole, perform better than corporations with all male boards, this is not proof, since these boards were not randomly assigned to have many or no women (correlation is not proof of causation). However, the correlation should be enough to prompt most boards to copy this, but they don’t because of power relationships among elites. Powerful people tend to promote people like themselves (what schools they went to, race, gender, etc.). As economic behaviorists has shown, people (including corporate board members) are very bad at making rational, balanced cost benefit analyses, and instead behave according to numerous cognitive biases.

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  39. Terry,

    1. I agree that Yoram has retained the classic Marxist focus on power relations. Whether this amounts to denying or de-emphasising epistemic factors is a moot point, but it works out the same in practice. I’m surprised you think the pandering issue is trivial/silly (or is this your assessment of Yoram’s view?) as it’s been a key topic in political science research for a long time.

    2. Equal chance is the lottery mechanism whereas equal opportunity is synonymous with meritocracy, so they have nothing in common. “Pericles’ Funeral Oration” is a paean to equal opportunity (meritocracy) via competitive election and doesn’t even mention sortition. As André has reminded us the author (Thucydides) was no democrat, so I’m surprised that you are going down this route. To repeat: Athenian democracy involved a combination of isegoria and isonomia, equal chance didn’t come into it and equal opportunity was a characteristic of the Age of Pericles.

    3. My undergraduate degree was in sociology, so I’m well aware of the corrupting influence of elite power relationships, old-school-tie networks and cognitive biases. But, like most theorists of your political background, you underplay the role of competitive pressure in optimising corporate outcomes. If there was good evidence that cognitive diversity led to improved shareholder value then boardrooms would already look very different.

    4. We are still awaiting to hear from you what democratic principle legitimises small randomly-selected groups in large modern states. If it is in fact equal opportunity (meritocracy) then the only difference between elected and allotted persons is that the former depend on the judgment of their peers, whereas voluntary sortition leads to the empowerment of those who are convinced of their own merit.

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  40. Equal chance to serve on a mini-public is a manifestation of political equality. In a democracy no citizen has a built-in advantage over another citizen due to wealth, family, or powerful connections. If a mini-public is going to be involved in governmental functions (as in Athens), then any citizen who wishes must have an equal chance. In Athens most of the use of sortition was NOT stochastic (statistical representation), but rather anti-corruption, anti-faction protection against mis-rule, combined with political equality (equal chance)… typically in small panels of just ten citizens. This equal chance was a cornerstone of democracy in the Classical Greek world. Some citizens ended up serving as magistrates, and others never did… but they all had an equal chance, and that was the democratic principle Athenians held so dear.

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  41. Comment by Paul Nollen:

    We know that the error rate CAN be better with stratification. Even if we assume the error rate IS better there is still the question how much.

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  42. Terry,

    I’m sorry to keep repeating myself, but the principle underlying Athenian democracy (rotation) is of no relevance to large modern states. Any citizen who so desired had a high probability of possessing genuine political power for a limited amount of time, but in large modern states you don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

    >Some citizens ended up serving as magistrates, and others never did… but they all had an equal chance, and that was the democratic principle Athenians held so dear.

    My understanding is that equal freedom (isonomia and isegoria) was held dear. You have yet to provide us with any sort of evidence that equal chance was a fundamental norm. Tyche was the goddess of chance, but there is no suggestion that she was even-handed in her rule (see earlier citation).

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  43. Keith,
    You refuse to have an open mind on this point. Rotation cannot be viewed as a fundamental principle of democracy… political equality is. Rotation can occur without political equality or democracy. You could rotate office holders among an elite, or from six of the ten tribes, or among residents of particular demes…. this would achieve ROTATION, but not political equality. Rotation was the net effect of using sortition in a frame of political equality…having equal chance and short terms results in rotation. Since not all citizens took a turn in office, harping on the “rule and be ruled in turn” as if it was all about rotation without regards to political equality of chance is nonsensical. This equal chance principle of Athenian democracy can be applied in any size demos. Athens was already way too big to assure every citizen got a turn to serve in office, so some “rotation principle” was obviously not the key principle. rotation was a tool or the result of other principles.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Terry,

    > Yoram, am I correct in my interpretation of your view.

    Of course you are. Of course, your correction does not and will not stop Sutherland from misrepresenting my views (and those of others). Being careless with the truth seems to be an unshakable habit of his bred of many years of practice.

    > Keith, You refuse to have an open mind on this point.

    Your kindness toward Sutherland borders on the saintly.

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  45. The first pages of the Code are published in draft on academia. https://www.academia.edu/40089037/Code_of_Good_Practice_for_allotted_mini-publics_involved_with_legislation Also improvements in language are greatly appreciated. Small changed are not discussed here previously in an attempt not to overload the blog but we can always start a discussion about every detail.

    We have now:

    page 3

    Evaluation criteria

    – General evaluation criteria:

    – Criteria for the acceptability of the allotment procedure
    – Selection pool
    – Voluntary or quasi-mandatory participation?
    – Size of the allotted sample
    – Length of service
    – Information and advocacy
    – Deliberative style and decision mechanism
    – Ex-post corruptibility (manipulation, corruption and coercion, being recruited / job seeking, business opportunities and networking)
    – Binding or advisory outcome?
    – So who should decide on how these criteria should be instituted?

    As suggested on the Kleroterians blog https://equalitybylot.com/2019/08/07/code-of-good-practice-for-allotted-mini-publics-involved-with-legislation/ by Keith Sutherland.

    – Advantages of a panel appointed by sortiton compared with the electoral system

    No group pressure, no voting behavior based on strategies or agreements made in advance, no political haggling, no favors for friends (revolving door, no fear of retaliation or loss of an electable position on the voting list in the next elections

    – Specific values for sortiton

    The four democratic values: “equality, impartiality, representativeness and legitimacy” as suggested by Dimitri Courant in “Thinking Sortition” (*1 – p16).

    Page 4:
    Evaluation of the Code of Good Practice:

    Level 1 – Citizens decision

    At this level we need a robust system from the start. Manipulation is very difficult to detect, even more difficult to prove and if damage is done in most cases it will be beyond repair. We can reasonably assume that the influences of powerful interests who control today’s political system will not disappear if a system of representation by sortition is implemented. We have to expect that these influences will reorient themselves to maintain the ability to influence decisions. At this level we need to put the highest standards in place.

    Let us remind that in a democratic system the system by which legislation is developed has to be such that legislation is accepted by anyone and especially by those who disagree.

    Citizens decision – Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of weekends)

    The term of the appointment has a lot of implications who has to be considered carefully.
    In a first step we are evaluating this level with the four democratic values “equality, impartiality, representativeness and legitimacy” as suggested by Dimitri Courant in “Thinking Sortition” (*1 – p16).
    Equality: It is obvious that the longer the proposed or estimated term the more people are excluded. And this while we expect a high response rate because the panel or assembly has the right to decide and needs representativeness and legitimacy. Therefore a short term favors equality, representativeness and legitimacy.
    An activity of short duration has several advantages. The pros and cons of longer periods of time will have to be compared. (Short = a day or a couple of days or week-ends)
    – Short periods of time lead to a faster rotation and thus a greater participation (*1 p12).
    – Short duration also facilitates the return to ‘normal life’ (*1 p12) and avoids ex-post corruptibility. It seems necessary to put in place a protective legislation similar to the Jury in the judicial context.
    – Long periods of time lead to higher probability of manipulation corruption and coercion. The chances that the advantages of sortition can be maintained are reducing daily.
    – Long periods of time discriminate participants who cannot afford a long absence, or do not want to do so.
    – Long periods of time may have a higher professionalism as a result, but it has to be considered whether this is an advantage or disadvantage. Higher professionalism means that the panel differs from an “image of society”. The risk of a ‘new elite’ increases.

    Single subject: the choice for a single subject goes together with the short term : for example a proposition by an agenda jury, a petition from citizens or a proposal from a political institution.

    (*1) – https://www.academia.edu/37132101/Thinking_Sortition._Modes_of_selection_deliberative_frameworks_and_democratic_principles

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  46. new draft on academia at https://www.academia.edu/40096327/Code_of_Good_Practice_for_allotted_mini-publics_involved_with_legislation
    Changes and additions of the previous edition are in Italic.

    Citizens decision – High rotation

    High rotation can be seen as equality in burden or equality as a right. Govern and be govern. It enhances acceptability of legislation and refutes the ‘new elite’ argument. It results from short term mandates and high sample sizes. When there are a lot of short time citizens Jury’s and assemblies appointed by sortition on several levels of society with a wide variety of powers and competences, one might expect that everybody will have his/her fair share, maybe even a couple of times in a lifetime.

    Citizens decision – Obligatory participation (civic duty)

    Those who volunteer, or self-select themselves to be candidates, to be candidates are seeing themselves as competent, even though they may not be, their self-confidence might be arrogance. By contrast, persons perceiving themselves as unworthy of running might possess citizen’s principal quality, according to Aristotle, caution (*1 – p10 – p 14§1 – p 15§3). Voluntary participation contradicts the demand of ‘representativeness’ (*5), since the panel is no longer an ‘image of society’. If the system is not regarded as ‘representatif’ it becomes difficult to defend it as ‘legitimate’ in any way.
    In case a system in which everyone is asked to participate is implemented, but people are allowed to refuse (which is virtually impossible to avoid), we get nevertheless a kind of ‘voluntary’ participation at the end of the selection process. It then is important that an independent team who guides the procedure visits those who refuse to participate and motivates them to take part in the sampling. This team can also take care that various measures that encourage participation (fee, assistance, ..) are provided.
    If however a citizen still refuses to participate after this selection process, this does not seem to effect the representativeness in an unacceptable way.
    (*1) – Dimitri Courant https://www.academia.edu/37132101/Thinking_Sortition._Modes_of_selection_deliberative_frameworks_and_democratic_principles
    (*5) – Hubertus Buchstein – Repräsentative, partizipatorische und aleatorische Demokratie

    Citizens decision – Panel size 800/1000

    Experiments with sortition vary from a jury of 12 citizens (Testart) and 10.000 citizens (Paris COP 21).
    The system of sortition is based on the statistical fact that a random sample, which was carried out in a reliable way, gives a realistic overview of the whole population. As a result, decisions made by this group are representative for the whole population.
    The panel size will determine the margin of error, the reliability and representativeness of the panel appointed by sortition.
    It may be possible in other applications that we don’t pursue descriptive representativeness for a particular reason (e.g. G1000
    Belgium: maximum diversity instead of representativeness) or limited and stratified representativeness (e.g. Oregon Citizen Initiative Review: geographically and demographically representative).

    At this legislative level we demand descriptive representativeness, the panel of citizens appointed by sortition has to be “a true image of society” as a whole. This also contributes to legitimacy and is a key factor for rotation.

    A large number of participants will be less susceptible to manipulation, coercion and corrupt ion and will also increase the likelihood that efforts in that direction will be reported more quickly.

    Nevertheless we have to stay within the achievable rotation- and participation possibilities.

    An increase of population above 30.000 citizens has nearly no influence on the calculations. Although the sample size has not much influence on the error rate once above 500 participants, the confidence level rises towards 99% with 1000 participants.

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  47. Terry,

    I agree that political equality is the fundamental principle underlying democracies both ancient (small-) and modern (large-scale), and that in the former case political equality was realised via rotation.

    >Athens was already way too big to assure every citizen got a turn to serve in office, so some “rotation principle” was obviously not the key principle. rotation was a tool or the result of other principles.

    That contradicts the written statements that we have from the time and you have provided no evidence (despite my repeated requests) to support your view that the Athenians viewed equal chance as the fundamental democratic principle.

    Paul,

    Many thanks for the Courant and Buchstein references.

    >When there are a lot of short time citizens Jury’s and assemblies appointed by sortition on several levels of society with a wide variety of powers and competences, one might expect that everybody will have his/her fair share, maybe even a couple of times in a lifetime.

    That suggests that service on the Brexit citizens’ assembly is on a par with a panel deciding local parking arrangements.

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  48. About the use of “political chance”, “political opportunity”, Tychê.
    ***« Equal chance » was no part of of political vocabulary in classical Greece, because this civilization was mentally unable to reason about chance. Actually I do not know of scientific reasoning about chance in any civilization before the classical Western one (17th century), but maybe the Greeks were specially reluctant.
    *** Tychê, the goddess of Fortune, not central in classical Greek religion, may be alluded to by Plato about political lot, in Laws 690c, but Plato was an arch-foe of democracy and it is an aggressive jibe. Tychê as an ordinary word for chance is mentioned about political lot, and against it, by Isocrates (Areopagiticus, §23), not a true democrat, but without religious overtone ; it looks like some modern anti-sortition discourses, exaggerating the risks of randomness.
    *** When Plato writes in a serious tone (Laws 757b-c), political lot is read as political equality – the « arithmetic » social equality, which is the bad equality, because it does not take into account the quality (aretê) and the culture (paideia), as does the « proportional equality ».
    *** The equal opportunity idea in Athenian politics, as valorised in Pericles’ Funeral Oration, relates to the politically committed citizens, those who speak publicly, with moral accountability, and even penal accountability when proposing decrees or law, but likewise with the hope to get fame and honor (including official honor with golden crowns). Participation into allotted bodies, however voluntary, was more read as a civic duty : Socrates in his trial says his internal voice held him back from engaging in politics (Apology 31d), but in 32b reminds the jurors his virtuous behavior against illegal process when he was a member of the Council and prytanis – allotted functions ; it was an ordinary citizen role, not a committed politician role.
    *** The actual French power is lessening strongly the role of jurors in penal justice. I am against it, but that does not mean I would say I am asking for « equal chance » or « equal opportunity » to become criminal judge. Actually, I would dislike the event, but if allotted I would submit, as civic duty.
    *** So let’s speak of « equal participation » for ordinary citizens.

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  49. Andre,

    That confirms my understanding of Athenian democracy. I’m glad to hear that participation in allotted bodies was viewed as a civic duty — on a par with military service?

    >So let’s speak of « equal participation » for ordinary citizens.

    In it’s modern (representative) incarnation we all agree how that can be achieved wrt isonomia (large, statistically representative decision juries), the problem is how it might be possible to establish representative isegoria. Alex has just sent me the first draft of his forthcoming book on the subject (which will be freely available to download on our Sortition and Public Policy website), http://books.imprint.co.uk/collection/?collection_id=3

    but it may require a few iterations before it is uploaded.

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  50. >When there are a lot of short time citizens Jury’s and assemblies appointed by sortition on several levels of society with a wide variety of powers and competences, one might expect that everybody will have his/her fair share, maybe even a couple of times in a lifetime.

    Keith: That suggests that service on the Brexit citizens’ assembly is on a par with a panel deciding local parking arrangements.

    At par what concerns time to spend ,maybe the local parking is even more time consuming. Maybe this is better (or any suggestion?):

    When there are a lot of short time citizens Jury’s and assemblies appointed by sortition on several levels of society with a wide variety of powers and competences, one might expect that everybody will be asked to participate at different levels, maybe even a couple of times in a lifetime. However small the chance may be, serving twice at legislative levels, and certainly within the same decade, has to be avoided.

    Liked by 1 person

  51. Paul,

    The focus on the participation of individuals in large modern states is misguided. If we are to going to take the representative principle seriously this has to apply to all aspects of the political process, so we should give up on rotation or any other of the characteristics of ancient democracies. Of course this doesn’t preclude taking steps to ensure that individual jurors do not serve more than once or twice in the lifetime (as is the case with trial juries).

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  52. *** Paul Nollen says : « However small the chance may be, serving twice at legislative levels, and certainly within the same decade, has to be avoided ».
    *** It is not a big practical issue, but I disagree on principle, at least for bodies exercizing popular sovereignty. Any citizen at any moment must be assigned the same probability of being chosen for a mini-populus. The mini-populus must be an exact mirror of the civic body, included the veterans of mini-populus (and the politicians, and the public servants, and the military persons, and the priests, and the former criminals or any class which some would exclude, for any reason, even sensible reason). An exact mirror. The same probability of being chosen.

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  53. > Keith, I think rotation can be an issue. Rotation might not be a target on his own, it has side effects who can be positive or negative who reflect on everybody. When we are talking about the highest legislative level this can be at state or nation level but also at international level. And it is at state level that problems can occur if the state is a very small one. Even when we leave the very small ones aside, Malta (smallest EU country) has only a bit more then 460.000 inhabitants (Iceland even less).
    > André: very good point, I don’t know how to solve this one. I think at this moment I take it with me together with the “pool” choice between the “official electoral list” and the “official population list”.

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  54. Perhaps the word “chance” is the reason we are talking past each other. If we all agree that the principle of political equality is key for democracy, when sortition is being used, this is instantiated (realized) by ensuring we all have an equal chance of being drawn. This is not a PERSONAL chance (like winning the lottery)… but a community chance… the point is not that YOU have an equal chance, but that we ALL have an equal chance, and nobody has a built-in advantage (getting the inside track for being drawn).

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  55. Terry,

    I think that’s absolutely right. And the shift of focus to the community would suggest that every person whose name is drawn would be required to serve, otherwise they are corrupting the lottery principle.

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  56. PS Community chance suggests that it is the community (rather than individuals) who are the winners of the lottery. If there were a single community (demos) in which everyone shared the same interests, beliefs and preferences then it wouldn’t matter which individuals, or how many of them, were selected. This is clearly not the case with large, deeply-divided multicultural states, so in addition to the obligation on each person chosen to perform their allotted community service, considerations of sample size, length of service and balancing of speech acts (from a perlocutionary perspective) apply. To my mind this would deprive small policy juries of the democratic mandate offered by community chance.

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  57. Citizens decision – Simple Random Sampling from official database

    Simple Random Sampling

    Simple random sampling (SRS) is the basic sampling technique where we select a group of subjects (a sample) for study from a larger group (a population). Each individual is chosen entirely by chance and each member of the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample. Every possible sample of a given size has the same chance of selection.
    (Definition taken from Valerie J. Easton and John H. McColl’s Statistics Glossary v1.1)

    The best known example of SRS is the lotto with the mechanical drum.

    The advantages of not dividing the population in sub-groups or strata is
    – nobody decides which subgroup is important enough and which subgroups are taken and which are not.
    – we avoid the fault lines in the population sometimes amplified, or even created, by the electoral representative system for electoral gain.

    Only official databases can be used, for example the official electoral list, as is the case in some trial Jury’s (in Belgium with some additional requirements), or the official residents list.

    The determination of the pool (electoral list, resident list, additional rules) is as well a theoretical discussion as a practical one.
    We notice here:
    – in a democracy it is recommended that all those affected by a legislation have the right to be part of the legislative body.
    – in a sortition instrument equal chance and mirror of society are cornerstones
    – ruling out certain citizens because they have already served in a legislative Jury, or any other reason, may induce theoretical (violating equal chance, mirror of society) as well as practical problems (high participation rate/high panel size/high rotation and a small population)

    Any a priori rule has to be appropriate, on average, in the real world. The burden of proof has to be on the proposers of any rule to justify that it is empirically reasonable, in its general patterns and in all details.

    If it is nevertheless necessary to divide the population in strata only official data can be used. This does not mean that all official data can be used. Age, gender and area of official residence are acceptable for a stratification. For example, taxable income isn’t (any more).

    If a proportional correction is needed, for example at the European Union level in order to have a not proportional representation (the big nations are far to big compared with the small ones), a mathematical system can be used. For example the square-root (Penrose) system or something comparable.

    If stratification is used a SRS can be performed in the whole population to fill the strata or the SRS can be done in the different strata.
    Also a multi stage SRS can be performed if necessary. A possible application is proposed by David Owen and Graham Smith (*6) ,
    in a first draw 6000 citizens are selected to receive a training (In time this can be taken over, at least partially, by the education system). From this pool of 6000 the Jury is selected by a second SRS.

    The use of polling institutions or private companies in order to perform the drawings, stratifications or calculations are to be avoided. Although for those highly specialised and competent companies and institutions, who are often working in a very competitive political/economical/financial environment with conflicting interests, maintaining neutrality and professionalism is of vital importance, even unproven accusations from a third party can cause the hole Jury effort worthless (however some manipulations in the appointment of a Jury are proven, 7 of a Jury of 33 were appointed irregularly in Ireland).
    Furthermore we have to avoid that democracy got irreversibly into the hands of specialists we can’t evaluate or control. This has the risk that those companies and institution are taking over the position of the political parties in the electoral representative system (particracy) and the evolution towards a sortition technocracy.
    In the case that working with those institutions/companies is unavoidable an evaluation, rotation/splitting, and control system has to be put in place.

    Because of his high reliability and robustness we recommend also the use of mechanical drums to draw the population sample, supervised by a small Jury. There need to be also a monitoring system in order to compare the Jury lists with the drawn lists.

    *6 https://ssc.wisc.edu/~wright/929-utopias-2018/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Owen-and-Smith-PSspecial-
    issue-on-Sortition.pdf

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  58. I don’t see any benefit to Graham’s notion of first drawing a pool of 6,000 who are positioned as jurors in waiting, and then drawing final mini-publics from this large pool. This seems to simply ease the potential for corruption. Monied interests who are anticipating a future mini-public on a policy of special interest will know in advance who to send targeted messages to (these could be like Facebook ads, rather than bribes). Also, some in the pool of 6,000 might surreptitiously offer their votes to high bidders in advance, in case they are drawn for the mini-public. It is far harder to monitor corrupt behavior (directed at or flowing from) a group of 6,000, than a mini-public or 400 (as an example). Why not simply do a draw of 400 from the whole population?

    Liked by 1 person

  59. > Terry, I clearly missed that one. However I liked the training idea. Maybe I can use it later on.

    Like

  60. I had to add a step here, the expert hearings. But I got stuck after the first sentence.

    1 – Citizens decision – Short term (Single subject, couple of days/couple of Week ends)

    – High rotation
    – Obligatory participation (civic duty)
    – Panel size 800/1000
    – Simple Random Sampling from official database
    – Expert hearings
    – No “deliberation”
    – Transparency in finances and methods

    Organising the expert hearings is of crucial importance for the entire enterprise.

    I realised that whoever decides about which experts are to hear decides about the outcome. We have another important and mighty player in the game, the organising committee.

    Let’s thought about an example. Suppose the panel is about deciding the energy policy for the country. Very big interests with a lot of money to spend are at stake, this might be a level 1. Suppose this panel looks at the nuclear option.

    What I, as a member of the panel, would like to hear is not how a nuclear power plant, whit whatever system, works but what is the “worst case accident” however small the chances that it occurs.

    Now I imagine myself in the steering committee. I don’t have any idea of how I can put a number of experts in place in a way that my question is dealt with.

    Not only the question of the “worse case accidents” has to be dealt with I suppose, but also a lot of other aspects.

    I imagine that the experts can be chosen randomly. But we have to find them first. Then the sequence is important and has to be random, the last expert has more impact in the decision with his presentation than the first one. And so on.

    Maybe I have to change the ‘expert hearing’ in “the steering commitee” to cover it all in a separate chapter.

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  61. Paul:> Organising the expert hearings is of crucial importance for the entire enterprise. I realised that whoever decides about which experts are to hear decides about the outcome. We have another important and mighty player in the game, the organising committee.

    In high-stakes decision making it’s a fundamental mistake to think that it is possible to separate out epistemic and political considerations. Take Brexit for example — the idea of a panel of experts being chosen by an impartial “steering committee” is just fanciful. Much better to take the trial jury analogy more literally — just as the prosecution and defence choose their own expert witnesses the Brexit and Remain camps would do the same and then slug it out in public, leaving the jury to decide which experts were more persuasive (after cross-examination by the opposing camp).

    Take a look at the section of Helene Landemore’s book where she discusses the Argumentative Theory of Reasoning whereby “experts” make full use of the confirmation bias and other rhetorical tools to persuade, whereas the jury uses an entirely different cognitive module to decide which group of rascals is lying the most and votes accordingly.

    The reason that I haven’t responded to your detailed proposal is because it’s entirely inappropriate at this early stage. All we can do is outline some of the issues that the tribunal would need to consider and hope that we might be called as expert witnesses.

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  62. >Keith

    Keith: Much better to take the trial jury analogy more literally — just as the prosecution and defence choose their own expert witnesses the Brexit and Remain camps would do the same and then slug it out in public, leaving the jury to decide which experts were more persuasive (after cross-examination by the opposing camp).

    Yes, this seams a better way to deal with it.

    Keith: The reason that I haven’t responded to your detailed proposal is because it’s entirely inappropriate at this early stage. All we can do is outline some of the issues that the tribunal would need to consider and hope that we might be called as expert witnesses.

    As I explained I have to give an answer to the remark that I criticize sortition initiatives but that I have nothing to contribute in order to do better. Anyway the text is open for discussion and anyone can see it as a challenge for improvement or use some parts of it.

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  63. at a second thought the the prosecution and defence lawyers, and their offices, are the steering committees. Of course we don’t have to solve all the worlds problems in one time. But I can appreciate Bretts Hennings initiative (and others), he offers a way to proceed and a lot of people are waiting.

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  64. Paul:> As I explained I have to give an answer to the remark that I criticize sortition initiatives but that I have nothing to contribute in order to do better.

    I think what we need to do is introduce a bit of theoretical clarity and this will involve condemning ventures (such as the services offered by the Sortition Foundation) that blur the conceptual issues and bring sortition into disrepute. The corollary is that we should praise ventures (such as the Deliberative Polling movement) that respect the conceptual distinctions but criticise them when they go off the track (by paying homage to Habermasian norms). Either you want to measure or transform preferences, you can’t have your cake and eat it.

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  65. Paul,
    One tool that needs to be refined and used for mini-publics is distinct from the court jury “two sides each present THEIR facts” model (but can still use this dynamic), is to require the sides to develop a stipulated set of agreed upon facts. It is possible to dispute SOME facts while agreeing on others, and disputing likelihoods or unintended consequences or normative goals. But to the greatest extent possible the mini-public needs to know what facts are NOT in dispute. An impartial (randomly selected) oversight panel with professional staff as lawyer-like cross examiners who can help opposing sides develop this list of agreed upon facts. If one side is being obstinate and is only agreeing to facts that benefit their argument, this reality would be reported to the mini-public, which would hurt the prospects of that side being trusted and thus persuasive…. This is to provide some incentive for the opposing sides to cooperate in developing agreed upon facts. In short hand I refer to this concept as a “facts stipulation” phase of mini-public education…. that occurs before the mini-public even assembles. The newDemocracy Foundation has assembled oversight panels from opposing sides to agree on a “balanced” presentation. I agree with Keith, that this is too hard and unrealistic… But they could help develop a stipulated set of relevant facts.

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  66. Terry,

    That might work — I would imagine there is some sort of court-room precedent, whereby the prosecution and defence have to agree on the status of the evidence. And the judge, of course, has the power to override the advocates, and rule as to when evidence is inadmissible, but it might be hard to extend that to the political arena. I’m not sure about the case for two minipublics (courts have only one jury, not two), unless your oversight panel is long-serving and voluntary, in which case other objections apply.

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  67. Terry, I agree with your point, moreover it’s something that’s desperately needed back where you take your example from – the court system.

    As I understand it it’s the kind of thing that occurs much more satisfactorily in some civil law or inquisitorial systems and is in short supply in Anglo-American adversarial court systems.

    Like

  68. We received a link from a member of the G1000 team https://civicrm.foundationfuturegenerations.org/sites/www.foundationfuturegenerations.org/files/20190621_g1000_note_questionsprealablesparticipationcitoyenne.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0mDLLtQH8oBlZO45uUkDo22uKChUCddGjJ2gy_R9sKuPD_mUryYnXqgaw in French. At a first reading it is of interest for our Code. I have to study it, along with some mails before I can go on. I want to finish the draft before half september.

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  69. Citizens decision – Expert hearings

    Organising the expert hearings is of crucial importance for the whole enterprise. We might expect that this part of the organisation can be a preferred target for ‘special interests’ in order to safeguard their interests.

    It is clear that those who are choosing the experts have a determining impact on the outcome. We aim to achieve the total decoupling of the appointment of experts from the pilot committee(s) or other parts of the organisation (steering committees, private companies appointed for the practical organisation, operators, administration,..).

    It is recommendable that also for this phase a legislation for protection similar with the judicial jury is applied.

    Therefore we suggest that universities and high schools, who are involved in the program “Educating for democracy” (*6 part 3 page 123) ,or any similar program, can apply to take part in this phase of the decision making. For this choices we also make use of sortition in order to avoid personal preferences and manipulation. A small Jury can oversee and report publicly this part of the events.
    Several universities/high schools needs to work together (at least three) in order to appoint a balanced panel of experts in the appropriate specialities.
    Those experts are under the contractual obligation to deliver a presentation to the Jury in accordance to previously published works, who are listed in the contract.
    The universities/high schools involved (or even better if possible, other ones selected by lot) evaluate the presentation with the submitted publications.
    The presentations are live recorded and are part of the published general documentation, together with the evaluation, and eventually any answers to questions of the Jury.
    It is to avoid that experts are nominated who have a to clear political commitment (elected representative, prominent member of a political party think tank, .. ). (*7 page 10)
    It is clear that violations of the contract can have judicial consequences.

    *6 Counsil of Europe – Educating for democracy – Task based learning – p 123 https://rm.coe.int/16802f727b
    *7 Terrill Bouroucius: https://www.academia.edu/37578530/Why_Hybrid_Bicameralism_is_Not_Right_for_Sortition?

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  70. After some e-mail discussion and facebook chat the text is now:

    Expert hearings.
    Organising the expert hearings is of crucial importance for the whole enterprise (*8 p 12). We might expect that this part of the organisation can be a preferred target for ‘special interests’ in order to safeguard their interests.
    It is clear that those who are choosing the experts have a determining impact on the outcome. We aim to achieve the total decoupling of the appointment of experts from the pilot committee(s) or other parts of the organisation (steering committees, private companies appointed for the practical organisation, operators, administration,..).

    It is recommendable that also for this phase a legislation for protection similar with the judicial jury is applied.

    Therefore we suggest that universities and high schools, who are involved in the program “Educating for democracy” (*6 part 3 page 123) (or any similar program) can apply to take part in this phase of the decision making. For this choices we also make use of sortition in order to avoid personal preferences and manipulation. A small Jury can oversee and report publicly this part of the events.
    Several universities/high schools needs to work together (at least three) in order to select a balanced panel of experts in the appropriate specialities. The final selection is done by sortition by an allotted Jury, taking into account the availability of the experts when the presentation is scheduled.
    Those experts are under the contractual obligation to deliver to the Jury a presentation in accordance to previously published work, listed in the contract.
    The universities/high schools involved (or even better if possible, other ones selected by lot) evaluate the presentation with the submitted publications.
    The presentations are live recorded and are part of the published general documentation, together with the evaluation, and eventually any answers to questions of the Jury.
    It is to avoid that experts are nominated who have a to clear political commitment (elected representative, prominent member of a political party think tank, .. ). (*7 page 10)
    It is clear that violations of the contract can have judicial consequences.

    The input from separate special task forces or mini-publics (*7 p 17 ) is to be regarded as separate expert input.
    The sequence of the expert presentations has to be random.

    *6 Counsil of Europe – Educating for democracy – Task based learning – p 123 https://rm.coe.int/16802f727b
    *7 Terrill Bouroucius: https://www.academia.edu/37578530/Why_Hybrid_Bicameralism_is_Not_Right_for_Sortition?
    *8 Pierre-Etienne Vandamme : Des référendums plus délibératifs ? https://www.academia.edu/37467930/Des_référendums_plus_délibératifs_Les_atouts_du_vote_justifié_Participations_2018_

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  71. after “in order to safeguard their interests.” Also the organising committee can push his point of view. The distinction between information and manipulation is very difficult and professional indoctrination is hard to prove.

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  72. Citizens decision – Individual ‘deliberation’.
    The allotted mini-public listens to the presentations of the experts and decides after deliberation. Voting, if needed, is secret and with simple majority. Super majorities (like 2/3) are against the equality principle and are in favour of status quo (BC) or even in favour of minority rule.
    Participants are encouraged to make a short summary of each presentation. The members of the mini-public can ask questions to the experts.
    Making the short summary and posing questions is facilitated by the organisation in a way that is comfortable to all. It is necessary that people feel at ease and that the tasks are within their possibilities. A lot of information will be lost if one does not recognise that many people are not used to speak in public (*14), even at meetings with a small number of unknown participants, and that many of us, even if most can read and write these day’s, didn’t write anything maybe in decades.
    Group deliberation (the whole group is then split up in smaller groups of around ten persons and rotated) can produce better results but only in some special cases and if carefully developed and executed (*9 p 30)(*12)(*13). We have to avoid that group deliberation is used only for ‘public relations’ purposes and/or to suit a certain category of participants. This category of participants is more often found in mini-publics where participation is voluntary. Furthermore group deliberation, if skilfully executed, takes a lot of time and will unavoidably leads to a longer term mandate (*10)(*11). This jeopardises the specific characteristics of sortition, already from the early start, the equal chance to participate.
    Reports are written by people who does not belong to the mini-public and approved by the participants, comments are added if necessary.
    The way the results are calculated or compiled have to be publicized. (the ox weight of Francis Galton: mean or median ? (*15) )

    *9 Groupthink versus The Wisdom of Crowds: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227910928_Groupthink_versus_The_Wisdom_of_Crowds_The_Social_Epistemology_of_Deliberation_and_Dissent
    *10 Olga Lioudvinevitch : Challenging the wisdom of the crowd: Value of Brainstorming in the Workplace
    University of Waterloo http://lioudvinevitch.com/files/wtr.pdf
    *11 Roy F. Baumeister, Brad J. Bushman – 2013 – ‎Social Psychology and human nature
    In short, brainstorming doesn’t improve creative output—it reduces it. … p477 .. people enjoy brainstorming and think it works but it doesn’t, they had more fun..
    https://epdf.pub/social-psychology-and-human-nature.html
    *12 Philip Ball – Wisdom of the crowd: The myths and realities : http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20140708-when-crowd-wisdom-goes-wrong
    *13 Krynicki F. – Methods and models for the quantitative analysis of crowd brainstorming https://uwspace.uwaterloo.ca/bitstream/handle/10012/8347/Krynicki_Filip.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y
    with an extensive list of references.
    *14 Dimitri Courant – La démocratie et ses problèmes – Design des instances 14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkWxuhKZpoI&list=PLNHQx3kGecLcnbIvdHZPU5itxZ2BalIRD&index=6 Synthèse et questions du public – Design des instances 16 https://youtu.be/44-WnWz2gLM?list=PLNHQx3kGecLcnbIvdHZPU5itxZ2BalIRD 11.14 ..la peur de prendre la parole en public c’est la phobie numéro un dans les pays avancés .. translation: the fear of speaking in public is the number one phobia in the advanced countries
    *15 Robert Coyle – How to Correctly Estimate the Weight of an Ox https://www.cremeglobal.com/how-to-correctly-estimate-the-weight-of-an-ox/

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  73. A message I’ve just received from Compass (a left-leaning pressure group), in response to recent parliamentary shenanigans, shows how urgent it is to get these criteria right:

    But importantly, we are looking beyond these necessary fixes, to new participative and deliberative forms of democracy, which have the power to truly transform how we decide and do things in our country and in our daily lives. With Compass’ help, citizens’ assemblies have now firmly got onto the political agenda, and deliberative democracy is set to play a much greater role in our society, not least through a people’s convention to determine the shape of new democratic institutions.

    Parliament, of course, is a people’s convention — the only difference to the proposals of Compass and the likes is that members of parliament are chosen by voters rather than unaccountable activists volunteering themselves.

    http://www.compassonline.org.uk/

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  74. Note 1: “The mini-public was a great success”

    Reporting about the results of a mini-public is of course very important. We have nevertheless to distinguish the different modes of success.

    – The organisation of a mini-public is a very big undertaking and a challenge for every organisation or company involved. If it can be delivered with all problems solved and without crashing it is indeed ‘a great success’.

    We call this ‘the happy organisation’. (The mini-public was a great success)

    – The opinion of the participants after the event is very important, for all kinds of reasons but also for public relations reasons for the organisations and companies involved. And this may have severe consequences. Specialised companies are highly qualified in the guidance of participants at such events. “Participants are warmly welcomed, the importance of their participation is highlighted (self-esteem), their opinions on small and world problems are listened to carefully (ventilating frustration), with a snack and a drink in between (appreciation) and with a nice picture and publication of the event at the end of the exercise (satisfaction/pride)”. (*) There may well be a strong temptation to organise group deliberation while it is not appropriate and despite the possible serious drawbacks but it is undoubtedly more fun, individually more satisfying, more interesting and socially more accepted. But a mini-public is not for socialising, entertainment of the participants, nor is it for public relations for the organisations involved. It is a very demanding activity and can be compared with the work of a judicial Jury.

    We call this ‘the happy participant’. (The mini-public was a great success)

    – This does not mean that participation can’t be satisfying because why are we doing it? We also have to evaluate the results for the common good, the citizens and the society as a whole.
    We call this ‘the happy citizens’. The mini-public was indeed a success, a job well done.

    (*) https://www.academia.edu/38519482/TERMS_and_APPLICATIONS_SORTITION_in_REPRESENTATIVE_GOVERNMENT

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  75. The draft can be found at https://www.academia.edu/40316480/Code_of_Good_Practice_for_allotted_mini-publics_involved_with_legislation I can keep my deadline (tomorrow 12 sept) but if there are any comments or suggestions for this edition there is still time. Of course this paper can only be a start and we plan to improve it if there is interest.

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  76. I haven’t done a thorough read through, so can’t give concrete feedback… However, one thing I feel we need to do is come up with different names for different sorts of randomly selected bodies. You go to great lengths to describe different tasks, sizes, procedures, etc, but all under the label “mini-public. Bodies that are huge with quasi-mandatory service that closely mirror the population and are authorized to make final policy decisions are really a different animal than small randomly selected bodies that are simply a diverse cross section of willing participants (thus almost certainly much less representative), which is going to generate a proposal, or review a proposal to give a recommendation to some other entity. I feel it conflates things to use the term “mini-public” for both of these. For the former large body, I think “mini-public” is suitable, as it is the public in general, but in miniature (using Adams’ description of an ideal legislature… it “should be an exact Portrait, in Miniature, of the People at large, as it should think, feel, reason and act like them…”). I think the term “citizen assembly” has already caught on, and has generally been used for much smaller bodies with a fairly high rate of decliners (thus substantial self-selection bias), who actively deliberate, with hopes that their diversity and impartiality will find solutions to problems that are superior to those advanced by elected partisans. But such citizen assemblies can not legitimately stand in place of the entire community, as they lack adequate representativeness. They are a tremendously important democratic innovation with great promise, but they only capture a small piece of sortition’s potential.

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  77. Terry, I always try to cover the content with the name. And mini-public was the best I had to make a relation with the ‘mirror of society’ what is one of the cornerstones of the system. That is also why I stopped at low influence on legislation. That is where the problem starts. A stratified panel with allotted volunteers is indeed something else, it can be an expert panel.
    When a learned about sortition that was one of the many confusions I had to counter, without any explanation it went from 10 to 1000, it was called ‘parliament’, ‘senate’, Jury, assemblee, etc.. it was mixed, it was ‘divers’, representative, legitim, and always it was a great success. But most of all, it was allotted and that made it all acceptable. Well, not anymore.
    And if I did not believed in the potential of sortition for democracy, I wasn’t here ;-).

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  78. I finalised the Code and published it at academia. Now the real work can start. https://www.academia.edu/40323973/Code_of_Good_Practice_for_allotted_mini-publics_involved_with_legislation

    At the last moment I added a publication that I find most interesting (and not only for the quote I used).

    SEBASTIÁN LINARES LEJARRAGA – p 263: The deliberative stage between citizens did not cause major changes in attitudes and preferences
    of voters. This finding lead both authors to conclude that, rather than deliberating “face-to-face” with others, deliberating with oneself and in the
    light of the information provided by experts, is what really makes a difference in promoting epistemically justified beliefs.
    https://www.academia.edu/33685977/Democracy_epistemic_value_and_political_equality_a_new_model_of_epistemic_participatory_democracy._
    Ethics_and_Politics_19_1_Monographica_II_pp._247-28

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  79. Yes, that’s an inconvenient truth as far as deliberative democrats are concerned and that’s why it’s been largely ignored (even by Goodin and Niemeyer themselves). DDs are remarkably resistant to truths that are blindingly obvious to everybody else — I was out rowing this morning with an engineer friend and we got to discussing CAs (as on does!) and he said, without prompting, that CAs will never be representative as they (effectively) rely on volunteers. This observation was partly on account of statistical factors (voluntary participation being a highly significant population parameter) and also on account of Arthur C. Clarke’s proposal (in The Songs of Distant Earth) that anyone who desires the job of head of state is automatically disqualified.

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