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New Party Overview

New Party Overview

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Published by Jordan Greenhall
Constructing a new process to replace the current and highly broken political system.
Constructing a new process to replace the current and highly broken political system.

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Published by: Jordan Greenhall on Mar 30, 2011
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04/19/2013

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The New Party
The New Party is an effort to construct a new approach to the political process that isfully appropriate to the information age. Rather than attempt to pose “another party”over and against the existing established parties, our intent is to create a platform that sitsabove the existing political process (“overcodes” it) and is able to take full advantage of the capabilities that are afforded by “Web 3.0”. We consider this approach to bestrategically similar to the transformation of politics that was brought about by the lastmajor shift in media television. In a very fundamental sense, “the medium is thepolitics”.One of the principal advantages of new media technologies is their ability to scale. Theyare able to deliver an enormous amount of continuing value with a relatively small earlyinvestment. Accordingly, we believe that it is possible using the right combination of new media technologies and approaches to “get money out of politics.” This is not anoptimistic aspiration, but a pragmatic objective based on the real performance of newmedia over the past decade.Concretely, we will endeavour to run a viable and competitive candidate in every major US election in 2012 on a total budget that is comparable to a single senatoral election in2010. In addition, we believe that our approach can increase transparency,accountability, and engagement as well as much more effectively tap into the latentproblem solving skills of our complete polity compared to the current system. But theseare the icing on the cake – if we can remove the power of money in politics, we will haveachieved our goal.
The Architecture
The principal components of our architecture are “game mechanics”, “reputationalcurrencies”, and “ubiquitous computing”. It is worth spending a bit of time definingeach.
Game Mechanics
are the suite of techniques that have been developed by theenterainment gaming industry to engage and motivate gamers. These are thetechniques that keep players glued to their Nintendo DS or Farmville in spite of therelative meaninglessness of the games themselves. In recent years, the techniques of gaming have been abstracted from the entertainment world and are beginning to beapplied more broadly. One can easily think of the political process (the electionprocess in particular) as a form of game. It has relatively simple objectives (get onthe ballot, source a candidate, win the election) and victory conditions (get the mostvotes on election day). Moreover the tasks involved in achieving these objectivesare themselves relatively measurable (How many people did you get to support your candidate? How many signatures did you get today?). Game Mechanics can becombined with crowd sourcing to generate high levels of effective and structuredactivity without requiring substantial top-down coordination.
 
Reputational Currencies
are simply the digital version of real world-reputation.Points, levels, statuses and “badges” that your digital identity earns as a result of your activities. Reputational currencies can provide motivation (“if I convince threepeople to join the New Party, I can earn Evangelist points”); they can be used tomeasure performance (“who are the top Evangelists in your county?”); they can beused to allocate resources and authority (“when you earn your next Evangelist level,you get to activate three new “viral alerts” and can add five more people to your messaging team”); and they provide hooks for end participant innovation (“I have anidea, can we use high level Evangelists to promote ballot measures as well ascandidates?”).
Ubiquitous Computing 
is the recognition that the power of networked computer processing can now be present essentially everywhere. Smart phones, WiFihotspots, tablet PCs, 4G networks, etc. can enable relatively intensive applications torun anywhere. Street teams can be in continuous instant message communicationwith each-other, checking in from their cell phones when they have talked withsomeone at a household, all monitored on a google map mashup overlayed with adata-driven heat-map of where they are likely to find success on their next call. Allof these results, of course, are flowing up to a “processor in the sky” providing real-time data and feedback to the total community.Combined, these tools enable the political process to be pushed to “the edge.” That is, asystem where the architecture provides guidance on strategic objectives (get on the ballot,get votes), but individual participants are free to innovate tactics and strategies as seemsappropriate to their particular circumstances. This concept of a fully “distributedapproach is fundamental to the essence of the New Party and is a core value. Whenever possible, authority and responsibility will be pushed out into the community and the“core team” will be small, fluid and relatively powerless.
The Platform
The New Party will have essentially no ideological content. The Party has no platform or planks in the traditional sense. It has no opinion on any issue or even any preferred wayof thinking about issues. The only requirements to be a candidate for the New Party isthat you are Honest, Competent, Reasonable and have enough support to win an election.It is both possible and desirable for two New Party candidates to differ enormously onparticular issues. All that is necessary is that they be quality representatives of their constituents and that they be able to engage with each-other in respectful and constructiveconversation. In this sense, the New Party is not a 3
rd
party as much as an Nth Party. If we do our job right,
all
future political activity will take place “within” the New Partyand the actual general election will be a legacy formality.The Party has no platform because it
is
a platform: an open set of technologies thatshould enable the relatively spontaneous formation of a new way of doing politics.Specifically, it is a combination of a social network, a mesaging system and a “jobsboard”. At bottom, every member of the network has an identity (at a minimum their 
 
name and ZIP Code) and can link to other members of the network --- traditional socialnetworking functions. In addition, they can engage in two basic kinds of kinds of behaviour: conversation and activity.Our conversation engine will be substantially similar to existing scale conversationcommunities like Reddit with a handful of key exceptions. First, participants will
not
beanonymous. They will have a real (and unique) identity. Second, rather than have asimple architecture of just “up” or “down” voting on given comments, we will have athree dimensional model where a given comment can be evaluated as to its good faith, itsthoughtfulness, and, finally, whether it is supported or not. So for example, you mightfind a given comment that you are sure was issued in good faith and is truly thoughtful,but that you don’t support. Or you might find a comment that you happen to agree with,but that you think was made in bad faith by the original poster (i.e., they are just sayingwhat you want to hear). These two differences bring a number of values. Bad behaviour and thoughtlessness can quickly be identified and downregulated while conversation canbe promoted by allowing for respectful disagreement. Finally, of course, the actualtopics of our conversation will intially be focused strictly on issues of direct importanceto the network itself – although as the community grows, the platform can (and likelywill) grow to cover a larger selection of topics.Our “job boardconsists of a list of different tasks that an individual can select.Formally, the high level objectives of the New Party are simple:
Get people to join the party.
Get on the ballot in every election.
Source qualified candidates.
Get enough votes to win a given election.The magic happens in
how
we go about hitting these targets. The high level objectivesare tied into the architecture itself. The details are left to the network itself to generate.This is done through a combination of game mechanics and reputation.We want to make it very easy for people to find ways to participate. Our core objective isto get money
out 
of the political process. We do this by replacing the concept of donations of money with the concept of donations of direct activity. When someonejoins the network, they are presented with the opportunity to do something. At aminimum, everyone can do three things: they can “vouch” for another member of theParty, they can “support” another member of the Party, and they can “recruit” new peopleinto the Party. The former is simply an expression that you stake your personalreputation on the fact that the other person is honorable, competent and reasonable. Bydoing this, you become accountable to the rest of the network and can expect people toquestion you as to why you vouchsafe your connection as the election progresses.Notably, if that individual then goes on to generate for themselves a
bad
reputation, youwill likely have to explain your judgement. In principle, you could vouch for everymember of the New Party. By contrast, you can “support” only one candidate for anygiven office. This is particularly meaningful: in hotly contested races, those members of 

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