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[Demexp-dev] Re: TOP invitation to programmers.

From: echarp
Subject: [Demexp-dev] Re: TOP invitation to programmers.
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 01:12:48 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.13 (2006-08-11)


I was the author of those comments, not too harsh hopefully.

On Mon, Oct 02, 2006 at 07:43:36PM +0200, Frederic Lehobey wrote:
> Thanks for these links. First time I hear about

It's a one man project, a hobby, GPL and made with Ruby on Rails.

The goal is a forum/mailingList/chat/news system, where every post is
also a poll and potentially a vote.

My original goal is a collaborative writing system (it was called
VeniVidiVoti and was made with java/JBoss/cocoon/PostgreSQL, started in

> > - voting method is "Condorcet", which is often considered slightly too
> >  complex for most people
> It is correct the current voting method is Condorcet (and this choice
> is not random) but other voting methods might be implemented
> too. Patches are welcome.  :-)

It's mostly a question of difficulties, Condorcet is difficult to code,
complex to grasp, tricky to develop a good GUI for. It's a great method
none the less.

Personally I prefer approval voting for a start, which will be almost
easy to expand to range voting.

> > - special powers to some administrators whose role is to organise polls
> Not really. The only special power is on classification (needed for
> the future delegation). But everyone can raise questions and provide
> answers.

This is the "special powers". Without it the whole system will just
become larger and larger and less and less usable (yes, you know that

> > - technology is a very good one, but sadly it is not used much in the
> >  world and will have troubles finding programmers
> It somewhat true. But works like Augustin's one might open us to the
> much larger world of PHP / Drupal programmers. Actually, the server
> has a public API so every kind of client might connect.

I wonder if integration in an existing and large CMS won't be too big a
load on your development... The forums to polls integration does seem
tricky, same with identities.

> > - no possibility to use the whole system as a forum where every
> >  question/answer is just one more post
> Yes. The system is intended on purpose (let's do one thing but do it
> well) as a voting tool, not as the place where the debate takes
> place. The debate might occur on many other already existing places
> (Drupal, forum, wikis, and so on...).

Yet question/answers *will* be used directly for debate. You *will* have
to remove or move those that do.

But it's none the less great to focus on simplicity.

> > - few considerations for security
> ... for the moment! Because precisely we do not want to deal with this
> in an approximative way ...

Programmers, algorithms, languages, OS, networks, configurations,
administrators, users, even hardware, are a liability.

There is one solution that _could_ bring *trust*: total and complete
transparency. To the point of real time *reproducibility*.

To the point where a *P2P* system of servers can be set up by any number
of willing individuals. Then *PGP signatures* to ensure the relationship
between a vote and a persona. *Electoral lists* (of PGP public keys) to
calculate results. (rather slow if you participate, I
choose the wrong algorithm for a hierarchy, the nested tree set. Am
going to change or optimize it...).

> > But, they have a group of intelligent people involved in a cool social
> > idea/ideal.
> Thanks.  :-)

We do share the same ambitions.

> > 2. Special powers.
> > I am all for special grouping of users. For example you might want to
> > differate between users above and below 18 years of age (or another
> > arbitrary age). And you might wish to group users into geographical areas as
> > is common in politics today. The techology should make possible such uses.
> > How it is used in practice should be decided by users.
> Same as above. Beyond the technical points, philosophically, I
> somewhat disagree with this point of view. But it does not prevent it
> from being implemented in the software.

*Electoral lists*: to determine the legitimacy of one's participation in
a decision. But is that "special powers"?

> > 4. Security.
> > This is important indeed. But not only the demexp-server is responsible for
> > the security. We have the physical server etc to worry about too. The
> > security issue is not something that can be finished from the start, but
> > something that will be an ongoing issue.
> I completely agree. Consider it as a Graal (after several years and
> many thousands of users): a distributed server. But it will be for
> demexp 4.0 or above...  :-)

Use your server as a mailing list, subscribe your servers to some
others, and then, tadam, you automatically have it! :)

BTW, here is a pointer to lomax's Delegable Proxy and Free Associations.
Personally I always called this DP feature "transitive delegations", but
anyway, this is just the same thing, which you do also plan to use
(unless I'm mistaken) =>

> Experimentally,
> Frédéric Lehobey


echarp - "Parlement":

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