One of the earliest examples of direct democracy comes from Sparta. There, direct-democratic decisions were made by acclamation, i.e. all those for and against a proposal had to shout on two separate occasions. Some judges who could not see the crowd sat in a nearby house and listened and decided which proposal won.
This way of making decisions may seem primitive, but an interesting feature of the method is that it allows everyone to express how much they like or dislike a decision by shouting at different levels. A really upset minority that would be hit hard by a decision can shout louder than the majority and get its way, at least as long as the minority is not too small. The system did run the risk of people shouting strategically to win even if the outcome didn't matter much to them. But since all the shouting was done in public, repeated such behavior would risk causing other participants to view whoever shouted their loudest all the time as dishonest, which may have increased everyone's incentive to be honest.