Flowback – the future of democracy

The digital democracy of the future is here. Smarter, more efficient and more secure than ever. Using modern decision-making tools based on neural network principles and blockchain technology, you can harness the power of your organisation's collective intelligence in a safe, fair and transparent way.

In Flowback, our open source digital democracy tool, we combine the best of traditional democratic methods with new, innovative concepts like quadratic voting, delegation and prediction markets, which can solve several classic democracy problems.

Our ambition is to make Flowback a complete end-to-end solution that supports organisations and businesses all the way from fact gathering and discussion to good decisions and effective execution of those decisions.


Main features

1

Discuss

In the decision-making process, it is important that everyone's ideas, arguments and facts are put on the table. Flowback has the tools to:

  • Working groups
  • Video meetings
  • Documenting together
  • Prediction markets
  • Discussion forum & chat
  • Formulate proposals
  • Evaluating arguments
2

Make a decision

Secure voting methods where the identity of participants can be verified are essential for making decisions. Flowback has tools for:

  • Ranking of options
  • Yes/no polls
  • Vote on meeting times
  • Square voting
  • Delegate votes
  • Full security and transparency
  • Verification of identity
  • Anonymous voting
3

Implement

In order to implement decisions, it is important to have a clear division of labour where decisions can be taken close to those who will implement them. Flowback has:

  • Groups and subgroups
  • Schedules
  • Kanban tavlor
  • Assign tasks flexibly
  • Emails and reminders



Create polls

Manage your organisation effectively by creating different types of votes to make decisions on meeting times, motions, goals, activities, campaigns and budgets.



Meet online and discuss


Avoid Zoom, Teams and Google Meet, which have expensive licensing costs, security issues and can leak sensitive data. In Flowback, we've integrated Jitsi - a leading open source video meeting tool that runs directly in your browser or via a mobile app.


Personal flow

See all the decisions on the table in your personal feed, get a quick overview of which stages the decisions are at: the discussion phase, the decision phase or the implementation phase?



Create tags and delegate


Create tags for different responsibilities and delegate decision-making authority. Delegation means that you automatically copy how the delegate votes as long as you have not voted yourself.


Vote


Vote yourself or see how your delegate voted for you.
Change your mind if you think differently from your delegate.


All features


Below is a list of all Flowback's features. The green highlighted boxes are fully developed and available in Flowback 1.0 and the white boxes are features under development that will be released in later versions of Flowback. Some boxes can be clicked to learn more about the features.

1

Meet & Discuss

At Flowback, we've developed a range of tools to harness your organisation's collective knowledge and intelligence. Involve everyone's brains in formulating and evaluating proposals, sorting, structuring and weighting arguments. Meet in video meetings in different groups and edit common documents. Make predictions about the consequences of different choices to make smarter decisions.

Join groups with different responsibilities.

Give everyone the opportunity to formulate proposals that can be taken up for discussion.

Upload files and manage shared documents

Structure and weight arguments for and against based on participants' assessments

Video meetings in unique meeting rooms for all groups

Inclusive discussion where everyone, regardless of disability or personality, can participate on equal terms.

AI methods to let good proposals cut through the noise and come up for discussion, regardless of who made them.


Read more

Making good decisions requires that participants have access to accurate information about the consequences of the options being voted on. One downside of digital development is that more and more people are stuck in their filter bubbles and distrust established media and experts. This can result in people voting for candidates and making decisions that are bad for themselves on the whole. With the right digital technology, however, this trend can be broken. The Association for Digital Democracy is working to research, develop and implement:

  • Smart deliberation systems that make it easier for participants to engage in constructive discussion, explore shared values, find compromises and reach consensus
  • Prediction markets to help participants get the best possible predictions of the consequences of the options in a vote. In a prediction market, all users contribute from below to an overall probability assessment. Those users who are actually proven right after the fact are rewarded and ranked higher. Research on prediction markets shows that they often predict better than experts, the media and scientific models. A prediction market coupled with a digital democracy tool enables informed decisions even for those who are sceptical of the media or drawn to conspiracy theories. Read more here.
  • Argument analysis methods to help participants structure and assess the plausibility of pro and con arguments.

In this way, we want to support your organisation to harness the collective knowledge and intelligence of participants and make smarter decisions together. Good democratic decision-making also requires that all participants have the same opportunity to make suggestions and arguments that others read, take note of and discuss. A digital democracy creates several new opportunities to improve and streamline the democratic participation process:

  • Discussion forums allow more people to participate who cannot do so in the normal way: disabled, shy and introverted people are given the same opportunities to participate, formulate arguments and express themselves as everyone else.
  • With forums that encourage quiet reflection, arguments can be more thoughtful and well formulated. With less text and higher quality material, it will be easier for everyone to read and participate.
  • In today's digital media there is a risk of "winner takes all", famous influencers who have built up enough followers can write anything and get great attention for posts and arguments even with lower quality while less famous people are not able to reach out effectively, even with very well formulated arguments. Digital democracy makes it possible to counter this trend with algorithms that sort out and boost high quality suggestions and arguments coming from unknown people.

Good democratic decision-making also requires that all participants have the same opportunity to put important issues on the agenda. Otherwise, important proposals that would substantially improve the country/organisation risk never being implemented. Control over the agenda is often exercised by a board or presidium to ensure orderly decision-making. Many major parties do not allow members to submit motions and proposals to the Congress because there is too much to deal with.

Digital democracy makes it possible to combine the free opportunity for all participants to get their issues on the agenda with a structured and limited agenda where all the thousands of small proposals do not have to be taken up for final consideration. We are exploring and developing the following methods for effective and democratic agenda control:

  • Thresholds for how much engagement a proposal must generate in a limited time to appear in more participants' feeds and be taken up for consideration.
  • AI methods for sorting out clusters of proposals that are (i) compatible (ii) incompatible, as well as sorting incompatible proposals into clusters on a map based on similarity so decisions can be made by zooming in on the part of the map the majority prefers.


2

Decide

Maximizing the democratic influence of all in a transparent, open and secure decision-making process. Each participant can choose their level of involvement. Make the right decisions for all stakeholders that benefit your organisation in the long term. Use a robust and transparent system that cannot be manipulated. Weight decisions according to the strength of preferences or other criteria so that all participants are maximally satisfied with the outcome over time.

Use your organisation's collective knowledge and intelligence through online deliberation.

Ranking, voting on meeting times, for/against votes.

Full transparency and possibility to verify votes afterwards.

Avoid time-consuming meetings and long agendas, and analogue voting. Make decisions efficiently all year round when needed.

100% secure voting with modern blockchain technology.

With continuous voting, decisions can be changed quickly in response to new information that comes to the table.

Open source for increased security.


AI to sort out clusters of proposals that are compatible and supported by many streamlines decision-making in large organisations.

Flexible voting list according to willingness to work on the implementation of the decision, contribute with funding or other criteria.

Read more


In order to make decisions that benefit an organisation and its employees as a whole in the long term, it is important that the voices of all participants are weighed equally, i.e. in the same way. However, there are different scales on which to weigh votes. For example, a vote can be weighted based on the strength of the participant's preferences, how the participant's interests are affected by the decision, or the participant's geographical proximity to the location affected by the decision. With more ways of weighing votes available, participants can be treated equally politically measured according to more and more relevant scales than today.

The Association for Digital Democracy is working to find, implement and test the scales for weighing votes that will ensure the best possible decisions for the vast majority in the long term. We are also working to find forms of decision-making that maximise respect for the political equality of all. Here are some examples:

  • Delegated voting is a method of ensuring that everyone's vote is counted and weighted equally even in cases where people don't have the time, can't or forget to vote themselves. Delegation does not mean that one person gets two or more votes, which would violate the requirement of political equality. Delegation means that you identify another individual you trust who has chosen to publicly post how they vote and then automatically copy their choice of options. You can vote differently at any time if your views differ from the delegate's vote. Read more here.
  • Square voting is a method of voting that allows minorities with strong preferences to express them in a balanced way at the cost of reduced influence on other issues. The method has proven successful in repeated empirical experiments. It encourages participants to be honest, to set balanced priorities and to cooperate. Read more. 
  • Geographic voting is a method of voting that weights votes according to geographical distance from the area being voted on. This method could be useful and deserves to be experimented with. However, it carries some risks, as in the US, where the division of electoral districts on the whole reduces the ability of the majority to govern their country. However, a majority could choose to consider geographical parameters relevant in certain types of voting - in such circumstances, features that flexibly segment participants and weight the strength of votes by geographical parameters are useful.

Democratic decisions also require that all those affected by the decision are included in the decision-making process. However, not all people are affected by all decisions. As a result, many people are forced to vote unnecessarily on issues they are uninterested in, lack knowledge about, or where they can override a minority for whom the issue is very important. Digital democracy, however, allows the voting list to be set flexibly to include only those who are actually affected by a decision, according to criteria such as:

  • Geographical proximity to the place affected by the decision
  • Interest in working on the implementation of the decision or in helping to finance the decision
  • Level of education, knowledge test, points or number of votes delegated to you

For different types of decisions in different types of organisations, collaborations between organisations, boards or companies, different ways of determining the voting list may be reasonable. Those who are determined to be above the threshold of voting rights are then allowed to participate in the democratic process and decision-making.
 



3

Execute

Achieve high efficiency through creative freedom: the right person in the right place decides and executes at the right time. Avoid unnecessary bureaucracy and time wasting through clear division of labour into groups, sub-groups down to the individual level. Use schedules, Kanban boards for the different work groups and keep track of who does what flexibly. Manage emails, members and donations in a unified database.

Focus your time and energy on the areas where you have the skills and motivation to contribute.

Structure the work of the team with a Kanban board.

Time polls for organizing meetings.

Get rid of Mailchimp and other expensive email systems, manage mass emailing to your group and followers through our system.

See what has been decided and the deadline for the decision in your group's schedule

Manage donations, membership fees and payments in a unified system.


Innovative new methods


In Flowback - our current open source digital democracy project - we combine several traditional digital democracy tools with a range of new and innovative concepts with the potential to radically improve democratic decision-making. You can learn more about some of the methods here.

1. DELEGATION

Delegation means that anyone can choose to copy what someone else votes for, which can be called "delegating your vote" to someone else. The delegator can override the delegate's vote at any time or delegate to someone else instead. Delegation harnesses the benefits of direct democracy as an opportunity for direct influence and accountability but without requiring everyone to invest time, energy, or expertise in every single issue. Delegation has been shown in empirical studies to be effective in harnessing expertise and making informed decisions. But unfortunately, delegation has never before been effectively tested on a larger scale because no one has built a good digital platform for the purpose...

2. QUADRATIC VOTING

Traditional voting rules such as majority rule can have several problems. The method does not capture nuanced information about participants' preferences and carries the risk of "tyranny of the majority" over minorities. Quadratic voting allows minorities with strong preferences to express these in a balanced way at the cost of reduced influence on other issues. The method has proven successful in repeated empirical experiments. It encourages participants to be honest, to make balanced priorities between options and to cooperate.

3. Prediction markets

One threat to democracy is that many people lack access to independent information and knowledge about the consequences of different choices. If decisions are made on the basis of false premises, the consequences can be disastrous. So what can be done to provide credible and useful knowledge about an organisation's key choices? One solution we have implemented in our digital democracy tool Flowback is the possibility to use a prediction market...

We build flowback together


Would you like to be involved in suggesting new features and voting on which features we should prioritize for development? Flowback is being built by us together, when Flowback 1.0 is released you will be able to participate in its development by registering an account, making suggestions and voting - we develop Flowback by using Flowback.

Ready for a global democratic revolution?

ALL CHANGE STARTS WITH YOU!

The Digital Democracy Association is a non-profit association that is religiously and politically independent. It aims to support and promote effective democratic organisation of people at all levels: from small networks and organisations at grassroots level to large companies, political parties and organisations at national and international level.

Its ultimate goal is a world in which everyone's influence and participation is maximised in a way that is compatible with high flexibility, efficiency and effectiveness in human co-operation and organisations. The Association's sub-goals are to (i) develop innovative open-source tools for digital democratic organisation (ii) disseminate knowledge and stimulate interest in effective democratic decision-making and organisational practices (iii) support organisations and companies to improve their internal democracy.

(C) 2022 THE ASSOCIATION FOR DIGITAL DEMOCRACY 802538-9241

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