We define democracy as an ideal of how collectives (i.e. human groups, companies, non-profit associations or countries) can make decisions together. According to our definition, which is inspired by the famous democratic theorist Robert Dahl, a decision-making process can be more or less democratic depending on how well the decision-making process meets the following criteria of democracy:
- Political equality. The decision-making process is based on the equal value of all people and thus treats everyone as political equals. This means that everyone's vote should be weighed equally, i.e. in the same way. However, there are different scales that can be used to weigh votes. The most common scale is to count the number of individuals and let the proposal with the most support win. But votes can also be weighted based on the strength of participants' preferences, how the participant's interests are affected by the decision, or by participants' geographical proximity to the location affected by the decision. All these methods are consistent with the idea of political equality. Choosing one scale over the other is no more or less democratic, but decisions may have better or worse effects for the vast majority depending on the scale used.
- Effective participation. All participants should have the same opportunity to make suggestions and arguments that others read, take note of and discuss. All participants must also have equal opportunities to cast their vote without undue influence.