Making collective decisions is not easy, and the larger the collective the more difficult.
But efficient collective decision-making processes are a huge public good. In the long run, everyone benefits.
They are, however, not a matter of course. They do not emerge automatically. Although some rather efficient procedures have such a long history that they are sometimes seen as being “naturally” given, all collective decision-making processes have to be introduced, and it is not a law that in any case the first procedure implemented is the best.
Larger collectives make for more individuals to be involved. And for more complex decisions, i.e. more options with more different aspects to be evaluated. Both problems have current solutions, but both solutions can be better. The current paper describes network-based collective decision making (NBCDM) based on the storage of trust relations.
[Editor’s note, August 2020: In this paper, dated from August 27, 2017, Civil democracy is still termed “network-based collective decision making” – the term “Civil democracy” got used from Spring 2018 onwards. With over 16’000 words and 28 pages, the paper is too long to be presented as blog post. With presenting first lists of advantages and possible applications, as well as embedding Civil democracy into a short history of collective decision making and giving the first sketch of an implementation strategy, it is however an important milestone in the development of Civil democracy.]