LAB Metadecidim -Session 8- Decidim.index: democratic quality indexes for network participation

Laboratorio de Innovación Democrática (Fàbrica de Creació Fabra i Coats Carrer de Sant Adrià, 20, 08030 Barcelona) - Tercera Planta
19 de January de 2018
In this eighth edition of the Metadecidim Lab, we address the issue of democratic quality indicators and network participation.
Democracy, as a system of government and civic activity, always faces the challenge of its own improvement. This improvement can follow multiple paths and models, but most of them require defining parameters that allow evaluating the quality of democratic processes and elements. Numerous works have developed this question both in theory and in practice, which has generated numerous benchmarks (some of them adapted to different models of democracy, such as the V-dem index). In recent years, the rise of information and communication technologies as mediators of democratic processes poses a key problem: how to enrich or adapt quality indicators prior to the new realities of network participation. As a digital platform for participation, Decidim offers new structures for decision-making, allows for the development of deliberations that connect online and offline dynamics, or articulates debates that link the institutional level with open communication processes in social networks ... What kind of indicators can help to evaluate the quality of these new processes and realities?
Session IX of Lab Metadecidim, entitled "Decidim.index: democratic quality metrics for network participation" focuses on the following question:
  • What parameters and metrics can help to evaluate and improve, in the first place, the quality of the processes that take place "on" the decidim platform, and, secondly, "in connection" with it?
This question connects with others that go from the theoretical and systemic level to the practical and technical level:
  • What role can decidim play in improving democratic quality?
  • How can concepts such as "deliberation" or "deliberative quality" (eg, length and depth of nested comment threads, quantity and alternation of comments for and against) be operationalized using indicators and metrics of a platform such as decidim? , average rating of these comments by other users of different profiles), "diversity" (eg: variety of socio-demographic, territorial, institutional profiles, etc.), diversity of networks with different vocabularies, variety of topics addressed in created proposals, approved, etc.), "inclusiveness" (eg: variety of sociodemographic profiles, accessibility parameters for people with functional diversity, distribution of online-offline participation points in the territory, etc.), "equality" between people users and between proposals (eg: percentage of profiles with proposals created, approved, average time of exposure of each proposal before the pe many participants, etc.), "social autonomy" (eg: number of processes generated, developed and executed by citizens) and similar ones?
  • How to avoid the conflict between different principles and metrics (eg: measuring diversity requires collecting sociodemographic data that decision does not include, in order to safeguard the privacy of users)?
  • What dimensions must be taken into account (deliberation, inclusion, etc.)?
  • What new concepts, dimensions, criteria and metrics should be generated for the emerging forms of participation and democracy in the network (dynamics and multilayer processes, collective deliberation in networks, decisions supported by data interfaces or artificial intelligence, etc.)?
  • What aspects can be left out of these metrics?
  • What factors and non-digital metrics could affect them directly (access to the Internet, skills and abilities, etc.)?
  • How can these criteria and metrics be improved over time? Can its definition and evaluation be democratized? If so, how?
To answer these and other questions, we summon you to the eighth call of metadecidim lab.


LAB Metadecidim. Network research for network democracy

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