Aireses is an online open-source platform that promotes e-democracy by offering numerous organizational and methodological tools for communicating, collaborating, and participating in direct democracy.
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Problems and Purpose
The Airesis platform is built around the principles of direct democracy and non-profit. It was developed by volunteers in Italy and is free to use. According to its website, the platform is based on the following principles:
- Participation: Involving citizens means having more energy and points of view available. Only through direct participation it is possible to investigate the problems and understand what people really want. Participation is the essence of democratic decisions.
- Transparency and Security: Without transparency, rules can be easily circumvented and democracy can quickly degenerate. Transparency also means openness, ability to receive: for this reasons Airesis also allows unregistered users to view the contents of the site. The source code of the software is also "transparent", being it entirely open source.
- Constructive dialogue: No one owns all the right answers. Using appropriate tools, elaborating ideas proposed by many people can be more productive than doing it yourself.
- Equal opportunities:To be intended as how effective equality, in terms of offered possibilities, can be pursued by the system.
- Flexibility: Each group has its own needs, each proposal is different from the others, each user has their own needs.
Origins and Development
Aireses is a fusion of two e-democracy projects: Agora 2.0 and DemocracyOnline. The Agora 2.0 project began as a small group in 2009 and soon expanded to over 200 volunteers. In 2012, Agora 2.0 and DemocracyOnline were combined and was relaunched as Airesis. A year later, its founders established the Democratic Technologies Association ("Tecnologie Democratiche") to secure funding and support for the platform's continued development.
How it Works
Participation will vary according to the needs of each project.
The platform has a number of tools for the discussion and evaluation of proposals. An author can put forward a proposal for debate that others can edit and comment on. Participants can also decide when and if a proposal is sufficiently developed to be voted on. Once a proposal passes a certain threshold whereby participants deem it to be ready for voting, another tool enables voting using the Schulze method. During voting a proposal cannot be edited anymore. Users can also choose whether the debate and voting is anonymised or not. Proposals can be made public and published on social media, or be kept private by the lead user.
Analysis and Lessons Learned
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Lead Image: Airesis E-Democracy https://www.airesis.eu/