While all kinds of things are said by any of us in Consumerium:Itself about politics and civics, the actual policy should be set as much as possible by direct democracy. This suggests we mostly decide by referenda.
However, referendum questions don't arise from nowhere, and the language they employ is also not strictly neutral, and requires some buy-in and deliberate consultation and outreach to make work. This requires some consensus democracy and deliberative democracy and some elements even of representative democracy to make work. Also, there are situations where these forms of democracy are preferable to using voting systems up-front:
- Consensus decision making should apply where a policy is constrained, where advice is offered that needs to draw on everyone's knowledge and experience and instincts, or where we have a lot of time and not many people who care - such as the exact wording of some article that is not part of policy - to understand this look at Page history. A consensus democracy may also be preferred within factions to make joint decisions that affect only themselves. See below for some.
- Deliberative democracy should apply to questions such as the FAQ, or any other open-ended issue where we don't need to make any one decision fast. Bottom-up accumulation of policy and ratification into what Consumerium is not can continue in this way until someone objects to or disputes a point. No factions required yet! Really this is what goes on, on Talk pages.
- Representative democracy starts to matter when disputes have arisen and are consistently recurring and there are so many people involved that no one has time to thoroughly understand each other in depth and must rely on some intermediaries and filters - this is when the factions really are needed. Three functions that they can or should be called on to perform:
- An IP block ideally would be up to a user's own faction to decide - it's not something that should be done to one by an enemy who is not taking your political views into account. It should be your friends saying you've gone too far. If you have no friends, well, you are a faction unto yourself, and if you don't declare or state your agenda, maybe you're enemy?
- Before referenda, each faction should be called on to ratify the wording of the question at hand. Whether or not they have participated in the deliberations beforehand. If they at least have a chance to object that the question is politically slanted or wrongly stated, or that the time of the choice is related to some particular group's agenda, the odds that they will respect the will of the majority afterwards is higher.
- When there is a dispute about the accuracy of reporting of a particular group's views or positions, the faction that holds the most similar views should be the one that makes final decisions about the wording, as they are the ones most likely to make the most subtle distinctions that the other factions don't recognize or respect.