March 16, 2005

An Experiment in Democracy

We the Bloggers, in order to form a more perfect Blogosphere, hold these truths to be self-evident: Free Thought and Free Speech are the cornerstones of Free Societies and Free People; The tools and medium utilized to organize and express freethinking in the Blogosphere must be supported, advanced and defended; The misuse, as well as organized oppression, of the tools and medium should be recognized, monitored and thwarted; Understanding that the collective voice gains access, an influential voice for the Blogosphere to governments and the public in general should be democratic, and that all elected and appointed members of this democracy will operate with full transparency and 100% nonprofit methodology; The positive advancement of the Blogosphere in the public square and main stream media is a worthy effort to further universal growth and support of Blogs, Bloggers and Blogging and consequently Free Thought, Free Speech, and Free People.

Citizen Blogger
Post your "John Hancock"

Out of Many

Why a Blogosphere Democracy? Throughout our history, high-minded tools and actions have often been slandered and oppressed by those who wouldn't benefit from them--to mention a few: Science, Religion, Arts, Philosophy and specifically the study of Rhetoric which has never recovered, the Printing Press, Democracy, etc., etc., etc. To that end, the following proposition is a mere outline to establish an inclusive organized system to benefit the overall Blogosphere; all constitutional decisions should be clarified and ratified by the Foundation Board, Elected Congress Members, and engaged Bloggers (see below). Issues of concern to the Blogosphere can be addressed in this system as determined by the Members of the Board and Congress; likewise, individual Bloggers can appeal to their representative for action. The Blogosphere Democracy, in the hands of the Foundation Board and Congress of Bloggers, can achieve a democratic voice (Congress), support (Foundation), unity (Union), and advances (Guild) for the Blogosphere while finding methods of defending (Bureau) it.

The Blogosphere Foundation:
Headed by an Executive Board of nine men and women who will appoint Directors of the Guild, Union and Bureau; these appointments will be confirmed by the Congress. The Executive Board will also bring issues and funding activities to the Congress for approval. The Board will approve fundraising tactics of the Guild and Union, as well, the funds raised will be safeguarded by appointed Blogger Lawyers and Accountants and the Congress will confirm use of funds to insure that all methodologies are 100% nonprofit. Funding from the foundation will include events, legal needs, and actions taken for the betterment of the Blogosphere. Primary sources of funding will be from generous Public and Private Internet Corporations, and private donations. Initial and ongoing funding to be provided to nonprofit organizations such as The Committee to Protect Bloggers and The Media Bloggers Association, as well as other groups who exemplify the health and concerns of the Blogosphere. Initially, the Executive Board will need to be appointed from willing nominees; a select group of one hundred and twenty fair minded Bloggers will nominate and confirm Board members who will agree on policies and procedures, and once the policies and procedures of the Congress and its elected members are in place, the Congress will be responsible for nominating future board members who will be confirmed by the general Blogger population. As an example, men and women like Jay Rosen, Dan Gillmore, Rebbecca MacKinnon, David Sifry, Bill Ives, Scott W. Johnson, Peter Daou, Glenn Reynolds, Charlene Li, Jim Romenesko, Doc Searls, Lawrence Lessig, Michelle Malkin, Dave Winer, Charles Johnson, Maud Newton, Adam Curry, Shel Israel, Wil Wheaton, Radley Balko, would be excellent candidates for establishing the 100 Bloggers to help nominate and approve the first Foundation Executive Board. In fact, I propose that all bloggers go to and encourage each of the above twenty respected bloggers to call out five willing and honest bloggers, and together, these 120 founding Bloggers will vote for and appoint our first Blogosphere Foundation Executive Board. Can I get a second? Volunteers will be required to assist the Board Members in carrying out their organizational and administrative responsibilities.

The Blogosphere Congress:
Four Members of Congress will be elected from each of the following six continents: Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North America, and South America, and by their respective Blogger population. As well, two Members will be elected for each segment of the Blogosphere (Tech, Political, Business, Personal Journal, Law, etc.) which have specific needs and functions; these segments will be determined by the first Blogosphere Foundation Executive Board and amended by future Boards. The Congress Members will be responsible for fairly representing their Blogger constituents' concerns and those of the overall Blogosphere as they pertain to legal rights, privilege, access to news, and other issues as determined by the agreed upon bylaws. The Blogosphere Constitution, length of terms, bylaws, and protocols to be enacted by the first Foundation Executive Board, ratified by an elected Congress, and amended by future Boards and Members of Congress. With six continents and approx. 12 segments, there will be approx. 48 Members of Congress. Now for those who think fair voting procedures cannot be achieved, I will remind you that this is the Internet where all things are possible. Frankly, I can think of a half dozen functional voting methods with all levels of involvement from tech companies, databases, and systems to disseminate and calculate information, but this is an area that the Foundation Board should agree on.

The Blogosphere Guild:
An organized group of Bloggers (authors, artists, journalists, pundits, etc.) to advance the positive attributes of the Blogosphere to the Internet and international public at large. The Guild Director will be appointed by the Foundation Board and confirmed by the Congress. He or she will be responsible for organizing a staff for the expressed purpose of furthering a positive sentiment to the public and the growth of use and interest in the Blogosphere. As well, the Guild's actions will involve the disproving and thwarting of negative stereotyping and actions presented by those who oppose the Shining Light of Free Thought and Free Speech that is the Blogosphere.

The Blogosphere Union:
An organized group of Bloggers for the purpose of unifying Bloggers to common goals and assisting any Blogger who requires help and/or direction through the proper channels to voice concerns and find aid. The Union Director will be appointed by the Foundation Board and confirmed by the Congress. He or she will be responsible for organizing a staff in order to handle the concerns of individual Bloggers.

The Blogosphere Bureau of Investigation:
An organized group of Blogger sleuths around the planet to research, find facts, check facts, and communicate their discoveries regarding oppression and misuse of the Blogosphere. The Bureau Director will be appointed by the Foundation Board and confirmed by the Congress. He or she will be responsible for organizing a staff to initially establish a network of investigators and maintain the network with bulletins out and reports in. This information gathered will be acted upon by the Foundation, Congress, Union or Guild.
Hopefully, the phenomenon of the Blogosphere can flourish with unity and power from all Bloggers, to all Bloggers, and for all People--and the grandeur of blogs as a great new medium toward the advancement of Free Speech can be furthered. With Democracies on the rise around the world, this is an experiment in E-Democracy to help ensure Freedom's Shining Light will continue to boldly glow into the future.

Michael Schaefer