Initiatives and issues
LiquidFeedback is no survey, it doesn't ask you predefined questions. Instead every participant is allowed to post new initiatives containing a proposal and/or reasoning. As soon as the initiative is posted, all other participants can create alternative initiatives with counter proposals and/or reasoning. A group of concurring initiatives forms an issue. Issues in LiquidFeedback are numbered with a hash sign (e.g. #123) while initiatives are numbered with a leading "i" character (i456). In short: One issue may contain multiple initiatives. Only one initiative can win.
Issues are always assigned to a subject area in order to structure the discussion and decision process.
To allow discussions and decisions by sub groups of participants (e.g. by the members of a subdivision of an organization), participants can be assigned to different units. Every organizational unit can have its own subject areas.
Rules of procedure
A policy defines the timing, quorums and required majorities for an issue in LiquidFeedback. Initiators choose the fitting policy for their purpose when creating a new issue.
4 phases of a decision
(1) Admission phase
As every participant can open a new issue in LiquidFeedback, not all of them will be intersting for at least a minimum of the participants. Therefore new issues need to gain a given quorum of supporters to become accepted for further discussion. Issues which do not reach the necessary quorum will be closed at the end of the admission phase.
(2) Discussion phase
During the discussion phase all initiatives try to improve their proposals and reasoning to gain more supporters. The aim is to eventually reach the necessary majority and to beat alternative initiatives.
(3) Verification phase
During the verification phase, initiative drafts with the proposal and reasoning become final and cannot be changed any more. So everyone can double check everything. In case of some last minute situation, it is still possible to add competing initiatives. But they cannot be edited again and need to gain supporters from scratch.
(4) Voting phase
Every initiative reaching a required quorum of supporters at the end of the verification phase is admitted for voting and appears on the voting ballot. During the voting phase every eligible participant may give a vote using a preferential voting system allowing to express individual preferences between the initiatives in addition to a yes/neutral/no vote.
Delegations allow for a dynamic division of labor. A delegation is a proxy statement (voting power under a power of attorney), can be altered at any time, is not bound to directives and can be delegated onward. Delegations can be used for a whole organizational unit, for a subject area within an organizational unit, or for a specific issue. More specific delegations overrule more general delegations. Delegations are used in both the discourse (phase 1 to 3) and the voting phase. Any activity suspends existing delegations for the given activity.
If there are similar competing proposals on the ballot, there is no necessity to choose one of them. Instead, it is possible to vote for (and against) as many initiatives as one wants to while being able to express the individual preferences amongst those initiatives during voting phase. Those preferences will determine the winner if more than one initiative has reached the necessary majority of approvals at end of voting phase. That way, nobody is encouraged to vote in favor of one initiative just to outrank another one, and nobody is encouraged to vote against an initiative just to increase the chances for another initiative to win.