My name is C.D. Madson and I’m the author of DEMOCRACY 2.0: Rules of Order for Everyday Democrats. I have degrees in Philosophy, Psychology and History and I’m also a Parliamentarian, which means I am an expert in the infamous and much maligned Robert’s Rules of Order. In fact I have written a rigorous mastery-level entrance exam on Robert’s Rules as a condition of entry into the National Association of Parliamentarians, of which I am a member.
I am here to ask you to support my Kickstarter for DEMOCRACY 2.0, but first I need to make a confession.
I love Robert’s Rules of Order! There I said it.
It is an extremely well-tuned and refined operating system. I wish everyone would learn it. For two decades I have defended it against nay-sayers and critics. Sadly, almost never have I met anyone who had a good thing to say about it.
Again and again I defended Bob’s Book, telling people it was misused, misunderstood, misapplied. If only they would actually learn the system, they would also come to recognize how good and wonderful it was. If only they would actually read it. Because the reality is that no one reads it. Eventually I came to realize something that changed my view forever: no one would ever read it!
Robert’s Rules of Order is just too big. At 716 pages, that’s just too cumbersome for 99% of the people who matter: the busy voting public who have lives and loves and places to be and things to do. Robert’s Rules is simply the wrong system for the vast majority of democratic organizations.
The reality is that for the democratic process to work, the process must be easy for everyone to understand and participate in, not just the elite few hacks with the time and aptitude to master a 716 page tome. Robert’s Rules is simply the wrong system for 99% of everyday democratic organizations. I had been trying to sell Unix to Mac users, and it’s no wonder they hated it!
THE RIGHT SYSTEM
The DEMOCRACY 2.0 rule system is designed to fill that void, as a democratic system for everyday use by everyday people facing everyday realities. It is pragmatic and simple. It keeps what works and throws out the rest. At only 39 pages, it’s the accessible, user-friendly, Keep-It-Simple-Stupid rules of order system that anyone can navigate with about as much investment as learning to operate that TV remote, or installing the latest social media app on your smartphone. Each of us has learned harder things for more trivial reasons.
DEMOCRACY 2.0 will not grind to gridlock the moment someone asserts their individual rights or refuses to bow to groupthink. Nor is it so formal and convoluted that it requires a degree in law or political science to navigate. It preserves the essential lessons learned from 2500 years of democratic trial and error, making it robust enough to channel strident disagreement into productive discourse while rigorous enough to insure the process is simple, efficient and decisive.
In short, the two-and-a-half-millennia year-old operating system of everyday democracy needs an upgrade to make it work for today’s citizens. The DEMOCRACY 2.0 rules of order system is that upgrade, but it is more. It is an attempt to restore our cultural birthright: the lost art of participatory democracy.
HOW IS DEMOCRACY 2.0 DIFFERENT?
Robert’s Rules of Order – 716 Pages
DEMOCRACY 2.0: The Voting Member’s Handbook – 39 Pages
The basic DEMOCRACY 2.0 rules of order manual is The Voting Member’s Handbook©, which is available as a PDF download with extensive internal hyperlinks ideal for quick reference on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. Contrasted with the 716 pages of Robert’s Rules of Order, at only 39 pages The Voting Member’s Handbook© is a rigorous and comprehensive rules of order system that is accessible to anyone and takes just a couple hours of reading to master.
I have analyzed and distilled the wisdom of 2500 years worth of trial-and-error democratic experimentation, keeping only what works and throwing out the rest. In so doing I have explicitly put the onus on the membership of an organization to exercise reason and common sense to regulate themselves according to 21 General Principles.
In the same way I have dramatically reduced the number of motions.
Robert’s Rules – 86 Motions
DEMOCRACY 2.0: The Voting Member’s Handbook – 9 Motions
For over a decade I have had this project on my back-burner. I now firmly believe the time is ripe for DEMOCRACY 2.0, and that is why I have launched a Kickstarter campaign to push the project over the top. I need your help to make it happen. Please go to my Kickstarter page and learn more.
As part of the Kickstarter campaign I am allowing potential backers to download and read The Voting Member’s Handbook© on the honor system.
Test it out at one of your meetings.
Send me feedback about what worked and what can be improved.
Generously support the Kickstarter campaign.
Tell your friends and colleagues about it.
Thank you so much for your time and for your support!