Reimagining Platform Governance

Social Platform Governance is the art, science, and structure of harmonious living that considers association with other people, the good of each participant, the whole body of people, and fulfilment of common purpose or goals.

We often say that a perfectly competitive, free market based on mutual benefit is the perfect democracy. As subscribers transition to eCitizen status, people who share our core identity and goals, do so with a personal stake in the well-being of the community, not just a parochial interest in the platform's benefits and features.

This concept of governance employs a participatory system based on stakeholder status, earned standing, and organic cohesiveness in a way that is uncommon. eCitizens are platform customers not simply users or subjects. Their ability to provide ongoing feedback in helping to determine current and future development priorities and standards is critical to our ability to stay ahead of the innovation curve in a practical and engaging way.

In our social platform, everyone can gain standing through merit comprised of points (in proposed future releases), badges, ranks, and other forms of recognition. Subscribers (as eCitizens) may be asked to join advisory Round Tables or participate in an Ethics Committee to help sort out governance issues in groups and forums they frequent.

Our social platform governance system depends on administration, guides, and various leaders as well as subscribers volunteering for governance support functions, like moderating a forum or group. However, governance is more than "moderating," it is mostly guiding, which includes supporting participants, providing information, being a resource for technical or other questions, and helping participants learn to use features and tools. Our Community Development Plan envisions growing in four ways:

1) Adding Features and Functions
Initially, the platform will offer premium content and education with social networking and social media functions. This will allow for gathering a base of subscribers to support the growth of the platform and community.

2) Development of a Governance Team
Our concept for growth is to build a governance team who can service far more participants than exist at any given time. This team will serve while developing and adding new features, services, and areas as well as creating special interest or regional to local chapter groups. Just as a fish may grow as big as its environment allows, a community cannot grow bigger than its governance team can serve. Insufficient governance structure is why many of the major platforms have opaque and uneven standards and experience chaos.

3) Growth Through Engagement
In this model, marketing efforts, publications, digital resources, and referrals by participants will result in people signing up for basic levels or types of subscriptions. New subscribers will engage with and be engaged by the community resulting in movement into other levels and types of subscriptions or memberships

4) Growth through Cellular Division
The Upadaria Platform is a collection of communities and small groups that are limited in size. For instance, a Virtual Estate* (small group) may have up to 120 participants before it subdivides into three new groups which are then likewise enabled to grow until they subdivide. Virtual Estates are based on geographic proximity of participants, as they subdivide, people within them become closer and closer in proximity.

(*The Virtual Estate Group is a developing feature for future releases. Initially participants will affiliate with larger geographic groups that will not subdivide. A Virtual Estate will model a physical hub location, and feature clustered housing, that includes a Shirehold and facilities for platform subscribers and space for residents who are not Society members. An Estate is a private physical development that is potentially owned by the local Society Chapter Group and ideally serves subscribers and the public.)

Our platform is a paid subscription platform for three reasons. We do not want to depend on corporate backers and the strings that come with that. We desire to create a robust governance infrastructure and support team that will serve people in a personal and transparent way. This model will be leveraged as a means of partially funding our genesis projects.

With a paid subscriber model, as big as it grows, Upadaria will always be many hundreds and thousands of small, manageable communities from special interest groups to local chapter groups which have real-life, human beings guiding them who always welcome the engagement of participants in the governance process.

By studying our Model Government in The Blue Book of Upadaria you can gain insights into the overall concept. We are working to create a participant-based structure to both advise the administration and to simulate the fictional timeline. This will include things like plurality of leadership, different structures for different purposes, the supremacy of principles, collaborative decision-making, and the four core ideals.

We believe that what will emerge will be a structure that is, by design, more participatory, principled, flexible, and results-oriented than existing concepts.

Key Elements of Platform Governance

Our approach to community governance within our platform comes from a place of voluntary free association, explicitly defined standards and norms, fair and just administration, and maximum participation by everyone engaged in the platform.

We apply a balance of Upadaria's four core ideals (Unum, Populum, Demos, and Regium) which reflect a Biblical understanding of Unity in diversity, Popular sovereignty, Democratic equality, and Rule of law as explained in our Philosophy section.

We use custom charters or standards based on locations (location-specific activities, content, and norms apply in different places) and free associations (members of the community choose the desired standards, access, and how governance is applied)

We believe in freedom of speech and association which necessitates a condition of participation in prior agreement with Upadarian goals, standards, and norms based on subscription type, the platform is not open to everyone.

We believe in engaging all participants and maintaining the means of being transparent, receiving feedback, and including participants to advise and counsel platform administration in a way that far exceeds existing platforms

We seek to be as transparent and consistent as possible and we make every effort to enforce our standards and principles with as much grace and consistency as possible.

Some things cannot be defined but everyone knows when someone is "gaming the system" to cause disruptions or to otherwise disrupt people's experience, for which Ethics Committees are created to judge matters that we feel a consensus of participants is needed before a final judgment.

While governance does require moderation, for a number of legal and moral reasons, our approach is to empower Guides to support, facilitate, and nurture the community as opposed to ruling over it as moderators who just "enforce the law" so to speak.

Our larger vision for human civilization is to promote the idea of free and pluralistic societies which allow for a balance of free association and tolerance that respect human agency, human dignity, and human flourishing without favoritism or discrimination; therefore we do not offer space to those who would seek to use our platform to promote anything illegal, violent, intolerant, or otherwise racist or bigoted.