1.11.2004


"Real Time Democracy" vs. Turn Based Democracy


Huzzah! I get to put some of this gamer lingo into use.

There's a genre of video games called Real Time Strategy, often shortened to RTS. It refers to those over-head view war games such as the Command & Counquer and Warcraft series. In these games you have your army of individual units and you are tasked with going out and blowing up the other guy's stuff. Their defining property is that the game is fluid. The clock is running. Units move immediately on command and so do the enemy's.

Turn based strategy is a different animal. This is the genre of Risk. It's a more complicated (or simplistic, depending on your opinion) electronic chess. You stage your pieces in anticipation of your opponent's moves, then you end your turn and the enemy responds to the changes you've made, stages his pieces then it's your turn again.

If I may make a (rather poor) analogy, what you're seeing is the difference between the Internet and a town council.

The Internet is fluid chaos with meme's (units) moving, morphing, being built, and dying out at a furious pace. Links(resources) are gathered and employed to influence hearts and minds, and it's all happening 24-7.

The town council is less frequent. People go out and sign petitions(alliances), gather statistics(resources), make pamphlet and prepare themselves for the coming meeting. Once the meeting is over, you've seen what your opponents have been doing, and you adjust accordingly in preperation of the next meeting.

"Real Time Democracy" is taking the town meeting outside of city hall, and waging the ideological war 24-7.

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