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answer recommendation

Although it resembles a voting system in some ways, answer recommendation is a class of distributed, scalable, question-answering algorithms. It tries to find the most qualified person to answer a question, and recommends that answer to others based on various qualifications.

A type of answer recommendation called 'liquid democracy'(external link) relies on "a function, if you will, which takes a question as an argument, and returns a list of answers to that question, sorted in order of popular preference (via approval voting". This is quite similar to the way the Green Party of Canada sorts Answers to Questionnaires, preferring the official answers of Advocates, backing off to shared candidate or policy troll? answers if such "official" answers are not available, and applying rank a plank - a form of approval voting to the results to see which answers the candidates as a whole are most comfortable with. However these are just examples of the idea:

"All such algorithms work by chaining recommended answers to questions, like so: Lets say I think you really know your stuff with respect to medical policy issues. Every time a question about medical policy issues is raised, I ask you (or my computer asks your computer) for a recommendation about how to answer that question. I might collect recommendations from multiple sources, pass some on to other people, review the ones I like, and answer the question accordingly - or I might just set up my Liquid Democracy software to automatically answer the question in the way you recommended."

"When described this way, LD seems to belong to a more general class of things than voting systems. Would we call representative democracy a voting system? Usually when people say "voting system", they mean a specific implementation of representative democracy, rather then representative democracy itself. The same distinction comes in handy here. Liquid Democracy stands as an alternative to direct and representative democracy, but they each can be implemented in 17 hojillion ways - all kinds of voting systems can be designed which use direct, liquid, or representative democracy."

"Liquid Democracy can be thought of as a function, if you will, which takes a question as an argument, and returns a list of answers to that question, sorted in order of popular preference (via approval voting - an integral but often-overlooked aspect of LD)."

There is also a "distinction between answer recommendation and vote proxying. People need to see what answers are being recommended to them before they decide how to answer the question at hand. With vote proxying, they can't do that! Vote proxying puts the power in the hands of the proxy - answer recommendation keeps the power in the hands of the people (or, at the edges of the network) where it belongs."



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