Institute for Web Science and Technologies · Universität Koblenz - Landau
Institute WeST

Honourable Mention for Research on LiquidFeedback by WeST, IWVI and GESIS.

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Researchers from the institutes WeST and Information Systems (IWVI) as well as from GESIS have received an honourable mention at this year's International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM-15). They investigated the process of democratic decision making over the web.

The research focused on the LiquidFeedback platform of the German Pirate Party which enables citizens to participate in political processes more directly. By use of the platform citizens can vote on proposals by the party or delegate their vote to other users. Critics however worry that such delegations could accumulate at certain users and by this lead to so called super-voters. These super-voters in turn might become highly powerful and undermine the democratic process. The research work however shows: Although super-voters could in theory acquire significant influence, empirical data indicates that they use their power wisely. They have a stabilising effect on the voting system and keep the democratic process running.

By the honourable mention, the organisers of the International Conference on Web and Social Media declare the research paper by WeST, IWVI and GESIS as one of the best out of around 100 accepted submissions. In addition, all accepted submissions underwent a strict review process with an acceptance rate of 20%. Within its nine years of existence, the conference has become a premier forum at the intersection of computer science and social science. It focuses on research on human social behaviour in social media.

Paper reference:

  • Christoph Carl Kling, Jérôme Kunegis, Heinrich Hartmann, Markus Strohmaier, Steffen Staab (2015): Voting Behaviour and Power in Online Democracy: A Study of LiquidFeedback in Germany's Pirate Party. Proc. Int. Conf. on Weblogs and Social Media. URL:


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