How would people behave if society could vote to send people to a rubbish planet?

Let's say that due to some intricate societal laws and advanced technology, people were allowed to nominate someone for a "judgement". This person who is nominated, is usually someone who is terrible; the likes of people who trample on the less fortunate to have their way (in politics, business or even social life).

If the person is deemed unworthy, then they are immediately transported to a harsh planet, which is basically a death sentence.

Now what would happen is someone, let's call them John, starts being a real a-hole. Wants to make a lot of money and become famous, and doesn't care what happens to people who are affected by his poor decisions. Someone who makes his business by creating a dangerous drug which he advertises as safe and harmless. He also creates a much needed drug which is only available overseas, he charges three times the amount.

This happens all the time, but this particular person keeps on standing by their choices and just says "business is business", "I do it because I can" or "I can't hear you over these piles of cash I have".

Society just gets tired of his ways, and decides to nominate him for judgement.

He presents his case in an open, online-based trial and anyone in the world who would like to, decides to vote.

If the votes are for him, then he goes on living whichever life he chooses. If the votes are against him, then he is sent to this undesirable planet.

How would people in the world behave if people could vote to send you to another planet?

Rules/assumptions:

• All normal laws (International and Domestic) are valid and are the same as the current state and take precedent
• So if you were to murder someone, and were dealt with by the normal law, then that would be that, you can't be nominated for that reason
• A "nominee" needs a sufficient amount of nominations to be up for "judgement" in a fair manner
• Anything you say or do (online, or physical) can be used for or against your case
• A majority vote (even by one vote) is binding. A tied vote is in favour of the nominee
• You cannot be nominated for the same reason twice (double-jeopardy I think it's called)
• Due to intricate systems, it is impossible to rig or bribe the votes/voters (voting is 100% honest and accurate).
• Hi all, thanks for all of your responses. There are too many for me to answer quickly. First point: I've updated 'double-jeopardy'. Second point: you're all correct, 100 nominations is too few, so I've removed the hard set limit; the point isn't the number of nominations, more-so what happens afterward. – Möoz Aug 2 '16 at 3:47
• Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Aug 5 '16 at 23:26
• So... Basically a high-tech worldwide Athens? – Xandar The Zenon Aug 16 '16 at 0:07

You don't have to rely purely on hypothesis to answer this question - we have an historical example of behaviour quite similar to this: Ancient Athens.

The process of Ostracism (from which we derive our modern usage of the word) was one where citizens of Athens could vote to exile anyone for a period of 10 years. This was part of their democratic system for about 100 years.

People didn't have to specify a reason for wanting to exile someone - the assembly would be asked if they wanted to hold an ostracism, if they voted 'Yes', then the Ostracism would be held, where people could vote against whomever they wanted (there was no 'nominating' process), and the person with the most votes against them would be exiled if they got more than 6,000 votes. (Note that the number of citizens in Athens at this time was about 30,000, voting wasn't mandatory, and there could be any number of candidates for exile, so 6,000 is actually a rather high bar).

Initially, it seems to have been used as a safeguard against tyrants, but there is evidence that people voted against people for all sorts of reasons - in particular, there is the story of Aristides "the Just":

Now at the time of which I was speaking, as the voters were inscribing their ostraka, it is said that an unlettered and utterly boorish fellow handed his ostrakon to Aristides, whom he took to be one of the ordinary crowd, and asked him to write Aristides on it.
He, astonished, asked the man what possible wrong Aristides had done him. ‘None whatever,’ was the answer, ‘I don't even know the fellow, but I am tired of hearing him everywhere called 'The Just.'’ On hearing this, Aristides made no answer, but wrote his name on the ostrakon and handed it back. Plutarch, Aristides 7.5-6

One could probably draw a modern-day parallel with Brexit voters, many of whom seemed to have voted for it for reasons that had little to nothing to do with the EU.

• Note that in the case of ostracism, the person was allowed to return after 10 years didn't lose his wealth. A hardship, but anyone who was prominent enough to be ostracized could probably find a place to land for the duration. – chrylis -on strike- Aug 1 '16 at 17:19
• @chrylis In this Greek system could you be ostracized twice? – Caimen Aug 3 '16 at 20:35
• @Caimen It's possible that Megacles and Alcibiades were ostracized twice, though the records are unclear. – chrylis -on strike- Aug 3 '16 at 21:06

A weapon of mass destruction

What you're doing here is giving people the ability to kill off anyone they choose, for any reason and completely legally, just by majority vote. That's pretty huge, and would certainly result in a different society than what we have. It goes against many beliefs we have today. Democratic nations wouldn't like it because you're taking away rule of law and replacing justice with rule of the mob - if enough people think someone should be punished with this then they will be, guilty or not. Undemocratic nations wouldn't really like it either, since the will of people now overrides whatever way they have of keeping in charge. No modern government would really want this, at all. You didn't specify what society is like before this (except "advanced technology") so I'll assume something similar to present day as a starting point to see what would change.

Politics

There are two ways of being more likely to be nominated: being known by many people, and being more disliked than liked. First off, politicians and world leaders would be big targets. Think Putin's Russia is being too imperialistic? Don't like what direction Erdogan is going with Turkey? You think this newest presidential candidate would be the worst thing that ever happened to America? Congratulations, you can nominate them. You'll probably win too - it's pretty easy to quickly rifle up a group of angry people to vote your way and you don't need a majority of all people, only of the people who care enough to vote.

After a while you would settle in with a new kind of world leaders, ones who are safe, likeable, nonthreatening and play to what the people want so that don't get nominated. These people might not really be in charge though, but instead puppets for the people who really rule the countries and are smart enough to stay in the shadows. So what looks like a tool for democracy might lead to a less democratic world.

Fame

The second big target after politicians would be celeberties. Couldn't you imagine 4chan making a raid to get Justin Beiber voted off? If they failed, they can just try again later - they can just make up a new bullshit reason every time. And they only have to succeed once. If celebrities stay in this new world, they will probably want to stay local or anonymous. Even today anyone even remotely famous receives tons of death threats and abuse - if it becomes so easy to make good on the threats with no repercussions, it might be even less worth it to be famous than it is today.

Religion

A thousand people sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. There are estimated to be about 25 000 scientologists in the US, and they have a history of mobilising their members for propaganda, information control and other creepy business. They could certainly set up constant nominations of anyone they consider an enemy, opposition or a traitor. Many votes would probably fail, but with persistence some would not. When some pass, there starts to be a huge incentive to not go against the church of scientology. And there are many other cults around with thousands of members who could do the same thing - or new ones could be formed.

Then of course there are more mainstream religions. These tend to be more sensible, but they also have much larger memberships and usually have fundamentalist branches that claim to speak for all. What might they encourage? I don't know, but we would soon find out.

Summary

I don't know exactly what kind of society would think this system would be a good idea and implement it. All I know is that it would be very different from ours, and I wouldn't want to live there.

• Formatting note: see the editing toolbar for headers. Don't fake it with an all-bold paragraph. You even can get multiple header levels. – JDługosz Aug 1 '16 at 14:27
• I see, thank you. I wrote this on mobile where there is no editing toolbar, so I just did something easy. I'll try to format better in the future. – Grollo Aug 1 '16 at 15:34
• There are a couple ways to enter headers. If typing manually, I like to use leading # characters (more of them for deeper breakhead levels). BTW I could not stand the mobile app and just use the normal web page on a tablet. – JDługosz Aug 1 '16 at 15:55
• In addition to your summary, it sounds like the harsh planet would actually be a sweet relief compared to the pitfalls of this theoretical society. Maybe this society is the harsh planet in question and so many citizens have been sent there that they don't even know they came from somewhere else. – MonkeyZeus Aug 1 '16 at 20:21
• I could see rebels and religions voting to send all their members to the new planet in the hope it was a better society, even if a worse environment. They'd call it "New Australia" or somesuch. – Dewi Morgan Aug 2 '16 at 0:41

A lot of people here seem to be getting caught up in judging the system rather than answering the question:

How would people in the world behave if people could vote to send you to another planet?

People in this society would probably pay very close attention to their public perception. Marketing and PR would be very important, even to moderately notable individuals. Making sure that your every action is either seen as good or not seen at all would be important, so you can bet there'd be less transparency all around.

Some few people, usually survivalists, counterculture extremists, and brazen criminals, would actively seek to be exiled, for various purposes.

It would be possible - and people would very likely do this - to game the system by acting when the public attention is focused on someone else. If someone else in a high-profile case is going to judgment, then you are freer to act nasty in their shadow, while no one else is paying attention. This already happens in the real world, where politicians and companies are known to take advantage of dominating news cycles to take actions that they feel should avoid public scrutiny. The public referenda would provide one more such distraction.

It would also be the case, given the low 1,000 person requirement for nomination, that relatively small special-interest groups would dominate politics. This program of judgment would provide such groups with a mouthpiece for expressing their dislike of an individual - even if it were extremely unlikely that their nominee would actually be sent into exile, they would still nominate them to get the stain of that ignominy on their enemy's good name.

This would also be used by the public, when whipped into a frenzy, to serve the people's justice when the courts didn't - OJ would have been exiled, as would many of the police recently entangled with the BLM movement's wrath.

Which leads me to my final point: after a while, this would cease to have the stigma that you'd think it would. Given the relatively low barriers to its use and abuse, the whole system would eventually be something of a trial by fire and really kind of a grotesque "vetting" of any political or pop culture figurehead.

What's really interesting is what happens to the planet of exile after long enough. Do you get another Australia? Depending on how hostile it is to human life, you might. Or do you get, perhaps, a monstrous boneyard, a giant planetary tomb which journalists investigate on tip-toe in their efforts to discredit the system - or do you get a cultural blind spot - a place and concept so horrible nobody wants to talk about it or acknowledge its existence - a death sentence, carried out without due process of law, able to strike down infants and old men as equally as criminals with blood on their hands, a brutal enforcement of social norms by reign of terror?

• This most closely relates to my actual question. Thank you. – Möoz Aug 2 '16 at 3:52

I think one of the big problems with this idea is that pretty much anyone who is well-known will have a significant amount of people who hate them - and in some cases may gain more haters than those who would care about them enough to vote in their favor. Doing anything interesting or notable will be risky business in this world, so the world might wind up more boring overall.

Politics might actually improve though. In our world, politics is as much a matter of knocking down other candidates as it is boosting your own. Spread enough hate, and swing voters will start to see both major candidates as being terrible, only choosing one to keep the lesser of two evils out of office. If gaining enough hate in the public eye (regardless of how people view you relative to your opponent) means being shipped off to Space Australia, slandering opponents - and being slandered yourself in retaliation - carries a much greater risk. Politicians would have to focus on their own positives instead of their opponents' negatives.

Lets accept the voting system as valid and working.

I would suspect that after a given length of time society would collapse. Technology would progress at a slower rate, and most fields would become stagnant.

Here's the why:

In our society today, we have what I call the "greater moral range" that is a narrow band of moral decisions and topics that everyone can agree on. That "greater moral range" is actually quite small. It changes frequently, but is important. It's the scope in which you can do "things" with no side effects.

Then you have the "normal moral rage". That is the range of things that are considered at least moral enough, that no one cares enough to make a big stink over, or at the very least, can go "well they are wrong but it doesn't effect me", or "different strokes for different folks". This is a very narrow band as well, but it's generally tied to some form of geographic area, or religious belief. Maybe country or region.

Third is the "lessor moral range". This is the area that people think your doing something wrong and will actively try to stop you. This is a wider net, but still, general pretty narrow.

Last is the "outer moral range". This range is the wide one. This is for the actions and decisions that are just wrong, and everyone can agree they are wrong.

Now lets take some examples. Please excuse the harshness of them.

1. You should beat your wife daily. Today, not a good thing, 200 years ago, normal. So is that really where you want your society to stay. Keep up the wife beatings, or you will fall into the lessor or outer moral range?

2. Slave owning is fine. Again, 300 years ago, it was not only "ok" but you were doing your slaves a service. Anyone that spoke out against that or worked against that idea would have been in the lessor, or outer moral ranges again.

3. Kill all Jews. Now, obviously we think this is a bad thing, but time and time again in history, we see this as a common theme. And not only is Jewish killing OK, but working against it was thought of as unmoral.

4. Human rights. We now think of human rights as a good thing, but there was a time when that wasn't so. That suggesting that you feed your enemy, don't boil the heretic in oil, don't flay the thief, etc, would have gotten you dead right beside them.

The point is this. Our morality evolves over time. Things that we now think of in the outer or lessor moral ranges were at one time, core beleifes and part of the greater or normal moral range. What would happen if you just started teleportation the people that the "crowd" didn't agree with to another planet? Well then our greater moral range would never shift. We would never better our selves.

Remember that all great leaps (and even the small ones) start with some "jack ass" standing up for what they believe in. Be un-moving in their convictions, and standing their ground no matter what. If you could just teleport those people off the planet, then we would never grow. Things would never change, and our society would just become stagnant.

• Good point. Do you thinks there is no circumstances where it can work better then current mechanisms ? – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 3:40
• Our "current mechanisms" work fine. They are the results of many years of refinement. The fact that we "have" to deal with the outliers is exactly what allows us to change (for better or worse). – coteyr Aug 3 '16 at 11:04
• I got point of your answer, of that better for changes, let it be as it is. Sure it works fine enough, but could be Op system be better then our current, after some rfining? – MolbOrg Aug 4 '16 at 12:55

I think it would be much easier to abuse than you would like - and correspondingly, the behavior would alter in favor of those more ruthless, not against them. Joe would probably be much better able to send to the other planet, those who object to him, rather than the other way around - which means more people would act like him, and fewer would dare to object.

So, first, you need someone to keep track of what is an exile-worthy offense or not. What those factors are, and how they're portrayed, is going to be very important. There's lots of historical precedence for people judging, with harsh penalties, "moral" values that do no harm (personal preferences like sexuality or religious beliefs) over "practical" values that do a lot of harm (practices like exploitation in the name of business, or socially common abuses). It probably won't take much before people are exiling for "being different" without harm, and leaving be those who cause harm in expected ways.

Next, there will be a really, really clear power differential based on online presence. After all, the trial depends on whatever is being said online about him, and the online doesn't really have a mechanism for being verified as truthful.

Joe, with his lots of money, can fund a big website devoted to his charitable acts (whatever they may be), and populated by his friends, acquaintances, or yes men. He can fund a genuinely useful or popular site, and use it to spread bits of pro-Joe propaganda. He can fund a few online rants, through proxies against some person who's questioning his practices, and make it look like they're persecuting him or others who are successful in business, this person has a grudge, they're being mean.

So, someone who is quiet and minding their own business, will not have a strong online presence to debunk any claims made against them. Anyone who does have a strong online presence, will have people for and against them, people who think the world of them or hate them - its human nature to polarize. A few big, showy, well trafficked pages (something which, unfortunately, money can manipulate) can swing opinion about somebody in a big way - especially in a very large community (all of online-world), where people who actually know the person are very, very few. And, even at the very worst, it can be easy for Joe to swing up enough dirt about whoever is complaining about Joe, to make it look like an argument, opposing viewpoints, and mutual antipathy rather than "Joe is being a real jerk" - which can derail the voting-for-exile process altogether.

What process is there for verifying things attributed to a person are really from them, especially online actions which use screen-names? Joe can deny that the nasty rant posted under a similar screen-name is his, or can fake up a nasty, obviously biased, anti-Joe rant under an opponent's screen-name to undermine their credibility. What process is there for verifying that nominations are made by people with a real or even personal grievance, instead of people who find a ranting webpage, take a side based on the clever portrayal of one-sided or biased information, and bounce over to fill the nomination forms without verifying what's going on?

And, finally, once you have your thousand nominations - who gets to set up the voting process, and what information is given, in what priority? Does the page list the person and grievances against them first, does it have a space for the person's defense, does it show the votes for and against (people tend to vote with the "winning" side - so an early imbalance, even if not based on factual evidence, can influence a swell in public opinion and manipulate the voting). Does it rank these kinds of resources by how much they're verified, how much they're viewed, what kinds of things they directly said or participated in, or what things other people are saying about them? Does it include the context and behavior of the accusers?

Context is key. Context is key. And online presences can be manipulated in a lot of ways, both legitimately or covertly. The voting will not decide whether the person is exiled to another planet or not - the process for deciding what context will be used to show Joe's life and character, and the grievances against him (and the actions and characters of his accusers) will influence the vast majority of people into voting one way or another. The contributions from those who know Joe and are themselves for and against him, and the contributions of those who carefully researched and weighed the evidence and judged him - are both going to be overwhelmed by the huge numbers, the majority of the world's population who haven't met him, and don't really know what's going on, but are influenced by popular opinion and the context in which he is presented.

Just take a look at online witch hunts - proof is a lot less important than how something can be made to seem.

Look up ancient Athens Greece.

They had thing called Ostracism where every year it was asked if the citizens would like to banish someone. If the answer was yes a vote was taken and if certain voting requirements were met the "winner" would be banished for 10 years after having 10 days to wrap up their affairs.

Ok - first Problem: There would be thousands of votes each day. If you need only 1000 people to nominate someone, there would be endless nominations - and who has the time to do a thousand votes each day? Imagine a single appeal would take 5 minutes to present the accusation and 5 minutes for the defence. So a single judgment would take at least 10minutes of my time, if I want to read anything about the case, the people involved and background info to cast an informed vote, I would need at least an hour or two.

That means a normal busy adult simply wouldn't have the time to participate fully in a lot of votes. What if someone from china is voted on in the middle of the night? I don't even speak chinese, but I could vote on him, couldn't I ?

So the result would be that most votes would come from a big mass of people who don't take the time to read anything about the case, but just cast random votes or all yes/ all no on all votes which are open that day. - So whatever the accusation the random worldwide voting could lead to any verdict and will have much more power than the informed maybe 10.000 votes who have actually read the case-file.

Now lets see our current world - there are a lot of people who feel strongly against the death penalty, I think a lot more people then there are people who like to randomly destroy or see people get killed. - If there is only one pro-life activist in every 10.000 People on the world in a population of 8billion. That would be 800.000 pro-life activists in the world, who would just vote "LIVE" on every vote worldwide.

I think almost no one would get exiled in the end.

• You do not understand the system - no one can vote for million propositions, and it is not needed. Any currently in use like dislike system, is like OP suggests. OP was not totally clear about that, but it looks very familiar. In most cases such system works good enough. Such system do not needs for each to vote for each case. But yes there are some place for improvements. – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 3:20
• @MolbOrg I think you do not understand current like/dislike Systems. Take for example StackExchange. Anyone on the planet could vote on every question/answer. It is just that most people don't care enough to spend time voting on random questions on the internet. But if the result of voting is killing people and I can vote on any presented case, I will want to use that right! - If a question on SE gets voted down by idiots, hard luck. But if an innocent person dies because I was too lazy to vote? – Falco Aug 2 '16 at 14:32
• It is just that most people don't care enough to spend time voting on random questions on the internet. - this is the point, U understood it correctly. If a question on SE gets voted down by idiots, hard luck - that's why I read them carefully, A and Q which are downvoted - and upvote them even if I do not like them, but see that they have at least some sense in some situation. Because I do not like them being downvoted by some who did't understood them, or had bad mood. With OP system we probably will change roles. – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 15:21

Appealing to the "lowest common demoninator" of your peers = optimal survival strategy.

Whatever one would do to get the highest voted comment on a YouTube video or Reddit comment feed, is now analogous to what behavior you'd have to do to not get "downvoted to Planet Rubbish."

Except, YouTube comments / Reddit are slightly above average in terms of population, so, who knows. For your story, it might require everyone become really nationalist so they don't get "downvoted to Planet Rubbish for not going along with 'if you don't like Dudestan or go back to where you came from!' -- which maybe Corporate Media would successfully have marketed... unless somehow Corporate Media got "downvoted to Planet Rubbish" for promoting nationalism. But let's be realistic ;)

• Ohh man, I would downvote all media caught on incorrect information representation, caught on not truing stay in margin of error and pretending to be 100% correct. – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 3:44

Since there were several great answers to the question, I will just add my 2 cents, and some questions for you to think about.

For a judgement in world-wide scale, a nomination of 1000 is too low. Supposing that radical (and rabid) minorities, which could nominate a person just because he/she is "the enemy", can be about 1% of a population, a nomination should require at least that many votes: about 70 million these days. People that have that much popularity would have to be very careful about all they say and do, or not be popular anymore: anything can spark the flame of haters.

Since common crimes aren't cause for nomination, what actions, precisely, are cause for nomination? On what laws they are written? Do all countries agree on what are these actions, or it depends on the social mores on each country?

What is the standard of evidence for/against the nominated? Is hearsay ( valid as evidence? Who presents the evidence for the voters to examine, and how? Can someone check that the voters actually examined the evidence?

• this 1000 threshold is ok even in ww voting system, just clean noise from our neighbors and occasional persons. Today's threshold is 1 and library of laws - we are not dying because of that. – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 3:49

This is not a complete answer, just some more consequences.

As @coteyr points out, social progression will essentially end.

Furthermore, anyone who is famous in some way will easily have 1000 people who dislike them, regardless of how "likable" they may be. Whether or not they'd be voted off or not doesn't change the threat of being nominated, which would certainly curb some people's quest for fame.

As an example, consider the presidential nominees for any given countries election. Do any of them have a majority of the vote for acceptance? Would those opposed be willing to use banishment to remove the opposition?

We can also assume that (especially with such a low threshold for nomination) that there will be far more people nominated than society at large could vote on.

So one of two things would happen:

1. Enough of the population would stand up against banishment by generally voting "no" on any banishment, whether they had information about it or not.
2. Banishment would happen on a localized level with a number of votes cast that is proportional to the number of people effected.

If #1 does not occur, then non-famous people will be banished with a small number of votes. If that's the case, then you are almost guaranteed another consequence, which is that underground businesses will arise that will sell banishment votes so that those with enough money can banish anyone they please. Which will then setup a protection racket as well, where people can buy votes to keep from getting banished. Consequence? People would earn income off of selling their votes (even if illegal, this would be near impossible to track or prove unless you vetted all votes to ensure they had some connection to the actual person involved). Consequence? Those with money would be able to "shape" society by banishing anyone against them, though over time this would actually have the interesting effect of flattening out income across the population through redistribution of wealth.

One last thought, if banishment continued to occur and whittled away at the population, if there was ever a group that achieved majority status (such as a religion), they could simply vote everyone else off the planet. Though one can presume that there would be a revolt before that occurred.

Interesting question - and not that far from the current society that many modern countries find themselves in since democracy abounds and by voting on our legislative and judicial branches we are effectively (indirectly) voting on who is banished from society.

A lot of people would die

Anger tends to elicit action than peace/indifference/compassion.

You are more likely to rage out a one-star review for bad service.

You are far less likely to leave a 5-star review for good service.

A large number of angry people would downvote people (pretty much every politician ever will die). A small number of happy people will dedicate time defending others with their votes.

• Although you describe right observation, this video disagrees with you: Primitive Technology: Forge Blower 6 million views in 3 days, 168'000 likes and 1214 dislikes. Yes that's only 2 options 5star or -1star review-vote. 5.8 millions didn't maked any review (kind 2-3-4 star reviews which are not written) - but those who did negative review are less then 0.72%. What you describe have place, but you have understand why it's happening. And positive reaction may be not less persistent in doing things then negative reaction, I have seen, experienced. – MolbOrg Aug 2 '16 at 9:19

I don't think there's validity to your question, simply because there is absolutely no way on this Earth that voting is 100% honest and accurate!

There will always be some guy voted against, who happens to be the son of some duke, that magically ends up not being exiled!!

There will always be the ones with the power and the people. And where there is power, corruption inevitably follows.

• Aside from wanting to make a point about nepotism and corruption, what exactly does this bring to the question? the question even says that the vote is binding. This should happen with the current laws as well, but we still have people like that rich kid who killed 4 people and injured 9 more in an accident and got off with probation (and he still violated that as well). There will always be cases where the public opinion disagrees with the legal verdict, but that shouldn't just mean we should abolish all laws because they can be abused. – Nzall Aug 1 '16 at 14:27
• He’s as much on-point as tge other answersv just briefer. – JDługosz Aug 1 '16 at 14:29