I follow Balaji S. Srinivasan, a startup guru, venture capitalist, and a free thinker… and you should too. Today on his 1729 blog he explored a seemingly audacious concept: “How to Start a New Country.”  I encourage you to read it- it’s not long, and by the end you will begin to see why a founder of an online community like CaucusRoom might take note. Here’s my initial reaction:

More Communities, Less Platforms

I greatly appreciate that Balaji sees a social network as a community, rather than a ‘platform.’ Platform is a word oriented around carpentry or physical construction. I’m not an engineer, but as a social network founder I believe the parlance of a community better suits a social network. ‘Code,’ ‘language,’ ‘functions,’ etc…are core to the terminology of a society governed by laws.

Whether or not an online community evolves into a physical manifestation, like Ayn Rand’s “Galt’s Gulch,” it benefits us all to participate in online communities in which the governance embodies the best ‘real world’ systems of government. Back to this in a minute.

The Foundation: Citizenship, Rights, Governance

A lasting community requires the founders to establish some profound yet basic building blocks: Citizenship (Who can join? Is everyone equal in power?), Rights (what belongs to the citizens that can’t be taken?), Enumerated Powers (who has the right to make decisions that affect citizens, individually or collectively?). How do we propose, create, and implement new rules? How can we adjudicate and penalize rule breakers? Do the citizens get a say? Can they appeal decisions? Who is the ultimate authority? All of this should be laid out in a Constitution. If it’s a democracy… and I hope it is… how will people vote? What else can they do to interact with the governing body?

CaucusRoom, a Constitutional Republic… online, and in spirit.

My team and I built an online community for conservatives governed by an elected council of its members (two members per time zone plus one at large- US only). Learn more at https://about.caucusroom.com/documents.

Could CaucusRoom ever become a country? No. We love the United States- we just needed a place to caucus, and the existing selection of online ‘platforms’ were not built for that purpose. The United States’ Founders understood and methodically adhered to the concepts listed above. We want CaucusRoom to grow and last many generations- and governance, not engineering, provides the key to longevity. We figured the US Constitution– the oldest and most sturdy constitution in the world– offered the best template.

CaucusRoom Council Elections were held in December (CaucusRoom has its own in-site voting system for its citizens). The CaucusRoom Council began meeting and lawmaking in January, 2021.

Interested? Join our community! Or to discuss further, write us at [email protected]

-Matt Knoedler
Co-Founder and CEO