GHOP, Drupal, and the Right to Vote

GHOP stands for Google Highly Open Participation contest. It has started in late November, and will be finished by February. Already, an amazing amount of work has been completed. This project is succeeding at harnessing the power of people under 18 at quickly understanding new, complex things (that take adults years to understand) in less than an hour.

I am not surprised by this. Children and teenagers are smarter than adults, as has been proven time and time again. Google Summer of Code, aimed at college-level students, has not produced nearly as many results as this contest has.

As for the age requirements, they make sense on the upper boundary - the purpose of this contest is to get children into open source from a young age - but the lower boundary? That's just silly. There are some very brilliant 10-12 year olds already involved in Drupal who can't take part in this contest. Why not? The point is to improve open source by getting young people involved in it: who's younger than people 13-18? People 12 and under. Yet they cannot participate, which strikes me as unfair and counter-productive.

Since young people have proved that they've outsmarted adults to the greatest extent possible, why do we continue to deny them the right to vote? Children, although surveys show they have greater support for things like peace, democracy, and freedom than adults, are denied the right to vote on the excuse "They're too young to understand." Excuse me? Um... no. Maybe you're too old to understand, but do we deny the right to vote to 90-year-old right wing conservatives? No. Do we deny the right to vote to 15-year-old left wing liberals? Yes. Is this fair? No. Absolutely not. It is a desperate attempt to hold on to power by the ruling class, an effort that will ultimately fail.



It's not that were smarter,

It's not that we're smarter, we have more free time on our hands, and as our minds haven't finished developing, we can learn stuff much more easily. And you're making the intelligent teenagers represent the majority, which, unfortunately they don't.

It IS that young people are smarter

I quote you, "we can learn stuff much more easily" - isn't that the exact definition of "smarter"? And as to the argument that I'm "making the intelligent teenagers represent the majority" - can you seriously argue that the majority of the adult population is intelligent? I'm saying that a higher percentage of young people are intelligent, which, clearly, they are.


complex question

there are many things to it. Voting is not just about IQ, its also about life experience. in this case you need some limitations, and in most countries this is set to 18. If voting would be about IQ, you could argue for giving voting power to smart minors (and take it away from certain adults).

sadly what i see in the world is that smart people make the same stupid things in life, and are influenced the same way as not so smart people (me looking at a scientific community). moreover - as i said on irc too - most minors wouldn't be able to comprehend the issues regarding voting, political systems, at least I see now how much i wasnt capable of doing it. I don't say you can't, but there is a certain knowledge that is important to make such a decisions and gathering it does take time.


I'd say voting makes pretty much zero difference to either policy detail or wider issues, and fwiw had come to that decision between 12 and 18. People without the right to vote have made themselves heard pretty well the past couple of years - the school occupations in France, and the immigrant rights marches (which involved a large number of school strikes) in the US. Not to mention that many past movements which are now referred to as primarily about voting rights had much more serious ramifications - with voting being granted as a concession in order to incorporate the more moderate elements and marginalise the rest.

In other words, it's not all it's cracked up to be :)

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