I'm not keen on any idea that takes my decisive capacity out of my hands. Direct is the only way that really makes sense. Or it'll be just like it is now on Earth.
Certainly, not everyone will be interested in taking part in all of the processes. But there is likely to be sufficient interest in any individual topic to bring to the table those with productive input. With a sufficient time-frame on the discussions previous to voting on and implimenting solutions, everyone that does want to involve themselves can. Things with a wider scope of impact should obviously be advertised as such, to ensure everyone at least knows of it's existence. Considering the lack of desperate rush behind any descision - now or in the near future - this should work out reasonably well. Most people could cover their interested topics in less than a few hours a week, at a time that suits them. It will always be representative of the greater citizens views as even with low attendance it's unlikely that everyone is going to think the same thing is the only solution - and if they do, then maybe it is the most sensible thing. Especially with a panel of "experts" guiding the process. For the people who paid the topic no heed then they had no interest, so their interests are represented always regardless of outcome. It's likely the "experts" will of raised any concerns, if the citizens in attendance havn't spotted them. To address the "critical number of active participants" concerns, the keywords are "active participants" - as long as there's more than three then there's some suitability. It's unlikely to be that low, ever - if there's that little interest, why are we even persuing the notion. There's plenty I'd not involve myself with unless I see it moving in a direction I'd be uncomfortable with, instead allowing those with more interest/education than I in that subject to progress in areas I hold little interest.
I do find it disturbing that with 150k+ registered users there's alarmingly little input - or even observation - to these forums. I had geniunely hoped for more. I've personally taken this to be a combination of language barriers, 'tards still trying to use FB, and a small percentile that are "too embarrassed" to provide input as they have found the knowlege previously input "intimidating" and are somewhat unwilling to start something or contribute to for "fear" of comming across as "stupid" - and ofc those who are "just shy".