I am Abd ul-Rahman Lomax. I am a Wikimedian, I can be contacted by users who have enabled email in the Wikimedia Foundation family of wikis, through the email interface at my Wikiversity user talk page, or messages may be left on that page.
I have been studying social structure and consensus process for about thirty years, and developed the concept of delegable proxy well perhaps by 1990 or so. However, I did not start work more intensively on it until after the 2000 U.S. Presidential election.
Others independently developed the same basic idea, and a proportional representation voting system, as a tweak on Single Transferable Vote, was described in a pamphlet by Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) in about 1883, see Asset voting. It could be described as a secret ballot version of delegable proxy, with one layer of delegability; additional layers could easily be added when there are large numbers of candidates, as would be described in specific system rules.
I also have experience with "self-help programs" designed after the Alcoholics Anonymous Model. These are also called "Twelve Step programs," but what is of concern for Free Associations is the organizational work of Bill Wilson, found in the Traditions in The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts for World Service.
Those organizational principles empowered the AA community to capture the entire field; it absorbed most dissent, because of certain principles encoded in the Traditions. In a few years, AA was nearly everywhere, and it still is.
These two streams came together in the proposals and concepts called "FA/DP" or Free Association/Delegable Proxy.
FA/DP can add functionality at practically nor risk and miniscule cost in small groups, but the design is scalable, it could handle the population of the Earth.
Generally, any traditional organization may benefit from a parallel FA/DP "interest group." FA/DP creates an advisory structure that can coherently advise, say, a corporation, as to the experience, views, and wisdom of the members, customers, users, clients, and it can also advise the FA members as to the needs of the corporation. FAs exercise power only through advice, by design, they do not concentrate money, own significant property or command staff. That is all handled through what Bill Wilson called "service boards or committees." Which do not govern the FA.
There were obvious possible applications of these principles for Wikipedia, DP was proposed, and we will examine, here, what happened.