"Looking at the Pirates, we can now observe what happens when personnel weakness is combined with a lack of content," Volker Beck of the Green Party, which has lost some of its young voters to the Pirates, told Der Spiegel magazine recently. "Meaningful debates seem to drown in their own Liquid Feedback."
The Pirates' heady rise has come with growing pains. The party's openness to all political persuasions led to revelations that several members were formerly active in the far-right National Democratic Party, including one Pirate leader in the eastern state of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. And the lack of message discipline stirred outrage after a senior Pirate compared his party's rapid rise to that of the Nazis.
The absence of coordination among the Pirates has even led to sartorial disagreements. When asked whether Pirates should be wearing suits to work as other politicians do, Schloemer, who works in the Defense Ministry and wore a blazer on election day, emphasized the need to be taken seriously. Olejak, on the other hand, sneered, "Whoever these days, in 2012, gets worked up about clothing or about shoes clearly lives in an earlier age."
Perhaps most daunting for the Pirates is basic parliamentary etiquette. They are all new to the business of governing, and their rookie excitement shows.
"None of us has ever served in a parliament," Daniel Duengel, one of the newly elected representatives. "I think it'll be awesome."
But that means that they're likely to get tangled up in the procedural complexities of their work.
On election day last month, after the preliminary election results were announced, the new representatives headed down to the statehouse and immediately had what Olejak called "our first fail."
"It turns out we were allowed to enter the hall, but not to sit down," he said.
But Olejak shrugged off the challenges of learning parliamentary protocol.
"The Pirates are quite good at that," he said. "It's all just like programming. It's simply a source code."
Wiener is a special correspondent.