Re: Consensus
From: Pablo Halpern (
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 94 11:11 CST
Rob Sandelin Writes
> In my very limited studies into consensus I have found that there seems 
> to be two opposite operating definitions for consensus.  In one 
> definition, which I call passive consensus, A choice is made if no one 
> blocks it.  In the other definition, which I call active consensus, A 
> choice is made, only if everyone affirms it.

Good point, although I don't think the situation is so black-and-white.
In New View, we use colored cards when checking for consensus:  Green 
for aggreement, Red to block.  In addition, we have Blue for neutral and
Purple for reservations.  A short description of why someone blocked or
expressed a reservation is recorded in the minutes.  Therefore, someone
with a reservation is explicitly standing asside for consensus by
showing a purple card.  I would argue that this tilts us in the
direction of "active" consensus, as you called it.  On the other hand,
we occasionally run the risk of "passive" consensus.  I once changed my
card frfom blue to red because I saw so many other blue and purple cards
that I realized that the proposal had little real support.  In other
words, I wanted our consensus to be more "active."  It turned out to be
a good thing that the proposal didn't pass.


Pablo Halpern              (508) 435-5274         phalpern [at]

New View Neighborhood Development, Acton, MA

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