Re: Enforcing group agreements
From: MelaSilva (
Date: Wed, 24 Jul 1996 15:35:39 -0500
In a message dated 96-07-24 13:54:33 EDT, Rob writes:

>In my experience,if you do not deal with broken agreements right away and
right up >front, then you effectively have NO agreement. 

There are 3 things that come to mind
1) We have several people who are ATTACHED to a member of the group - 2 are
lovers, one is a sister. These 3 people are not ATTACHED to the community,
but to the individuals they live with. The community accepts that, flows
around them, and hopes that with time, they will join in/ contribute more to
the community as a whole. All 3 contribute a lot IN THEIR OWN WAY, mostly by
giving a lot to individual within the community. All 3 are very stubborn
people, and not easily influenced. So they say " I didn't agree to anything"
because they don't go to meetings.

2) We have several people who over achieve in several areas of life, and lots
of things are left undone on a regular basis. They drive some folks nuts,
while other folks accept them as true eccentrics and others rejoice in their
flamboyant style. Each of these individuals has different groups that
accept/reject their behavior, yet overall it causes a more tolerant attitude
to prevail. "Your friend drives me crazy, but you put up with my friend's
ways, so I guess it evens out" 

3) Many of our agreements are "So what?" kind of agreements. We agreed not to
have more than 2 cats per household - 3 have more. We agreed not to let dogs
off a leash on the property, but one is old and dying and the owner lets him
off now and again. We agreed not to leave sheets tacked up to the windows
after 1 year, yet several folks still haven't gotten around to putting up
proper window coverings.

What I am saying is, I don't want to live in a situation where everything is
so neat and clean, every little thing is mandated, every breach noted. Does
the whole group really have to discuss giving the dying dog special
dispensation? No, because we are small enough to overlook these small
breaches. If we were 40 households, would we be so tolerant? 

>If agreements are never enforced or followed, whats the point of making
agreements at all?

Important agreements are generally followed, and the kind of general policy
stuff that some folks ignore is OK to have in general. I mean, it would be a
disaster if  20 households each had 3 or 4 cats!! 3 households violating the
general policy has not created a crisis at this point in time.We are not good
at enforcing stuff. By and large we rely on peer pressure. Some folks are
much more susceptable to peer pressure than others. And some agreements were
reached under the negative impact of consensus " I don't care enough to say
anything because I have better things to do than sit in this meeting for
another hour."  

Mela Silva
Southside Park
Sacramento CA

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