Re: Outside participants
From: Stuart Staniford-Chen (
Date: Sat, 29 Jan 2000 20:33:24 -0700 (MST)
JoycePlath [at] wrote:
> Marsh Commons has five dinner participants who do not live here.  Since we
> are a small community it has been great to spread out the cooking
> responsibilities and to have more folks to chat with during dinner. They pay
> $1 more for dinners.  

I'm one of those folks, and will be for a few more months until I move
in next to Joyce.  Yaay!

I've also had a lot of experience with this issue from the other side,
as N St Cohousing (in Davis) where I used to live had a lot of
non-resident eaters too.  Indeed, in it's early years, N St used to
encourage all kinds of people to show up and get involved in whatever
way they wanted.  N St was an "organic cohousing" community that
gradually converted an existing suburban neighourhood to cohousing, and
it started out very small.  At that time, it was great to have a lot of
involvement from the larger community, both eating and being on
committees and coming to meetings.

Eventually, N St did decide to establish that outside folks were not
full members and could not block consensus.  This happened after an
unfortunate situation where a couple broke up on very bad terms.  One
half of the couple lived in the community and the other didn't, but
wished to continue to come to community functions and affect decisions
(including ones about how to handle the ongoing dispute).  It wasn't
very clear whether this person had a right to or not.  It's best to be
clear on who can block consensus and who can't, and if people who don't
live on site can do so, there should be some clear process by which they
acquire that status.

But I think it's totally cool to have extra folks to dinner if there's
space.  It's been wonderful for my wife and I to eat at Marsh Commons
these last couple of years.


Stuart Staniford-Chen --- President --- Silicon Defense
                   stuart [at]
(707) 822-4588                     (707) 826-7571 (FAX)

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