RE: Consensus: late blocks
From: TR Ruddick (
Date: Sat, 31 Jan 2004 11:24:52 -0700 (MST)
> From: Tree Bressen <tree [at]>
> Subject: [C-L]_ Consensus: late blocks
> To: Developing cohousing - collaborative housing communities
>       <cohousing-l [at]>
> Message-ID: < [at]>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"; format=flowed
> Hi,
> Mary English wrote:
> >   Equally frustrating is: the group consensing on something in one 
> > meeting...then someone 
> > (who had not joined the committee nor had never given any input to the 
> > committee) saying "no, I don't like this.  I'm blocking this now."
> Of course that is really frustrating, and it happens far too often.  I 
> think groups need to stand up to this behavior by setting clear
> ahead of time, and creating both rules and culture to support that 
> intention.  Over time a group can train itself so that this kind of
> does not happen.

The basic problem here seems not to be whether someone may "block
consensus"--I do so wish we'd quit using that wrong-headed
terminology!--but whether the person who objects has been properly informed
about the decisions that were made.

Does your group generally provide members who can't attend meetings with an
update of decisions and with the opportunity to respond with concerns
within a reasonable time frame?  If not, then the person is within her/his
rights to raise an objection at any time.  I doubt we'd want to deny rights
to members.

Recognizing that groups do need to be able to carry out plans without
constant interruption, it's a good idea to limit the privilege of raising
objections within a certain time-frame.  But that's a decision that your
group needs to reach consensus about, and probably that means getting the
active consent of all members--not just those who might attend the first
meeting where it's discussed.


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