Re: Pet Policy
From: Robert Moskowitz (
Date: Thu, 29 Jun 2006 07:17:50 -0700 (PDT)
One idea for resolving these kinds of disputes might involve some sort of "weighted" comparison of the votes on both sides of the issue. This is theoretical, but if you can get people to put a weight or a value on their vote, you have a chance to add things up. For example, suppose there are fifty of us in the community. Someone doesn't want dogs in the common house, and feels strongly about it. 29 of us don't care. 10 of us are mildly in favor of dogs, 5 of us a little more so. 5 of us mildly line up against the dogs. Here's the calculation: 1 vote against with a weight of 10. 5 votes against with a weight of 2.
5 votes for with a weight of 3.
10 votes for with a weight of 1.
29 neutral votes with a weight of 0. multiply each vote by its weight and add things up, for and against. In this example, you get 20 (1 x 10 plus 5 x 2) against versus 25 (5 x 3 plus 10 x 1) in favor. The dogs can stay. You can see this system has the potential to eliminate the black and white, either/or outcomes required of the system you mention. Of course, it brings its own difficulties. But it has a little more potential for reasonableness and flexibility, in my view. I can imagine giving every voter a poker chip, and they can place it in any of 20 squares on a table, each square representing 1 to 10 points either for or against the proposition under discussion. A quick glance will show where the community stands on the issue. Other nuances can be introduced, such as voting for one of several gradations in the policy: perhaps set up like this - no dogs at all, small dogs, friendly dogs of any size, or all dogs. Vote for what you want.
There may be areas where this gradation approach can't be used, allowing people 
an absolute veto over certain issues. But there may be some decision-making 
areas where it can be used, preventing paralysis.

Your thoughts?

Original Message.....

Date: Wed, 28 Jun 2006 09:49:10 -0400
From: Rod Lambert <rod [at]>
Subject: [C-L]_ Pet Policy
To: cohousing-l [at]
Message-ID: <44A288D6.3000903 [at]>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed

<<Dare I ask what events precipitated such a complex policy? Our pet policy is unwritten and something like "if someone objects, you (or your pet) can't do it." Did someone actually put cat litter in the toilet?


Do you mean that one objection prevents someone from doing something. I have 
noticed that general tendency here sometimes and it seems to constipate the 
process of getting things done. Of course a concern for how a neighbor might 
feel is important. None the less a single objection should not always mean 
stop. I have been wondering about how to find the right balance for a while 
without any brilliant rule of thumb idea coming up.

EcoVillage atIthaca

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