Re: Pet policy and sharing policies
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Sun, 2 Jul 2006 14:54:24 -0700 (PDT)
Lia Olsen wrote:   If a community had a totally libertarian attitude toward
pets and an otherwise appealing candidate appeared who had allergies that
would make participation in group meetings impossible were pets to frequent
the common house, wouldn't the group want to know the problem and consider
whether it could be solved rather
than see that person simply withdraw? 

I find it unlikely that an existing community would seriously consider
changing much of its existing policies just to accommodate one prospective
member. You need to understand, a prospective member typically is a
stranger, with little or no relationship to the lives and history of the
group. An outsider whose opininons or needs are not necessarily very
important to the group.  Thus there is likely to be little incentive to
undergo a lot of effort to accommodate one person who may or may not
actually live there, even if accomodating them is in general a good idea. Or
it might take several months to get on an agenda and actually get talked and
decided about, often a longer time period than a prospect would be willing
to wait for. 

I recall a tourist once took me to task because my community did not serve
enough vegan meals to suit them. Had that been my first experience with such
rudeness I probably would have flamed them, but since I was experienced with
the ways of community tourists I simply smiled and cut the tour as short as
I could make it. It was clear this person would never live here, nor would I
want them to.

When people make a bottom line statement, eg, I could not live in a place
where x happens, or that lacks feature y, it can mean a couple of  things.
One, they have fully thought out their bottom line issues and use that to
screen what communities they apply to live in, or it can mean they are
creating barriers either consciously or unconsciously to actually ever
living in any community. I remember at a NICA gathering listening to a
community seeker who had so many requirements for living in a community that
there was no community anywhere that would accommodate them. I assume this
person either figured this out and dropped some things from their list, or
never ended up in a community. Often people with no community experience
have this laundry list of desires which they then measure communities with.
Of course this is not a bad thing, but it often leads to zero as the seeker
finds that this community has half the list, the other community has another
half, but none has the whole list.  

Life in community is all about learning to compromise what you want vs. what
actually is. More often than not you learn that you can live with it after
all,and that something else matters a lot more. My advice to seekers is to
find a place to get some real community experience for a couple of years,
THEN, go looking for your ideal dream world. With a couple of years
experience you will have a more realistic understanding of what is possible
and reasonable, and your own bottom lines for what is important will become
much clearer and reflect community realities as opposed to wishful thinking.

Rob Sandelin
Sharingwood Community, Snohomish County, WA
Naturalist, Writer
The Environmental Science School
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