Re: How do we hold each other accountable?
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Mon, 26 Jul 2010 06:54:16 -0700 (PDT)
Eris, i think the more "interactive" social type problems you mention
come with their own built in "natural" consequences.

There are a thousand daily opportunities to be a good
neighbor/community member.  I won't take all of them, but I should
certainly take SOME: I should pick up a bit of trash I see on the
lawn; help someone move furniture; bring dinner to someone who is ill;
bring in someone's laundry from the line when I see the rain is about
to start; lend someone sugar or onions when they need them.  What
happens if I never do any of these things?  I think the natural
consequence will be that people will be less inclined to help ME move
furniture, bring in my laundry or lend me onions.  My relationships
with my neighbors will be more distant and less rewarding.

I don't think you need to take any special action to MAKE consequences
for those types of things, because the consequences occur naturally.
I know for sure that when someone who is an active, giving member of
the community sends out the call for help watering their garden or
watching their kids, I'm more likely to jump to the task than if they
are someone I don't see around much.

The hard part is when someone doesn't CARE about those things, and
acts to inhibit or negatively impact the smooth functioning of the
rest of the community.  The infraction is social, the consequence is
social, and I can't think of a way to *enforce* neighborliness beyond
peer pressure.  Can you?

- Diana

2010/7/26 Eris Weaver <eris [at]>:
> I am really glad to have sparked such a wide conversation with this post!
> But I have noticed a similar trajectory around this word "accountability" as
> I have with the word "participation." And that is that the conversation
> tends to focus around issues of work/physical labor - landscaping, cleaning,
> maintenance, and maybe committee work.
> There are so many other realms in which we make agreements in our
> communities. How we are expected to treat each other and how we act in
> meetings (with respect, no name calling, etc.). What we can and cannot do in
> common spaces (smoke, make modifications to structures, take our clothes
> off, jump on the couch). How we help each other.
> When I reflect on my participation in my community, I worry less about
> whether I make it to all the work days but whether I was patient enough with
> Will's slowed speech after his stroke; have I been helpful enough with
> JoEllen's brain-injured son; have I appropriately held confidentiality,
> avoided malicious gossip; do I spend enough time with the kids; etc.
> When I am really steamed at one of my neighbors, it isn't usually about
> their work participation. I am really peeved if someone doesn't come to
> meetings until the final discussion of an issue that they care about and
> then tries to block it. Ditto if someone isn't following the carport rules
> (your car must fit in the carport). I am the major enforcer of the
> trampoline jumping rules. So many other places we could talk about
> participation, responbility, accountability.
> Is it just easier to focus on work because it's easier to quantify? Or is it
> related to our culture's focus on work?
> ------------------------------
> Eris Weaver, Facilitator & Group Process Consultant
> eris [at]
> 707-338-8589
> fa cil' i tāt: to make easier
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