Re: community communications: how to do it
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2010 04:35:51 -0700 (PDT)
Hello all --

> Sharon Villines said:
>> I am of the opinion that insisting on face-to-face is an approved
>> method for ensuring that nothing ever gets said or done. It's an
>> arm's length tactic, not the touchy-feely tactic that it is
>> characterized as.
> That has also been my experience. For many people the problem is that
> email doesn't trigger the emotional barriers that they normally have,
> so it's easy to be too open via email. Hence the facebook (etc)
> problems that are "new" again (having existed on BBS's and usenet in
> the past, if not also hand-written letters before that). With even a
> little moderation of the list though, the problems can be largely
> obviated and this starts to work *for* the group. Deeply emotional
> problems can be addressed at a speed that each person feels
> comfortable with and replies can be paused and re-read before being
> sent (being able to mark individual people as "posts require approval"
> is useful for this - it lets the moderator reply saying "perhaps you
> should tone that down a little" or "did you mean to disclose that rape
> conviction" etc).
> Moz

So this email thread is interesting.

My guess is there is a range of people living in cohousing regarding email.

Those who don't use it at all

Those who find it acceptable for "business" purposes and maybe some "fun" 
purposes like jokes, eCards, eNewsletters, etc.  Basically getting information.

Those who love it for all communication including resolving conflicts.

Those who love it for all communications including ranting feeling it's 
acceptable to allow people to vent their feelings.

And probably a whole range of gradations in between.

The people who don't use it or don't use it for anything other than "business" 
don't realize they are forcing some folks to walk on hot coals in having a face 
to face discussions for resolving ALL conflicts.

The people who feel it's an acceptable or even a great medium for resolving 
conflicts and/or even venting don't realize the havoc they are wrecking on 
others putting "stuff" on email that "touchy/feeley" folks find aberrant.

The great gift of cohousing is working out differences in how we are together 
as a community. This is what I find fascinating about cohousing and why I feel 
it's one of the roads to peace in the world and why I continue to work to bring 
more cohousing into being.  We live in a society in which it is acceptable to 
quit or leave if you don't like something or someone.  Don't like your boss?  
Get another job.  Don't like  your significant other?  Get another one.  Don't 
like the politics of your town?  Move.  

Almost unlike every other relationship, since we are individual stakeholders in 
the health of the community overall AND we have a significant monetary 
investment viz a vis our homes AND we have contributed our labor into creating 
the community ... we find a way to work out our differences.  

One size doesn't fit all.  We keep working out these differences until we find 
a solution.  We're all in the collective boat called our community.  If we row 
together we'll get wherever it is we're going.  If we jump out ... well ... 
some of us may make it.   Maybe ... maybe not.  My vision is to make that boat 
called community ALL of us on this planet.

I often hear statements on this list of "this is the way it is in our 
community."  Really?  I'd like to hear from the other side.  I think we have to 
be very careful in making assumptions about many things we discuss on this list 
for the very reason that this list is not representative of the cohort of 
people who live in cohousing.  This list is made up of people who tolerate 
email at the minimum.  It does not include people at either end of the spectrum 
or many of the gradations in between.  We might be very surprised to hear what 
the other folks have to say.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church VA
703 663 3911

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