Re: General Meetings and visitors
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 21 Jan 2012 20:37:09 -0800 (PST)
On Jan 15, 2012, at 9:31 AM, Greg Nelson wrote:

> A while back, Sharon Villines wrote:
>> I'm always surprised to find that members of the community consider
>> Membership Meetings and the Members Only email list to be "public"
>> forums. I consider them to be private, between-us forums in which one
>> can talk openly and ask questions.
> I'm interested in hearing more on this topic especially regarding
> meetings.  Since we are still growing (5/30 households built so far
> with another 3-4 families hoping to build this year), our community is
> currently using General Meetings as a forum for new prospective
> members to come and meet the membership and learn more about us. 

There is a misunderstanding here. I meant that people feel that meetings are 
public so nothing that could possibly interpreted as negative should be said. 
Even when only we members are in the room, they consider a certain formality to 
be appropriate, like a work meeting. I consider it to be our meeting to talk to 
each other about anything that is of concern to us. I like to see emotions 
expressed because it tells me who people are. Others expect no expression of 
emotion — except polite ones. I'm characterizing this a bit extremely to 
clarify the issue.

We also have prospective members attend membership meetings. The rules are that 
members are warned in advance in case they want to ask that the agenda be 
changed (has never happened) and that no pictures be taken without permission, 
particularly of children.

We sometimes have orientations on the same day as a meeting and a few people 
will stay to "see" the meeting. Their behavior can get rather touristy, thus 
the proscription against cameras. Prospective purchasers in my experience have 
never taken pictures of us.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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