Re: What does it mean to switch to Socioracy? [was Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance workshop w/John Buck, Sheella Mierson on 2/26-27, Wash DC
From: rpdowds (
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2013 10:55:59 -0800 (PST)
I would further emphasize the significant DIS-benefits of trying to cycle all 
decisions through the body of the whole (BOTW, or perhaps Plenary) (which, at 
Cornerstone Cohousing, we call General Meeting, or GM). BOTW, for some reason, 
strikes us cohousers as particularly democratic, inclusive, and participatory, 
especially when a direct democracy of, say, 50 "voters" is immediately present 
on the site. This is not an invalid view ... but it comes with a pretty high 
price tag attached. At any of our GMs where we are striving for decision, we 
basically have four classes of participants: 

(1) The proposal proponents, who've done the work and brought a credible idea 
forward for community consideration. 
(2) The late-arrival objectors, who really didn't do any of the work, but who 
see themselves as guardians of community values or money, and feel their 
(negative and critical) views should play a large role in the final outcome.* 
(3) The indifferent, who don't care very much one way or the other about 
Proposal X, but being good sports, come to GM anyway. And ... 
(4) The no-shows, who get bored out of their tree at long GMs in which 
proponents and objectors debating apparent trivia chase the same points around 
in circles, and nothing ever gets decided. This last group not-votes with its 
not-feet, by not showing up.** 

Well, OK, this characterization is a little over the top, and perhaps out of 
date. At Cornerstone, not all GM issues get log-jammed, and also, we've adopted 
some new procedures (what Diana would call the "decision rules") that seem to 
be helping us complete our business efficient. Even so, our inability to 
delegate, to implement delegation protocols we trust, and to push BOTW / 
Plenary to operate on a policy level rather than a detail level, still gives us 
some trouble. It still feels like it takes a REALLY long, and perhaps tedious, 
time to get seemingly simple things done. 


* We all agree that more participation is better than less, and more ideas, 
including critical ones (especially as advocated by Karl Popper in "empirical 
falsification"), are likely to help ensure the final result is of high quality. 
Where we have differing views is, At what point is the input of the critics 
most useful to the community and process as whole? During the open meetings of 
the group working up the proposal? Or, as Aha Gotcha interventions in the BOTW? 
** As Woody Allen said, "80% of success is showing up." 
----- Original Message -----
From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]> 
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]> 
Sent: Sunday, January 6, 2013 10:09:48 AM 
Subject: [C-L]_ What does it mean to switch to Socioracy? [was 
Sociocracy/Dynamic Governance workshop w/John Buck, Sheella Mierson on 2/26-27, 
Wash DC 

On Jan 5, 2013, at 12:00 PM, Diana Leafe Christian <diana [at]> wrote: 

> Here's a wonderful 6-minute video by some Lost Valley members saying 
> how they switched from consensus to Sociocracy, and why they like it. 

To expand on Diana's shorthand: 


In cohousing, because we fear losing the inclusive wholeness of our 
communities, we have resisted adopting anything other than full-group 
decision-making. Sociocracy allows us to delegate and specialize and still 
retain the sense of the whole. 



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