Re: Consensus as primrary decision-making methodw/voting back-up
From: Wayne Tyson (
Date: Mon, 14 Jan 2013 16:45:23 -0800 (PST)
SV and all:

Assuming that the majority is "right" is a concept that should be understood better.

In the case of dogs, for example, both "sides" can be terribly passionate, and the majority can be "right" or "wrong," based on the merits of individual cases. Do I presume correctly that groups recognize, for example, Thomas Jefferson's statement that while the majority might rule, that the rights of the minority should be protected?


----- Original Message ----- From: "Sharon Villines" <sharon [at]>
To: "Cohousing-L" <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Monday, January 14, 2013 11:33 AM
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Consensus as primrary decision-making methodw/voting back-up

On Jan 14, 2013, at 11:19 AM, "Lautner, Patricia" <Patricia.Lautner [at]> wrote:

the facilitator would not allow the block and most likely a conflict resolution session would get scheduled.

Unless the facilitator is explicitly chosen to take this role, I think it is important that the membership makes this decision. In sociocracy the facilitator is elected and is given this role. Any member can then object to the facilitator's decision except the member whose participation is under question.

To me, it seems like the dog member is worried that her fears won't be validated and respected, and that her very real and profound emotional needs will not get met by her neighbors. She does not trust her community's process.

We have had several occasions with one member who relented on her objections in several instances because someone was kind and helpful to her on totally unrelated things she needed. She also responds well to someone just talking to her about her objection. The attention required is often tiresome because it is a pattern, but so far so good.

We have also had good success when someone seemed to have an unreasonable objection or preference in having the facilitator or a friend talk to them after the meeting.

I think this works less well and is counter productive when someone has an objection that is based on reasonable concerns about the proposed action. Unless all the members concerned with the issue hear the reasons for the objection _and_ how they are worked out it could result in an unsustainable decision.

There is also the issue I have raised before that we question objections when one or two people hold them but we assume the majority is "right." I think we should question the basis for consent more often.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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