Re: email etiquette
From: Doug Huston (
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:33:32 -0800 (PST)
In our community of 13 households on 1.3 acres it is not a significant hardship 
to talked to another person face-to-face or on the phone.
We have some general agreement that if an e-mail is particularly 
emotionally-laden - don’t send it. 
Our experience is that our e-mail discussions/debates/arguments get confused 
and misread more quickly and easily via the e-mail format than in person.
We recognize this places a higher value on a certain type of communication. 
Nothing  is perfect.
And there is our experience that things have at times been sent via e-mail that 
wouldn’t have been said in person, and we’ve made the judgment call that thus 
it would have been better not to have sent it.
We use e-mail a lot and generally keep it to information-sharing, but not 
- Doug Huston (Ashland Cohousing Community - Oregon)

On Feb 24, 2014, at 9:42 AM, Malcolm Eva <malcolm [at]> 

> Very good point, and one which has generated its own email.  My view is that 
> I want to put my side of the discussion to everyone, and email is the only 
> way to do that in a community of 35 households.  If I can't make a meeting I 
> don't have a vote (sorry, I know that's the wrong term for a consensus 
> meeting but...) but at least I can have a say.  Others say that they don't 
> want to deal with email discussion, and just want the issues talked about at 
> the meeting, which, I maintain, disempowers me.  At the moment our protocol 
> is to announce all the items in advance on email so people can comment and 
> exchange views before the meeting. The more controversial the topic, the 
> longer the discussion time needed.  As many people don't come to residents' 
> meetings for various reasons at least they can see and assess the differing 
> views on the topic and join in when they want.  What this often results in 
> are heated emails, and a calm meeting that everyone enjoys, usually with a 
> consensus at
>  the end. Not always, of course, but often.
> Back to individualism v altruism - if anyone has strong reactions to e.g. 
> Green paint, that's valid to say eeuch!  To say "green paint is wrong and we 
> should not consider it" is different, and making a personal view sound like a 
> moral judgement.  I think that's the sort of distinction the phrase is 
> getting at.
> Malcolm
> Sent from my iPad
> If reply needed, please address to malcolm [at]

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