Re: email etiquette
From: Diana Carroll (
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 11:53:37 -0800 (PST)
I wonder how much the email-v-face-to-face issue is affected by the size of
the community.  Here at Mosaic Commons, we are 34 units plus several
associate/non-resident a rough guess, we have some 70-80ish
adult members...which is, what, three times the size of Ashland?  Getting
*everyone* in a room is logistically difficult.  I might even say

(That's not even getting into the fact that we share a site with our sister
community, with a similar number of people...most issues that arise are
specific to one community or the other, but occasionally there's a need to
discuss something that affects *everyone* and there's no way to do that any
way but email. Thank goodness that's very rare!)


On Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:33 PM, Doug Huston <huston [at]> 

> 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
> solely.
> - Doug Huston (Ashland Cohousing Community - Oregon)
> On Feb 24, 2014, at 9:42 AM, Malcolm Eva <malcolm [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > 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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