Re: Looking for model cohousing decision logs
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 06:26:59 -0700 (PDT)
> On Aug 7, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Mary Vallier-Kaplan <marycvk [at]> 
> wrote:
> It would be great to hear your lessons learned to date in creating a
> decision log, what you would do differently, samples of good systems, etc.

I have started a decision log with “start” being the operative word. It would 
have been incredible to have had one from the beginning. Almost 15 years later, 
even those who were here at the time have forgotten that this or that didn’t 
just happen, we decided we wanted it to happen. No, this wasn’t an autocratic 
decision. The team made this decision. This is why we made this decision.

We have been good at recording policies and approved guidelines but not those 
decisions recorded in what is now a vast wide river of team notes and 
membership meeting minutes. We had supreme faith in the archive of YahooGroups 
messages that now have limited searches and I can’t find anything. And who can 
remember all the keywords that might be associated with a decision anyway.

In a search for anything regarding our “south alley”, I had to search about 
five spellings and misspellings of “alley” and as well as “south easement” 
“easement” "south drive” etc. to find everything—at least what seems to be 

This is where I think your own Wordpress installation on your own internet 
hosting account, I like Bluehost, would be a life saver. It is essentially a 
file box (or database) of individual records that can be searched by any word 
you want to search. Or you can set up keywords so topics are connected to a 
standard set of words.

Keywords are the salvation of non-standard recording. We recently went through 
a long process of deciding where to store a copy of each unit key. The 
discussion evolved using combination box, wall box, keybox, key box, locked 
box, lock box lockbox, etc. Over a two-year period, the variety was staggering. 
Because I was putting the minutes into Wordpress, I was able to use keywords 
along the way AND when we finally settled on a name, go back and change the 
keywords to the final word, “keybox” or just add “keybox” to each record.

If we have two keyboxes, I can change “Keybox” to "Unit Keybox” by adding the 
new keyword once. All the records update automatically.

Wordpress is used by millions of people, help is always available, and there 
are many good instruction sites. Someone in your community would need to learn 
it so you can do updates easily but it isn’t hard. Just start simple with the 
latest theme. 

(Google is all too likely to go the way of Yahoo—cutting out the features you 
most depended on.)

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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