Re: Question about Consent Governance
From: Kathryn McCamant (
Date: Tue, 17 Jul 2018 15:07:24 -0700 (PDT)
I totally agree with what Karen says about consensus/consent is much easier 
when the relationships and trusts are strong within the group. The difficultly 
for many cohousing groups is that we are making big decisions early in a 
development process when you just can't know everyone very well, and the 
community is still solidifying.  Thus, helpful to have clear process and 
guidelines in writing. I have worked with a wide variety of consensus/consent 
processes and have no strong opinions about which is long as there 
is some sort of fallback voting, consensus minus 1 (or 2 or ?) so that a 
community does not get stuck in dictator of the minority.  I thought one of the 
most interesting comments from previous discussions on this topic was people 
mentioning that having that back up actually helped them work out a that rather than taking away the power of building consensus, 
it supported their efforts to do so.

I believe the original question on this topic had to do with committees having 
consensus. Generally, if the committee/team/circle doesn't agree, I would take 
the issue and both perspectives/proposals to the larger group to weigh in on. 

Kathryn McCamant, President
CoHousing Solutions
Nevada City Cohousing
Nevada City, CA 95959
T.530.478.1970  C.916.798.4755

On 7/17/18, 1:54 PM, "Cohousing-L on behalf of Karen Gimnig" 
< [at] on 
behalf of gimnig [at]> wrote:

    For me, the key point in response to this question is the limit on how much
    can be done with rules. The question is more or less about abrule. How many
    people must object for the objection to stand?
    Being clear about how decisions are made is vital. Rules and processes,
    when well written and understood, can bring that clarity.
    What they can't do is create a community or consensus mindset. Consensus or
    consent decision-making is about culture, communication and relationship.
    At the end of the day, if any person wants to use rules as the power to
    stop (or start) something, it is a sign that the culture of consensus needs
    some help.  Good consensus or consent is driven by foundational beliefs and
    values. It requires a sense of safety, the experience of being fully heard
    and understood, trust in the community as a whole. It's hard for us
    Americans to live that.  We need help reminding ourselves from time to
    time.  Also, new members will need orientation on this and help settling
    In the meantime, yes there are fabulous structures that can help us with
    that.  Sociocracy, Non-Violent Communication, Imago Relationships, many
    other bits and pieces that have been mentioned.  Just know that those
    structures alone will not be enough if people treat them like rules for
    claiming power rather than as tools for caring for one another in
    In Community,
    Karen Gimnig
    Professional Facilitator
    Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at:

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