Re: looking for alternatives to long email conversations
From: Dick Margulis (
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 2020 07:19:53 -0800 (PST)
Hi Marcia,

Part of what you're experiencing is just normal human nature. Some people will have more to say and some will have less to say in an email conversation. But you naturally want to avoid having a few loud voices dominate the decision-making process.

That's where sociocracy can help. So the first thing to do is get everyone trained in the fundamentals of sociocracy ( and then reinforce that with ongoing training.

Part of sociocracy has to do with how to conduct meetings, and part has to do with organizational structure. You should prioritize learning about organizational structure so that decisions can be made at the committee (functional circle) level rather than always at the plenary level.

Regarding the discussions, though, I suggest you look into having them in the context of scheduled meetings, either in person or via Zoom. Zoom is particularly easy to use even for technophobes, and it enables you to run facilitated meetings, where everyone has an equal chance to speak in turn. This is a much more productive modality than an email discussion. (Email discussions have their place, but they should not be the main way you decide things.)

Google Drive is a not-terrible adjunct to Zoom meetings. You can share meeting agenda and meeting notes--as well as other documents--in real time during the meeting, and you can organize vast numbers of documents in an accessible way. There are other platforms, including those that have been discussed in this group that are designed specifically for cohousing. But if you're comfortable with Google Drive for now, you can switch to a different platform later.


Dick Margulis
Rocky Corner (still a couple of openings down here in CT, too)

On 3/2/2020 8:37 AM, Marcia Zuckerman via Cohousing-L wrote:

We’re thinking about other options.  We’re a mix of techies and technophobes; 
some people could set up Slack channels, but others would likely avoid discussions there 
because chat can feel even more urgent/stressful, or because they don't understand it.

Most people in the group do okay with Google docs and spreadsheets, so we're 
thinking about that, as well as surveys or forums. Have people found good ways 
to have discussions through Google docs? What other methods do people use?

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