Re: Consensus Decision Making Using a Digital Platform
From: Elizabeth Magill (
Date: Sun, 26 Apr 2020 08:22:33 -0700 (PDT)
We are using zoom.

We had the unexpected challenge that our laminated cards are highly
reflective so we couldn't see what color they are. Also we had encouraged
folk to find things at home in the appropriate colors, thinking it would be
fun and funny--which it was--but mama mia you can't see what color a pencil
is on zoom, and red (stop the discussion) and orange (appreciation) look
pretty much exactly the same.

For the easy decisions (approve minutes and approve agenda) we asked "any
objections" after carding so the people on the phone could speak up. For
the hard decision (spend $10,000 on new pathway lighting) we asked the
people on the phone what color their cards were.

While the feedback from the meeting was mostly very positive the
facilitators were quite overwhelmed and we'll do somethings differently
next time.
We had both facilitators helping each other AND side discussions in
chat--we are inclined to turn off chat completely next time. There was no
way to keep up with it as facilitators.
(We'll tell people to text or use slack for their side discussions, which
folks did in our live meetings already.)
Does anyone know how to make it so cohosts can all chat but others cannot?

Also we are thinking two hours is too long, next meeting 1.5 hours max.

AND we are taking advantage of this opportunity to ask what was already out
in the air before this--why do we meet? What do we aim to get from meetings?

Mosaic Commons in Berlin, MA

On Sun, Apr 26, 2020 at 7:16 AM Dick Margulis <dick [at]> wrote:

> Rocky Corner is a whisker's breadth away from move-in (Xeno's Paradox in
> real life), and we have been using Zoom for meetings for a few years now.
> Main takeaway: meetings work much better with everyone on Zoom than with
> half the people in the room and the rest on the screen. That arrangement
> was perennially maddening, because the remote people missed much of what
> transpired in the room (too far from the mic, mumbling, crosstalk, body
> language, you name it).
> With everyone on screen, as we are now, we all have an easier time
> seeing everyone, the facilitator has better control of the process (and
> can mute people at will), we conduct rounds efficiently, and sociocratic
> decision-making goes smoothly.
> We use the chat feature for things like posting links and passing
> nominations in confidence to the facilitator (rather than slips of paper
> we would use in an in-person meeting). We use Google Drive for sharing
> the agenda and the meeting notes. People can screen share to present
> complex information, graphics, etc.
> Overall, I recommend Zoom or any equivalent platform for meetings
> anytime someone whose consent is required cannot be physically present.
> If you have good enough tech that one or two people can be remote and
> still participate fully with everyone else in a meeting room, go for it.
> But if you're jury-rigging a half-assed solution in someone's living
> room, it's better to have 100% of the participants on screen.
> Dick Margulis
> On 4/26/2020 12:02 AM, Ann Zabaldo wrote:
> > Hello all —
> >
> > For those of you using a digital platform to conduct meetings, how are
> you handling consensus decision making?  I’m not talking about discussion
> but the actual time you are moving towards consensus on a proposal.
> >
> > What challenges have you had or do you foresee?
> >
> > What has gone well w/ your consensus process via a digital platform?
> >
> > Do you have suggestions for communities starting to use a digital
> platform?
> >
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(The Rev. Dr.) Elizabeth Mae Magill
Pastor, Ashburnham Community Church
Minister to the Affiliates, Ecclesia Ministries

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