Re: Consensus Decision Making Using a Digital Platform
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 27 Apr 2020 11:04:37 -0700 (PDT)
> On Apr 27, 2020, at 11:28 AM, David Heimann <heimann [at]> wrote:

> Perhaps the facilitator(s) don't need to monitor and respond to the chats, 
> except the ones privately to them, leaving the chat for responses and 
> comments to the room and for private conversations, so the facilitator can 
> concentrate on the flow of the meeting.  If someone wants to raise a point 
> for the facilitator to respond to or for the group to discuss, they can 
> "raise your hand" and get recognized by the facilitator.

We have a person monitoring the chat so the facilitator isn’t distracted. That 
person then asks any questions or delivers comments at a convenient and 
relevant time. If the question is a technical question there is a tech person 
standing by and it is dealt with off line without interrupting the meeting.

Individuals can still raise their hands to speak, but not all Q or Comments 
need to interrupt the flow of conversation. Having several short questions 
asked at once by the chat monitor saves time. It still takes time for some of 
us to switch from mute to unmute, etc. Just finding the controls the minute you 
are called on takes practice.

“We can’t hear Amy” is a chat item, for example. The chat monitor would know 
the fastest and least obtrusive way to fix that without 3 or 4 people muting 
and unmuting and testing and interrupting each other to say Amy we can’t hear 
you. Do you need to unmute? Can you get closer to the microphone? Etc. 

In our meeting yesterday we discovered another role — a back up facilitator’s 
computer. The facilitator’s computer died and she switched to her partner’s but 
it wasn’t set up for the facilitator role. She lost the ability to mute and 
unmute other people. Having a back up facilitator with the same privileges 
would have solved that.

Another issue yesterday was that 4 people signed on with their iphones and were 
identified as “iphone” with no video, I assume to save energy. It was hard for 
the facilitators to call on them not knowing who they were. I don’t know how 
that happens — there was no account name.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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