Re: Moving back from concensus?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2020 09:36:30 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 12, 2020, at 8:11 PM, Lyn Deardorff <lynpeachtree [at]> 
> wrote:
> I would like to hear from Co-Housing communities that have in any way moved 
> back from Consensus.  Did you adopt a Hybrid Consensus (move to a 
> supermajority vote for example) or even abandoning it all together for a more 
> traditional majority vote?

I can’t say that we have even discussed dropping consensus but the newer 
members (we’ve had a lot of turn-over in the last few years for natural 
reasons) are much less ideological about it. It doesn’t feel special to many of 
them, Those who are staunch advocates have also experience the world when 
consensus was “new” in political groups. The 1960s and later the Feminist 
Movement, in my experience, brought it to the fore. Because it has seeped 
through the larger culture in many different forms it is less of a thing. And 
is often viewed as really dumb or weird. But if you wanted to do things the 
easy way, you wouldn’t have moved into Cohousing.

The way in which it has been pulled back is delegating more decisions to teams. 
Teams need to notify the community of their decisions and work out objections. 
If the objections cannot be worked out, the decision goes to the Board or the 
Membership. The Membership has the last say in all decisions. But it is rare 
that a conflict gets as far as a Membership Meeting.

There is another factor as well. We have been moved in for 20 years. Many 
decisions have been made and the community is functioning smoothly. New people 
are moving into a community that has resolved issues around meals, meetings, 
pets, soda and pingpong in the CH, workshare. Stuff that affects individuals 
who are bound by group practices — not always out and out rules, but this is 
how we do it. Anything is up for reconsideration but people usually understand 
when we explain why we do things this way.

I think because they see everything working more or less logically, they aren’t 
concerned about their own opinions holding sway. In the beginning, there were 
no agreements and we were all coming from different cultures so we had to work 
everything out.

New people bring new information and new ideas and new energy and it has almost 
always been welcome. It works or it fades away. (I still consider people who 
have been here 5 or fewer years new.) We have far more activities than we had 5 
years ago. I’m an introvert so mostly I enjoy that other people are having fun 
out there and I don’t have to be there. But even during Covid, we have found 
ways to adjust. Some things we can’t do like the White Elephant Gift Exchange 
and regular meals. But the schedule is full, as well as the Zoom calendar. 
Again, people initiate activities but we don’t think about them needing 
consensus unless they are public and reflect on the nature of the community.

I’ll write another message on the Consensus vs Sociocracy issue.

Sharon Villines
affordablecohousing [at]
To subscribe:
affordablecohousing+subscribe [at]

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.