Re: moving back from consensus?
From: Maraiah (Lynn) Nadeau (
Date: Sun, 13 Dec 2020 12:58:08 -0800 (PST)
I agree with much of what Sharon V writes.
At RoseWind Cohousing in Port Townsend WA we have successfully used consensus 
decision making for 30 years. Many of the points I read here about a contrast 
with sociocracy don’t necessarily hold for our experience. We don’t use 
sociocracy. And we do delegate many decisions to committees, with a committee 
description of their purview. If uncertain as to a committee decision, it can 
be run by the community for response, such as concerns or a need for 
community-wide discussion. We allow stand-asides for consensus. This is 
consistent with the idea of consent vs universal agreement. It’s just another 
way of saying it’s not my preference but I won’t stand in the way of the 
group’s choice.

Sometimes we make decisions with a sunset clause, setting a trial period and 
planned re-evaluation. (In that case it is important to define the default if 
there is not agreement at that time: does it stand unless there is consensus to 
end it, or does it end unless there is consensus to continue it?).  

We do our best to season a proposal via discussion circles prior to bringing it 
to a monthly business meeting. Sometimes it is clear there is not sufficient 
support to accept an idea as proposed, and it is either dropped, deferred, or 
re-formulated. Business meeting agendas are developed by our Steering and 
Facilitation Committees.

When processing a proposal we use CT Butler’s approach: explain proposal (what 
and why), clarifying questions, general discussion including benefits, 
concerns, then strategies to deal with concerns, checking for unresolved 
concerns, if none, consensus is declared.

Maraiah Lynn Nadeau

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