Re: Moving back from concensus?
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2020 13:15:33 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 13, 2020, at 2:43 PM, R Philip Dowds via Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at] 
>> wrote:
>  So officially, it’s a maximum two month, three plenary process.

These kinds of limits make be uncomfortable. The objective of consensus is to 
find a solution that works for everyone, not just some. How can anyone know how 
long that will take? With limits to discussion it is very easy for someone 
delay the decision until is forced to a vote. Limits create opportunities to 
manipulate the process — to game the system.

If there is extensive good faith discussion at the beginning, before the 
proposal comes to the full membership, gaming the system might be avoided.

But also as Philip says, decisions not made can also be paralysis which must 
also be avoided. Moving forward if only by an inch is important the life of the 

> Please keep in mind that consensus is a process, not an outcome.  That is, 
> consensus is a series of steps performed in an environment of attitudes. 

It seems to require constant reminders that consensus isn’t just a vote; it 
isn’t just what happens on the final day when you declare consensus (or try to 
declare consensus.) The consensus process and ultimately the decision starts 
when the question/problem/suggestion is raised. The whole process is the 

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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