Re: Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 2020 16:54:16 -0800 (PST)
> On Dec 14, 2020, at 5:08 PM, Tom Smyth <tom [at]> wrote:
> Aren't Robert's Rules bad at drawing out the voices of marginalized people?
> They assume everyone feels comfortable speaking up and speaking eloquently,
> and that everyone has a strong command of the rules themselves. Those are
> some pretty hefty assumptions.

The same conditions exist in sociocracy, full-group consensus, etc. It’s to be 
expected that anyone who is not familiar with formal legislative sessions using 
parliamentary procedure will be intimidated. Before trying to participate in 
such a process, people need some training and practice. These are available to 
the newly elected. The chair can also take a moment to help a new member get 
the process right. Members consult with each other as well.

But like any other process, it can be used abusively as well to embarrass and 
silence people. But that isn’t unique to Robert’s Rules.

That something is intimidating may also be an indication of its power. It 
organizes deliberation and values contributions of members. 

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
Co-author of Sociocracy: Consenting to a Deeper Democracy. A Handbook for 
Understanding and Implementing Sociocratic Principles and Practices, Updated 
and Expalnded Edition

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