On "consensed" [was Request from Manzanita Village in Arizona: How does your community handle members who abuse the community e-mail?
From: Sharon Villines (sharonsharonvillines.com)
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 2021 10:36:21 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 16, 2021, at 11:29 PM, Melanie G <gomelaniego [at] gmail.com> wrote:
> My post was very specifically about the term "consensed on".  Not about
> consensus being original to occupy... at ... all.  I personally am not a
> fan of such neologisms.  To me they muddy the process of consensus, and the
> meanings of words.  It is absolutely not the same to me to "agree to"
> something as to give one's consent.

I agree. To consent is not to agree but only to consent. Although “consented 
to” is much less thuddy. Making up words sometimes does add clarity but 
"consensed on” I don’t find one of them. 

I belong to a list of copyeditors and writers to whom I regularly query for 
advice on word usage. I posted my question at 10:56 and immediately started 
getting responses.

My question: In speaking of group decisions, “consensed on” is rapidly taking 
the lead over “consented to.”  I know in my heart that “consensed on” thuds on 
the ear, and my spell checker doesn’t accept it, but what is technically wrong 
with it?

> "Thud" seems to me to be too kind. Outside of this group of users (business 
> jargon?), the verb "consense" doesn't exist, and I sincerely hope it doesn't 
> catch on.
> Barf. Ugly and useless back-formation, surely just corporate jargon trying to 
> sound smart.
> ACK, YUCK, PTUI! It will never survive in anything I work on, if I can 
> possibly help it. 
> It’s just plain ugly. There’s no need for it. "consented to" or "reached 
> consensus" on are just fine. 
> There is no such verb as “consense.” Even visually, it goes against common 
> sense. :)
> I think “on” is the problem. Better to "consense about” or even “consense 
> around.”
> Congeal? Coalesce? Converge? Asymptotically approach?
> The use of consense is clearly not consensual here! :)

There will be more — that was just the first 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. I 
don’t think “consensed” is going to make it onto a copyedited print page 
anytime soon.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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