RE: Email for cohousing
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 14:21:03 -0600 (MDT)
This has come up in several communities that I have done mediation for in
the last couple of years. "flame mail" is a safe way for some people to
communicate angry words from the safety of their own home. In some cases
this opening up is a good thing, in others it is bad.

There are lots of problems with communications in groups. E-mail is a tool
that can solve some of them, but then adds its own set of problems. I tend
to fall on the side that communication of angry and emotional laden feelings
is always better than the hiding of those feelings. Unresolved resentments
and anger are some of the worse things that can poison a persons happiness.
And far too many groups have NO structure to deal with such things, and
actually subltly convey to members that its not OK to bring such things up.
So with no forum to bring up your resentments and anger where does it go? It
usually does not dissapear.

However, email is a crummy substitute for an empathetic listener whose
shoulder you can cry on if you need to.

The best situation I saw regarding e-mail was at a place called Aurora
Village. At the first hint of flames or other distress, email was used to
call an immediate meeting, like that very night. Email was just the method a
person could use to call for help.

Rob Sandelin
Northwest Intentional Communties Association
Building a better society, one neighborhood at a time

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