RE: tv..and blocked consensus
From: Rob Sandelin (
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 08:26:11 -0700 (MST)
The facilitators in your community would be well served to have a clear plan
of how to deal with blocks. Here are some questions a facilitator can ask to
help resolve a block. Depending on the situation, these questions can be
asked on the spot in the meeting, or later, after the meeting in a special
session to help clarify the issues around the block.

Tell us more about what agreed upon community values are served by blocking
the group going forward on this issue.
How does your blocking this issue from going forward serve our community?
Hows does your block on this issue relate to our stated group vision and
Explain how your block on this issue is related to our stated group values.
Is this a personal value you are trying to enforce on the whole group? Why
What are you afraid will happen if this issue goes forward? Can we try this
for a limited time to see if your fears are justified?
How is this different than (another similiar example where personal values
were not imposed on the community-vegetarian meals for example are
accomodated not imposed on everyone)

I will be doing a workshop in a couple weeks in your community where we can
work on developing blocking resolution questions appropriate to your

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

> -----Original Message-----
> From: cohousing-l [at]
> [mailto:cohousing-l [at]]On Behalf Of Jose Marquez
> Sent: Thursday, January 20, 2000 11:34 PM
> To: Multiple recipients of list
> Subject: tv....
> Hello Fellow Cohousers!
> Well, I'm wondering what you all have done about TV issues.  Yes, I know
> it's a big one.  Sigh.  Anyway, in our community I believe there is a wide
> range of feelings, and one person who blocks consensus to have a TV.  This
> individual has blocked having a TV in a locked room of the Common House to
> only be used on pre-scheduled times.
> So...our core values included "Honoring/Seeking Diversity" and as each
> member joined the community they were asked what their "Bottom
> Lines" were.
> This way, I think, we could determine if a diverse believe or desire was
> unworkable in our community by not accepting a member based upon a bottom
> line.  The individual against the TV (blocking consensus alone)
> DID NOT list
> this as a bottom line.  To me, this means that some compromise should be
> acceptable since our diverse group includes folks who like TV.  Also, our
> homes are all a bit smaller than we are paying for because we're
> also paying
> for a big Common to have a Superbowl Party (for example) in
> one's home is difficult.  So there is the perception that refusing an
> activity in the Common House that people CANNOT do in their actual units
> (since the Common House is all of our's) is also inappropriate
> when everyone
> else wants to allow it.
> So, in a consensus process....supposedly it is not proper
> procedure to block
> when you're the only one blocking.....and all that.  But, what do you do
> when it does happen that way?
> ~March

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