Re: Looking for model cohousing decision logs
From: Catya Belfer (
Date: Sat, 8 Aug 2015 07:50:59 -0700 (PDT)
I can help with the technical side of this, but this isn't really a
technology problem.  It's a problem of people actually recording what they
mean to decide:

Not "Can I see cards on the proposal?" but "Can I see cards on spending #x
on y from z budget"  (many other variants on this.)

Not "Proposer will send the final language we figured out on paper to the
people who owns the log & website later" and then they don't do it

And then, of course, people are pissed later when they can't find the
language or disagree on what was decided.

So, be CLEAR.  And record it with keywords as Sharon notes. And make
getting final language published a priority.

     - cat

(Why yes, I own my community websites and often the decision log as much as
I try to give it away, why do you ask?)

Catya Belfer   -
Technical Director   -
Cohousing in MA -

On Sat, Aug 8, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Sharon Villines <sharon [at]>

> > On Aug 7, 2015, at 10:25 PM, Mary Vallier-Kaplan <marycvk [at]>
> wrote:
> >
> > It would be great to hear your lessons learned to date in creating a
> > decision log, what you would do differently, samples of good systems,
> etc.
> I have started a decision log with “start” being the operative word. It
> would have been incredible to have had one from the beginning. Almost 15
> years later, even those who were here at the time have forgotten that this
> or that didn’t just happen, we decided we wanted it to happen. No, this
> wasn’t an autocratic decision. The team made this decision. This is why we
> made this decision.
> We have been good at recording policies and approved guidelines but not
> those decisions recorded in what is now a vast wide river of team notes and
> membership meeting minutes. We had supreme faith in the archive of
> YahooGroups messages that now have limited searches and I can’t find
> anything. And who can remember all the keywords that might be associated
> with a decision anyway.
> In a search for anything regarding our “south alley”, I had to search
> about five spellings and misspellings of “alley” and as well as “south
> easement” “easement” "south drive” etc. to find everything—at least what
> seems to be everything.
> This is where I think your own Wordpress installation on your own internet
> hosting account, I like Bluehost, would be a life saver. It is essentially
> a file box (or database) of individual records that can be searched by any
> word you want to search. Or you can set up keywords so topics are connected
> to a standard set of words.
> Keywords are the salvation of non-standard recording. We recently went
> through a long process of deciding where to store a copy of each unit key.
> The discussion evolved using combination box, wall box, keybox, key box,
> locked box, lock box lockbox, etc. Over a two-year period, the variety was
> staggering. Because I was putting the minutes into Wordpress, I was able to
> use keywords along the way AND when we finally settled on a name, go back
> and change the keywords to the final word, “keybox” or just add “keybox” to
> each record.
> If we have two keyboxes, I can change “Keybox” to "Unit Keybox” by adding
> the new keyword once. All the records update automatically.
> Wordpress is used by millions of people, help is always available, and
> there are many good instruction sites. Someone in your community would need
> to learn it so you can do updates easily but it isn’t hard. Just start
> simple with the latest theme.
> (Google is all too likely to go the way of Yahoo—cutting out the features
> you most depended on.)
> Sharon
> ----
> Sharon Villines
> Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC
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