[Noisebridge-discuss] Why Consensus Kills Community

Norman Bradley pryankster at gmail.com
Wed Dec 18 17:22:42 UTC 2013

I agree with Madelynn that the current decision making process isn't 
working well and should be changed. As organizations change and grow 
change in inevitable or the organization will die.

Now about "consensus".

 From Merriam-Webster: Consensus

1/a/ *:*  general agreement *:* unanimity 
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unanimity> <the /consensus/ 
of their opinion, based on reports ... from the border --- John Hersey>
/    b/ *:*  the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned <the 
/consensus/ was to go ahead>
2*:* group solidarity 
<http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solidarity> in sentiment and 

Although not exactly the same process at NB, I have been involved for 
many years with an organization that only uses the consensus process for 
making decisions.

I attend the RSOF (Religious Society Of Friends - the Quakers) meeting 
in San Francisco. All Quaker Meetings are independent organizations with 
no involuntary central authority. At our monthly meeting for business 
all decisions are arrived at by consensus. By consensus I am not 
referring to the process used at Noisebridge. If there are strong 
opinions one way or the other the decision will be put off for a month 
so people can think about it.

When I first attended a NB meeting I was surprised by the process used 
thee. If you will look at the definition above you won't see anything 
about a veto vote.

You are entitled to your own opinion.
You are NOT entitled to your own facts.


On 12/14/2013 2:41 PM, Al Sweigart wrote:
> Does anyone on the list have experience with other hackerspaces and 
> how they're run? Or even non-small nonprofits in general. It would be 
> good to get more input.
> On Dec 14, 2013 11:58 AM, "The Batkid" <batkid at gmx.com 
> <mailto:batkid at gmx.com>> wrote:
>     >I'm talking about oddness like someone who was asked to come back to
>     a >Tuesday meeting after anti-social behaviour ending up in a
>     screaming >match, followed by his lawyer making legal threats to
>     everyone there. >Or the discussions around people hiding in spaces
>     to sleep. Or leaving >human crap everywhere. etc.
>     I don't think you should blame the consensus process for the
>     amusing lawyer
>     that was an outlier, that particular lawyer has a decades long
>     history of being
>     very antagonizing to try to reach her goals.
>     _______________________________________________
>     Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
>     Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
>     <mailto:Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net>
>     https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss
> _______________________________________________
> Noisebridge-discuss mailing list
> Noisebridge-discuss at lists.noisebridge.net
> https://www.noisebridge.net/mailman/listinfo/noisebridge-discuss

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.noisebridge.net/pipermail/noisebridge-discuss/attachments/20131218/4194f69e/attachment.html>

More information about the Noisebridge-discuss mailing list