[Noisebridge-discuss] Bug/Exploit in the 2nd week of a Consensus Item

Tom Lowenthal me at tomlowenthal.com
Thu Nov 21 17:44:07 UTC 2013

I think that our consensus process would be pretty weak if proposals
couldn't mutate during the week that they're discussed.

The goal of consensus (rather than democracy or whatnot) is to take a
proposal and adjust it to address the preferences and concerns of
everyone around the table until we find something which everyone
present can live with. I've participated in plenty of consensus
discussions in a variety of venues. In my experience, when complex,
sophisticated, or interesting proposals are discussed, lots of
amendment and adjustment is needed, and the final consensus is not
something that any one person at the table would have guessed would be
the final outcome.

We have a practice of announcing a proposal at one meeting, then
having the discussion of it at the next. I do not think that this
should prevent us from having a real and vibrant discussion at the
second meeting. I understand the purpose of the week's gap as
providing notice to everyone in our community: this is what we'll be
discussing next week, and if that topic is important to you, you
should find a way to participate in the discussion.

David Al and Kevin were discussing a sort of double-notice, or
extended discussion. I think we could codify such a way of doing
things like this:

* week zero: announce the topic of discussion;
* week one: discuss it and find provisional consensus, then announce that;
* week two: without objection our provisional consensus is finally
agreed, otherwise repeat week one.

This seems like a reasonable idea to me. It makes the process longer,
and might require participants to come to several meetings in a row,
but it does mean that nobody is going to be so surprised at the
outcome of a consensus discussion that they'll kick themself for not
being there when something unexpected came up. I think I might suggest
it next week.

Other thoughts on this?

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