Standing Resolution on Consensus Decision Making

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(This is a proposed standing resolution from the new bylaws project. It would not go into the bylaws (at least at this time) but would rather be acted upon by the board in conjunction with the New Bylaws Project.)

To start off, we're just pulling a proposed ammendment to the bylaws and putting it here. This is unfinished.

An amendment to the old bylaws adopting formal consensus was already passed (in theory). We should get that, determine if it was reported to the IRS and see if they were happy with it. If it wasn't reported to the IRS, we may want it repealed before we amend the other changes, and use a standing resolution to implement the use of formal consensus. RfS 18:10, 29 Jul 2005 (PDT)

ARTICLE IX Consensus (proposed)

Section 1. Model

The decision making process throughout the Free Geek structure shall be based on the model of formal consensus put forth by CT Butler and Amy Rothstein in chapter 2 of the book "On Conflict and Consensus" (Food Not Bombs Publishing, © 1987).

We should include a publication date, in case OCAC changes when we look the other way. RfS 14:26, 11 Jul 2005 (PDT)
I did some more research. There is an online version, presumably an electronic version of the published print version. (C)1987. Check it out at http://www.ic.org/pnp/ocac/ --Jkane 21:17, 11 Jul 2005 (PDT)
At a glance, I like chapter 2 of that document. I think some things we don't want to refer to in the bylaws are:
  • arguments of why consensus is better or more appropriate, etc (like chapter 1).
  • too much detail about techniques within a consensus framework (like chapters 5 and 6).
That kind of stuff is good recommended reading for people new to consensus or people wanting to become better facilitators, etc., but the bylaws should mostly stick to the mechanics of the process, I think. RfS 10:34, 12 Jul 2005 (PDT)
Do we want to say, someting like "OCAC (C)1987 or as most newly revised".--Jkane 21:16, 11 Jul 2005 (PDT)
Or "OCAC (C)1987 or similar as authorized by the Board and Council"? RfS 10:34, 12 Jul 2005 (PDT)
I changed it from "(C)" to "©" since, as I understand it, the former carries little legal weight whereas the latter does. (Of course that is coming from copyright/licence law rather than bylaws law...) ~ wren 20:24, 19 Jul 2005 (PDT)
I think the CT Butler books official home is consensus.net and the appropriate link to chapter 2 is http://consensus.net/ocac2.html (though there is a broken image there). RfS 13:55, 15 Jul 2005 (PDT)

Section 2. Closing Options in Formal Consensus

A participant in formal consensus has three (3) options when consensus is called for:

  • Consent - Actively agree that the organization should implement the proposal
  • Stand aside - May not agree with the decision but will not impede its enactment
  • Block - The group may not go ahead with this decision. A concern must be based upon the principals of the group to justify a block to consensus.

The right to block is the equivalent to voting privileges in a voting based organization.

Is the "equivalent to voting privileges" clause necessary? Might it be misinterpreted to mean it's the same as voting? RfS 14:27, 11 Jul 2005 (PDT)
Added definition for Consent RfS 13:58, 15 Jul 2005 (PDT)

Section 3. Presumption of Assent.

Any member of a group within Free Geek seeking consensus who is present at the meeting of the group where consensus is sought shall be presumed to have assented to the action taken, unless his or her dissent (in the form of a stand aside) shall be entered in the minutes of the meeting.


Should the term "consensus" be spelled out as a shortcut for this brand of "formal consensus"? Should we define this before we start using it? Should we litter the rest of the references to "consensus" with references to this section? RfS 14:18, 6 Jul 2005 (PDT)