[NA-Discuss] "Rough Consensus"

John R. Levine johnl at iecc.com
Sat Sep 25 17:16:01 UTC 2010

> As always, the preference is for full consensus. Rough consensus (which I
> personally would consider to be less than 10% opposition) is usable but far
> less desirable than unanimity. ...

Rough consensus has worked pretty well in the IETF.

The only groups I know of that work by full consensus are Quaker meetings 
and criminal juries.  The Quakers have a tradition that you "stand aside" 
if you disagree with the majority, but not so vehemently that you are 
willing to block everyone else.

Quakers being Quakers, it works for them, but anywhere else it means that 
the group is often held hostage to one stubborn member.  In juries, where 
someone's life is often in the balance, that's a good thing.  When we're 
deciding how to word yet another comment to ICANN, it's not, so I agree 
that rough consensus is appropriate here.


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