[NA-Discuss] "Rough Consensus"

Dharma Dailey dharma at ethoswireless.com
Sat Sep 25 18:25:51 UTC 2010

I sit on a board for a community radio station.  We use the Quaker  
consensus model.   It's a specific *process* that both documents and  
builds consensus.  It does take time to get used to working with the  
method, but so far we've been happy with the outcomes.  No blow ups on  
contentious issues in three years of working together.  (Fingers  


On Sep 25, 2010, at 1:16 PM, John R. Levine wrote:

>> 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.
> R's,
> John
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