Will be there tomorrow.
People, we work by consensus. That is how we make decisions together as a group. You cannot do consensus decision making with discussion. This attitude of all action no talk that has appeared is destructive.
Oh god Shannon please no! We are def suffering from too much talk and no action.
I really don't think a consensus process can work with this kind of attitude. When somebody in a supposed consensus process has to say 'I will not be bullied into not talking about this' alarm bells should be ringing. I don't actually think we are suffering from too much talk and no action. But if we are having a lack of action, I think it is because, like Shannon and Chris say, we are overstretched and trying to do too much at once. And we do not handle consensus very well. And we overuse the bb instead of real-world meetings. (The bb is no good for coming to consensus on anything that is at all controversial, maybe that is why bb threads can be long and rambling and come to no decisions.)
I honestly feel that the forest has not taken the consensus process seriously enough. We have forgotten or perhaps never understood what consensus decision making is for, and we have not understood how to do consensus most effectively.
Consensus decision making is supposed to be a fast way of coming to group decisions that people are then motivated to carry out because they felt they were part of that decision and process
. Consensus is supposed to get decisions made efficiently, without wasting time, and its supposed to get decisions made that will be carried out, and it's supposed to do this while building a spirit of cohesion and solidarity in the group, not dividing the group and alienating some parts of it.
If we are having too many endless discussions that go nowhere I say it is because we are not doing consensus properly. The question is not whether we discuss things or not, but how we do our meetings and discussion better. Remember what the whole working groups system was for: it was meant to empower the working group meetings to make decisions and carry them out, so that we don't have to have a massive committee meeting every time we need to decide something.
We keep on putting things off until we have a meeting about it, then it gets discussed for ages and nothing gets done until another meeting, and so it goes on.
Then we have forgotten what meetings are for. Remember, our working group meetings are supposed to have a rule: if you come to the meeting then you are willing to take on an action point and carry it out and report back at the next meeting. We need to do meetings right, not stop having meetings.
There are guidebooks and the like about how to do consensus well. The wikipedia page is not a bad start http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus_decision-making
I suggest we pay attention to them. I also think it would be worthwhile getting in an expert. Someone who knows and has experience of consensus decision making, and can come to our meetings and show us better how to handle things like facilitation, minutes, hand signals and action points, so that we can make good decisions quickly at our meetings and then get them carried out.
Sorry to be an asshole and quote lots of people like this, but what the hell. Don't take is personally.
if you think windows are easy, please clean them often. thanks. same goes for the toilets. etc.
If those people who are uncomfortable with the prospect of paying someone to work in the Forest want to come in everyday and clean the place to as high a level as a paid cleaner can then fine
If we could find someone who really objected to paying cleaners, it would be great, as they could do the cleaning voluntarily.
The problem with these kind of arguments is that they're an attempt force out someone else's opinion and replace it with our own. To have it our way and get others who are standing in our way to shut up. This kind of attitude will not lead to consensus. If some people just have to give up on their point of view because they aren't willing to clean all the toilets all the time voluntarily themselves, then what you end up with is a decision that has been made to the satisfaction of some people and the exclusion of others. We are divided into two groups, one of which just has to throw up its hands and walk away from the decision, accepting the victory of the other. The decision feels alien to this group and therefore they will not be motivated to carry it through. In the worst case they may walk away from the project completely.
This is bad. The whole point of consensus decision making is to make decisions that everyone feels part of, so that everyone will feel motivated to carry that decision through.
What we are supposed to do is listen to everyone's opinion and try to come to a decision that everyone can be happy with. That's a completely different attitude. The suggestion beev made later about hiring a cleaner for three months to see how it goes seems to me like the kind of thing you'd do in this situation, if you were doing consensus.
This, requires more management and less discussion in my opinion - something we are notoriously bad at.
I'm not entirely sure what Ryan means by management. But I think that within a consensus process we should not be afraid to have leadership and delegation. Not every decision has to be made by the group. The group can delegate someone to take on a leadership role and make some decisions individually. But that person has to be answerable to the group, and it has to be clearly understood by everyone which decisions have been delegated in this way and which haven't, so we know what needs to be brought to a meeting and what doesn't. This also applies to a larger group delegating to a smaller group. Currently we lack this clarity. It is what I was trying to create by suggesting a way for working groups to make decisions on spending over budget without a forest working group meeting.
The forest is not just an arts and events charity. It's not just about our output. The forest is also a grassroots community and an open participation, volunteer project. For many volunteers, more than I think some people realise, being part of this grassroots community project is the most important thing, and our actual output in terms of art, events etc. is merely secondary. So I think the process of how we do things is important. Like Swithun says, the means are the ends.
I've had it with you. If I had an image of a laser gun I would absolutely position it right here in my hand...
Ha! I have a real laser absolutely positioned in my hand!