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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:01 am 
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Let's get this sorted tomorrow. If we want, we could have a spotless cafe next week. If not, why not?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:35 am 
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i'd say so


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:30 pm 
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also - let's not forget couches. anyone wanna take the lead on this?

also - what do we think about dried flowers? last longer more ethical? kind of rustic? richold suggested. Former bucket lamp front of houser. I want the cafe to start looking good again. it has become depressing. money is no object, that's my vote. (not that we vote but - you know -)

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:52 pm 
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fresh flowers. but maintained.

dried flowers, have an air of stale death about them.

in my view

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 12:53 pm 
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i agree with chris.
Dried flowers remind me of grannies houses....not nice grannies either. EVIL GRANNIES

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:41 pm 
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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.

Quote:
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.

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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.

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if you think windows are easy, please clean them often. thanks. same goes for the toilets. etc.


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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


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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.

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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.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:14 pm 
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What about bringing back the voting buttons?

e.g.
no paid cleaners - [tick box]
paid cleaners- [tick box]
paid cleaners 3 month trial-[tick box]

it may help give a clear picture of what everyones overall view is.

just an idea.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:21 pm 
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chombee: "crazy for consensus!"

ryan: "coo coo for coco puffs."

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 4:23 pm 
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Ugh - my rant will be longer than chombee's if I start talking about voting buttons for serious situations!

chombee makes some important points, I think. But then, I'm also 'crazy for consensus.'

Looking forward to the meeting tomorrow.

Trial cleaner run sounds like it could be a good compromise. I am into some new furniture happening, but I think money is an object. Let's talk budgets either tomorrow night or at a weekend away soon.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:25 pm 
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thankyou chombee for that. i think we needed reminding.

please wait for me to get back for a forest away weekend. back late feb.


x


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:26 pm 
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Chombee: with respect, we all know already what consensus decision-making is, including how and why it is supposed to work. But at the forest we have always found that complete, full-on consensus decision-making in the way that you describe is too much to expect. We all agree that it is kind of an ideal to aspire to, but we also are all (mostly) realists who have learned the hard way that getting a consensus needs to be thought of more as a bonus than a necessity.

That is the modus of the forest I know and love. More recently, there has been this kind of renewed emphasis on the need for consensus in everything. While I think the intention is laudable, I believe that in practice it slows everything down to an unacceptable level. I also think it leads to even more inaction, when inaction is already major problem of ours.

Basically, I think you have it the wrong way around when you say "This attitude of all action no talk that has appeared is destructive." First, that attitude has always been around; it has not just appeared. Second, that attitude is the reason why we managed to get some stuff done in the past. I believe the dogmatic emphasis on consensus decision-making is what is really destructive.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:45 pm 
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beev, i feel you are speaking inaccurately on behalf of others regarding forest decision making. for me forest being an example of how concensus decision making works is very important. also genuinely felt it was good to read chombees remarks, reminding me how we could be working better.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:54 pm 
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I get what you're saying Bill, but when I was talking about lessons learned in the past I was actually referring to a time before you were involved in the forest. So in that sense I was def not trying to speak on your behalf.

For as long as I have been involved and, I believe, before i was involved, the thing I described is the way what it was. Believe it or not, there was a time (around summer of 2003 maybe) when I used to be the one that whinged about the lack of consensusness. But my views have since changed quite a bit.

Anyway, what I put above should be taken mainly as my point of view and not really an attempt to describe anyone else's, except in a vague way that refers to how I perceived stuff.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Oh, also I was stating my view that what some people think makes us work better, others like me think the opposite. It is valid view. The saddest thing is that we we will never reach consensus on this.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 6:09 pm 
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Hey dudes, sorry to butt in but... I have some friends specifically working on consensus based decision making in the UK and also through human rights observation work in Guatemala. One works specifically on Consensus-based decision making, negotiation with police, foreign embassies, human rights groups being targeted by militias and is fully trained and has worked in community settings in the UK.
They'd potentially be up for coming up and chatting to folk at the Forest. Just email me if you think it would be interesting. One would also be potentially up for coming to help facilitate on a weekend away. Also I thought people were experimenting with consensus based decision making throughout the history of the forest.
D x

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:01 pm 
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Consensus is cool, but we quickly get carried off on tangents and discussions last way too long and therefor things take longer to get done.

Take this Topic...it started off as someone saying that they think we should spruce up the sign outside the Forest....look at it now.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:06 pm 
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sounds good dan.

yo! friendly reminder - shannon objected. We put things on hold. Some people got a little testy with that block as there has been a renewed desire to DO Stuff and less Talk stuff. Point being: we respect the block and we respect and like each other.

Let us not forget that we are here because we enjoy it and, mostly, we are working amongst friends. While consensus is important and while the means very well be the ends let us trust each other not to do anything stupid and reckless. If Shannon felt bullied in this instance that is unfortunate and, i hope, an anomaly owing to a snowballing of motivation. No one has questioned her right to assert a block and I certainly would stand up for it. So.... what the point? We talk as a collective on thurs. we have action (one way or another by friday.)

I think the fact that we're here blathering on about this is a sign that we're fine and healthy.

"Something will happen, it always does" - Mark Vitelli, 1998.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 7:52 am 
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i realise this topic has strayed way off topic. and that's cool because the original topic was crap (sorry alex!)

i don't like this blocking vibe. in a way, people always had the power to block if they were really determined, but they generally didn't exercise it.

speaking for myself, there's been quite a few occasions in the past when i was the lone person disagreeing with something. but my respect for the others in the group meant that, after arguing my view, i was prepared to put my concerns aside and allow things to move forward.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:52 pm 
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I don't think this is a case of one person blocking the group decision. The consensus process hasn't been applied to the cleaner thing yet. We have only had an open discussion about it on the bb. We'll do the consensus tonight and will have a decision.

Dan, I think it would be great to get these people in.

Beev, the point I was trying to make, I think it got lost in there, was not that we should do consensus. We already do. I think Ryan is right that we're all essentially on the same page that we a consensus process of some form or another. But that we should pay more attention to doing it more quickly and effectively without wasting time and having long drawn out discussions. We use consensus decision making but don't always pay much attention to the things that are meant to make consensus work efficiently, then we complain that we're getting stuck in long drawn-out discussions that go nowhere. Perhaps it's not surprising.

Also, I am happy with rough consensus. I wasn't meaning to insist on perfect consensus on everything. The reason I was emphasising doing the consensus process well was because I think we could make better decisions faster while causing less tension. It's not because I think we should insist on perfect consensus on everything.

I've been at forest meetings where I thought we used the consensus process well, the meeting wasn't too long, good decisions got made on tricky topics, everyone went away happy, and action was taken. I've also been at meetings that were several hours long and ended with still no decision on what to do about infoseed. I think the bad meetings tend to be the ones where there are lots of people, lots of difficult things to discuss, and we don't bother with proper facilitation, sticking to the agenda, hand signals and all that stuff.

Gandhi, what I was trying to say is that if you do consensus without faciliation etc. then it just becomes an open discussion and can wander off-topic and go nowhere. Sometimes an open discussion is good. But if you want to get decisions made fast, then you have an agenda and a facilitator whose job is to keep things on topic and keep driving the group towards consensus, and so on. My point being that I think if consensus is done well it doesn't have to take very long, but if we don't bother with proper facilitation we shouldn't blame consensus when it does.

Also, the bb is not an example of a consensus decision making process, it's an open discussion forum. That's fine but is no way to get consensus decisions made quickly. Personally I think we overuse the bb to try to come to group decisions when we should be having short-and-sweet facilitated meetings. The bb is good for an open-ended discussion and for making simple decisions, but when there are more difficult decisions to be made so that we can act on them we should have a meeting and get it done. I think we understand this already but maybe we're forgetting it a little bit.

We're always going to be inconsistent about this but I think we could try to do it better.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 11:37 am 
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For what it's worth: I was not blocking. I was objecting to making what I felt was a very important decision, on the bb, without discussing it at a meeting first.


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 Post subject: Cleaning and food
PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2008 11:36 pm 
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It's reassuring to hear that the mank does actually bug other people as much as it does me. Maybe, Ras and Me could volunteer to do the cleaning between us? Three days a week each? We are both in around that much anyway. What about if we did it and got a meal per shift plus bonus of a meal voucher per week for the commitment to it? Kind of like the night managers except we'd be the shite managers. We could also take responsibility for the compost and free shop, managing the amount of shite in there with the help of the sign/request ideas already suggested. I've tidied it here and there in the past, but it'd motivate me to do it more to know the work was appreciated and acknowledged. How does that work for you Ras?

Food. I'd be more than happy to get together with people who want to cook up stuff for forest as long they're not the bossy "everything has to be done this way" types. Easy recipes to start with though, don't be getting all Gordon Ramsay on my ass. I have a juicer up at the house too, so we could make smoothies too!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 12:32 pm 
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firstly, i need helo shifting some couches. if anyone comes in and wants to lend a hand and carry some - that would be great.

second, any kind of regular cleaning would be great danny. part of the Forest WG decided that we didn't need to pay staff to clean up our mess and that we should find willing volunteers.

not sure where we are on that campagin but i would say that if you wanted to clean extra hard and regular like that compensation in terms of vouchers could be made availible. does anyone disagree?

r

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 5:25 pm 
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i think we should compensate like a muthafukka, whatever that means. people who clean often are heroes!

hey danny, remember the first shift we worked in this bristo building? we stayed till about 3am cleaning the ming from the kitchen. them was good days, them was...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:18 pm 
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Yes, similar compensation to night managing or treasuring for cleaning peeps is right on. Also Danny: we are trying to do the toilets daily now. £5 for a good hose down. Rota will be up very soon (if it isn't already??).

Ryan: take someone from the kitchen tomorrow morning to start on the couches.

I'm thinking of heading down to Leith again for the auction Thursday morning. And if there are no objections to the 80s style grey leather couch, I'll get that too...


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:13 pm 
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re cleaning; how often does the café/red room floor get a proper soapy mop down? i'd like to do that at some point, although it'd take a number of hours (ipu, what a f'n state that floor is in) and would have to be done after the café was shut and there were no peeps hanging around walking back and forth.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:24 pm 
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just do it!

i used to clean the forest at night a lot. the place really needs that kind of love, which it hasn't been getting lately.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 11:42 am 
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In theory, they should get a proper mop down every Sunday. Not sure if that's been happening the last few weeks. When I was doing Sundays, I probably managed it every couple of weeks.

If we don't let people stay behind in the cafe this week it will be easier to do these jobs after hours. We did a really good sweep down a couple of weeks ago after locking everyone out...


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2008 3:22 pm 
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This is an interesting article about pet-training...

http://edinburghnews.scotsman.com/topst ... 4247417.jp

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Last edited by Gaz on Wed Jul 02, 2008 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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