[Dev] Reflection on the Relationship of Money and Parabola

Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic tct at ceata.org
Sun Jan 18 10:09:50 GMT 2015

On 18.01.2015 01:36, Nicolás Reynolds wrote:
> right, and i also posted some reading material about the consensus
> process, iirc including an article entitle "consensus is not unanimity"
> :)
> http://consensusdecisionmaking.org/Articles/Consensus%20is%20not%20Unanimity.html

But the consensus I've noticed you (not only you personally, but other
members too) are trying to reach here in the Parabola community is
actually unanimity.

Take a look at this basic consensus decision-making process:


The community members who expressed their opinion on this mailing list
except one member say (a thing which is obvious, IMO) that donations are
good for the project. How are these donations are being spent is a
different topic which should be negotiated separately. "Yes, we are
going for donations" is the basic decision to make in order to discuss
other next steps (form of organization for deciding how the donations
will be spent, institutional support from other organization etc.)

Let's see where you are on the basic consensus decision-making process:

Discussion: Parabola could use donations

Proposal: Let's accept donations for Parabola

<Test for consensus>

Yes: N-1 active members: "It's a great idea, let's do it!"

No: 1 member: "It's a dangerous path, it's up to me to stand up so this
will never happen!"

Concerns raised: "Money will destroy the friendship which is the
backbone of this project"

Modification to Proposal: None can be made, it's a very simple proposal
text: "accept donations". There is no modification which can be made.
But other members have tried to reassure the 1 "no" member that money
will be spent in a fair way, at first just bills will be payed not
people, that the community will decide every spending etc.

Stand aside: The 1 "no" member doesn't want that (disagree but go with
the community for the betterment of the project) or other members don't
let the "no" member to stand aside; here, a combination of the two

Result: *Block*

Is Parabola's "consensus" requiring unanimity? I think so, yes. And this
puts pressure on one member and frustrates all the other members because
of the block. This is not healthy for a community.

I will continue with some quotes:

"Those who continue to disagree are typically exhibiting
non-collaborative, and sometimes abusive, behavior." -- Jimmy Wales

From the article linked by fauno, authors Starhawk, Randy Schutt:

"Sometimes a majority dominates, sometimes a minority, sometimes an
individual who employs "the Block". But no matter how it is done, it is
NOT consensus."

"Since unanimity of this kind only rarely occurs in groups with more
than one member, groups that try to use this kind of process usually end
up being either extremely frustrated or coercive. Either decisions are
never made (leading to the demise of the group, its conversion into a
social group that does not accomplish any tasks), they are made
covertly, or some group or individual dominates the rest."

"Consensus is a process for deciding what is best for a group.
The final decision is often not the first preference of each individual
in the group and they may not even like the final result. But it is a
decision to which they all consent because it is best for the group."

"Unanimity can sometimes be achieved if one person or group can persuade
everyone else of the validity of their perspective and solution. But it
the problem has no easy, clear solution, some people are personally
devoted to a particular solution, or there is competition for power in
the group, the process, will quickly bog down, factionalize , and/or
revert to coercion."

Tiberiu-Cezar Tehnoetic
(Tiberiu-Constantin Turbureanu)
Președinte, Fundația Ceata

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