Resources on Facilitation
Facilitation and Decision Making:
- A quote from the ether: "Robert's Rules are what make town hall meetings so boring." But there are clear ways to form a new proposal and present it to the group, and it would be helpful to have a widely known American standard. However, Public Lab is an international community.
- Good pic at Used by the Occupy movement--good pic here. Representatives from Working Groups (or Affinity Groups) meet in a Spokes Council. Does not presume a particular decision making method for the Spokes Council -- it could be consensus, voting, whatever.
- Consensus processes like Quakers. However, if the group can't reach a decision, a smaller group (say, 5 or 6 out a a group of 40) would be delegated to reach a decision. (yes this is a reference from Mathew Lippincott).
Summary of Statement-Based Process (current method)
- Members may present public statements, motions, or open letters and encourage others to sign them, as is sometimes done by university faculties
* Members may then say "x % of organizers signed a statement that ..." or "the undersigned ..."
* Very difficult to reach 100%; most statements will presumably be signed by a [possibly small] subset of organizers
Pros: nobody may speak for anyone else without their signed affirmation
* anyone may write a statement and circulate it for support at any time; minimal "process"
* no veto; dissenting members cannot stop others from writing or signing statements
Cons:* essentially nonbinding: a statement does not speak for the Organizers group as a body unless it has 100% of its membership signed
Summary of Voting Process (a proposed method)
- Would require us to pick a threshold for binding agreement. 75% has been suggested. There is also strong support for 90% from organizers experienced with concensus.
* If X% of organizers vote for a motion, it is adopted by the Organizers group
* Equivalent to >(100-X)% must vote against or simply not vote* to block
* Members asked to respect the outcome of the vote -- but may of course voice dissent personally, i.e. "I voted against it, but agree to abide by it."
- If you wanted to push a change to the overall organization, you'd first put it first through your "Local," Local Union, or possibly even chapter--Mondragon in Spain is a famous example.
Types of Facilitation
Come Hell or High Water: A Handbook on Collective Process Gone Awry
- Book published by AK Press. http://www.akpress.org/comehellorhighwater.html
"Helps individuals navigate the world of egalitarian, directly democratic groups. From their experiences working with egalitarian and anarchist organizations, Delfina Vannucci and Richard Singer offer a street-level view of how social relationships and power work"
Online Discussion/Decision Making Platforms:
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Flat leadership can be great for innovation and interaction. However, some events may be controversial and require mediators and facilitators to provide a forum for reaching consensus.
Consensus is desired, but may not be obtained. What will be our process then? How will we voice dissenting views?
Many other methods exist for approaching difficult decisons. Could we approach consensus by region, mailing group, organizers, Robert's Rules of Order, etc.?