rough consensus (was Re: "trouble maker")

Melinda Shore mshore at
Wed Jun 25 17:21:49 CEST 2003

> Someone also reminded me that sometimes you need as high as 95% for 
> rough consensus and sometimes as low as 65%, varies according to the 
> topic and the situation.

When you frame the question of "rough consensus" in terms of
percentages you're actually framing it in terms of voting,
which we don't do for a number of reasons.  "Consensus" is
really about the process of arriving at decisions rather
than the decisions themselves - making sure that all voices
are heard and respected, and that what you're doing is
synthesizing information rather than selecting from
available options.  By choosing "rough consensus" we're
providing ourselves some protection, in theory, against

We do consensus *incredibly* badly.  One of the primary
reasons is that it requires commitment to the process
itself - to negotiation, compromise, and a willingness to
accept and move forward with the outcome of the process.
All too often we lack that commitment and it's causing some
big process problems, including the "obstructive individual"
problem that you've raised.


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