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I'm not sure if I have a question or just desire some commiserating... Does anybody know what "Consensus" or "Modified Consensus" would be as a Parliamentary Authority?
 
"All TOLIS activities and organization shall be run though consensus. Training in consensus building and running meetings with consensus management will be provided as the TOLIS board deems needed and will be a part of all the leadership trainings developed. A modified form of consensus meeting management will be used with the caveat that if consensus is not able to be reached (with people in disagreement being able to choose to not block progress with their dissent, which would mean the group has the consensus needed to make a decision), then the issue will be tabled to a second meeting.  
 
If it is unable to be decided upon with the second meeting through consensus then a vote will be taken with 2/3 majority of people voting wins.  
 
If the issue needs to be decided there on the spot due to timing issues (there not being time to have another meeting) and there is a board member present, they will make the decision. If there are two board members present and they disagree, another board member will be consulted (preferably the MSS or President) for a tie-breaking vote. If there is no board member present the Council Chair will try to bring one in via electronic means first before deciding to go ahead with the voting process. This attempt to communicate with the board will be documented in minutes of the meeting. 
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern TOLIS only in cases to which they are applicable, where specific groups have determined through consensus that they want to use them in lieu of consensus decision making, and in cases in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the TOLIS Board of Directors may adopt."

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I think I can help you. Transacting business by "consensus" is nothing more than the oppression by one. The rule of a majority is a defining principle for a "deliberative assembly" in RONR.

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3 minutes ago, reelsman said:

I think I can help you. Transacting business by "consensus" is nothing more than the oppression by one. The rule of a majority is a defining principle for a "deliberative assembly" in RONR.

That's why they have "fall back votes"... My problem is that Consensus is a type of voting, not a Parliamentary Authority.

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Consensus is not a method of voting in RONR. Unanimous consent merely means that no member objects, not that every member agrees.

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1 minute ago, reelsman said:

Consensus is not a method of voting in RONR. Unanimous consent merely means that no member objects, not that every member agrees.

I agree. Consensus is a decision making process that requires affirmative votes by all members.

RONR has no such thing.

What I think this group had done is to make all main motions live forever until they receive a consensus. I.e. amend forever...

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24 minutes ago, Father Cadan said:

If the issue needs to be decided there on the spot due to timing issues (there not being time to have another meeting) and there is a board member present, they will make the decision. If there are two board members present and they disagree, another board member will be consulted (preferably the MSS or President) for a tie-breaking vote.

This is amusing to me. In general, groups reject RONR (and democratic principles) in favor of consensus by arguing that it's better if everyone gets along (snapping of fingers is usually involved). But it ultimately comes down to something like this - a naked grab/grant of power to authority. 

I mean, play it out. Any one member can prevent consensus from being reached. Suppose the group wants to do X, but one member, plus a board member in attendance, prefer Y. You're doing Y.

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I would suppose a recess would be something that has to be decided on the spot, so a board member gets to decide. This is just a way to tie the membership up in knots and let the board control everything.

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RONR calls the requirement for rule by consensus a form of "tyranny". Your TOLIS (as in "QVI TOLIS PECCATA MUNDI"?) needs to take this to heart. Otherwise, Father, you're in for some real frustration that will make you go bald.

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1 minute ago, Joshua Katz said:

I would suppose a recess would be something that has to be decided on the spot, so a board member gets to decide. This is just a way to tie the membership up in knots and let the board control everything.

This would apply to board meetings as well. The membership (council) and the board never meet together.

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1 minute ago, Father Cadan said:

This would apply to board meetings as well. The membership (council) and the board never meet together.

The council has a voting member on the board. This is an association of independent groups which means they will have different values etc...

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1 minute ago, Father Cadan said:

This would apply to board meetings as well. The membership (council) and the board never meet together.

Then how does the "a board member will decide" thing work? It seems like, at a board meeting, it's always going to just mean a vote of the board members - i.e. a normal democratic process. 

Whether they meet together or not, it appears clear to me that a lot of council decision-making is going to wind up in the hands of any board member who happens to be present - or reached by electronic means. (And how does the chair decide which board member to "bring in" by electronic means? One he suspects will agree with him?)

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4 minutes ago, Joshua Katz said:

Then how does the "a board member will decide" thing work? It seems like, at a board meeting, it's always going to just mean a vote of the board members - i.e. a normal democratic process. 

Whether they meet together or not, it appears clear to me that a lot of council decision-making is going to wind up in the hands of any board member who happens to be present - or reached by electronic means. (And how does the chair decide which board member to "bring in" by electronic means? One he suspects will agree with him?)

There are so many undefined terms. Right now there are less than ten members, on both council and board, but imagine if they got big. Thank you for your input. You have found more problems, with specific examples, than I. I just ran away screaming. 

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28 minutes ago, Father Cadan said:

I think I'm going to recommend the standard verbage be placed in Parliamentary Authority and a special rule requiring 2/3 vote for all main motions be adopted.

I think I need to have 2/3 for amendments to it the majority could amend something the super majority won't pass.

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Guest reelsman

In RONR, subsidiary motions to Amend require a majority vote, even when the motion being modified requires a two-thirds vote for adoption.

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1 hour ago, Father Cadan said:

I'm not sure if I have a question or just desire some commiserating... Does anybody know what "Consensus" or "Modified Consensus" would be as a Parliamentary Authority?

The words “consensus” or “modified consensus” are not, in and of themselves, a parliamentary authority. A parliamentary authority is  a manual on the common parliamentary law.

As to what “consensus” is generally, RONR describes consensus as a requirement for unanimous agreement, and condemns such a method of governance in harsh terms. (RONR, 11th ed., pg. l) I don’t know what “modified consensus” is.

Nonetheless, your organization is required to follow its rules unless and until those rules are amended, no matter how ill-advised those rules may be.

1 hour ago, Father Cadan said:

What would the effect of moving to recess be if one member disagrees? Wait until the next meeting to decide if you should currently recess?

Well, I think you could argue that the final paragraph, which describes modified procedures for motions which must be decided upon the spot due to timing issues, applies in such cases. Those rules appear to permit decisions by majority vote (otherwise there would be no need for a “tie-breaking” vote) and for some or all of those votes to come from members who are not present.

1 hour ago, Joshua Katz said:

Then how does the "a board member will decide" thing work? It seems like, at a board meeting, it's always going to just mean a vote of the board members - i.e. a normal democratic process. 

But only if it needs to be decided on the spot.

I don’t know who decides if it needs to be decided on the spot, though. :)

1 hour ago, Father Cadan said:

I think I'm going to recommend the standard verbage be placed in Parliamentary Authority and a special rule requiring 2/3 vote for all main motions be adopted.

I don’t know what’s wrong with a majority vote, but this is still an improvement over what you have now.

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11 hours ago, Guest Zev said:

Perhaps if it interests you, you may refer to my posting on this subject at

https://robertsrules.forumflash.com/topic/22449-consensus-the-new-disease/?do=findComment&comment=121802

which contains a link to an interesting and well-thought discussion on why consensus is a real bad idea. Kudos to the author.

Thank you. I really enjoyed that article.

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On 4/9/2019 at 12:04 PM, Father Cadan said:

I think I need to have 2/3 for amendments to it the majority could amend something the super majority won't pass.

If you don't have majority rule, you have minority rule.   Requiring a 2/3 vote means that any minority larger than one third can block progress, and believe me, they will.

Here's a quote from RONR itself that says it better than I could:

Robert was surely aware of the early evolutionary development of parliamentary procedure in the English House of Lords resulting in a movement from “consensus,” in its original sense of unanimous agreement, toward a decision by majority vote as we know it today. This evolution came about from a recognition that a requirement of unanimity or near unanimity can become a form of tyranny in itself. In an assembly that tries to make such a requirement the norm, a variety of misguided feelings—reluctance to be seen as opposing the leadership, a notion that causing controversy will be frowned upon, fear of seeming an obstacle to unity—can easily lead to decisions being taken with a pseudoconsensus which in reality implies elements of default, which satisfies no one, and for which no one really assumes responsibility. Furthermore, what is apparently taken to be the sense of the meeting may well be little more than a “least common denominator” of such generality as to contribute little to the solution of the practical problem involved, thereby leaving such matters to officers or staff or the meeting’s organizers to work out according to their own intentions. Robert saw, on the other hand, that the evolution of majority vote in tandem with lucid and clarifying debate—resulting in a decision representing the view of the deliberate majority—far more clearly ferrets out and demonstrates the will of an assembly. It is through the application of genuine persuasion and parliamentary technique that General Robert was able to achieve decisions in meetings he led which were so free of divisiveness within the group.

 

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In my email today I found a link to a really good article by Ann Macfarlane: https://jurassicparliament.com/consensus/ which lead me to a 'book' on the matter On Conflict and Consensus: a handbook on Formal Consensus decisionmaking by C.T. Butler and Amy Rothstein. I have attached it for your entertainment.

c-t-butler-and-amy-rothstein-on-conflict-and-consensus-a-handbook-on-formal-consensus-decisionm.pdf

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