Consent processes for meetings vs forum or other asynchronous

The problem here is, will you want people to have consent rights who don’t always show up in the meetings? If they do have consent rights, this means most of the time you won’t be able to make decisions in the meeting. This might still work fine (though not as efficiently), but then you should get into the habit of seeking consent in a different way, e.g. on the forum.

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I think there’s some room for quorum and consent-of-present for most things. That actually provides incentive to show up to meetings.

If someone follows through with giving advanced notice they will miss, that could prompt more deference to checking in with them on consent items.

I think all decisions that go beyond trivial should be probably brought up on the forum (not just in meeting notes) and have a chance to get consent or objection from an role affected by the decision (and specifically ping anyone who we think of where this applies).

Seeking consent on the forum is a good plan in general. And the accountability part for that goes with the 48-hour response proposal above (though for any particularly major or controversial decisions, I want to insist on consent without such time-limits. In that case, a delayed reply still counts, and we separately deal with the failure to keep the agreement about responsiveness).

Trying to express this in terms of circles, this could roughly mean:

  • Forum-circle: Circle which contains all people with roles (maybe more). Consent decisions are made on the forum. Decisions become effective automatically at a certain deadline, but only if there’s no objections currently. If people have an objection later on, they can start the decision process again – until a new decision is made (by integrating the objection), the old decision stays active.
  • Meeting-circle: Circle which contains the people who are present at meetings. Consent decisions are made at the meetings, absent people are asked on the forum or via private exchange. (Your viewpoint: The list of members of this circle changes automatically and implicitly at the beginning of every meeting, based on who is present. My viewpoint: The list of members of this circle can be changed explicitly by the consent of everyone in this circle; people are encouraged to be members of this circle exactly if they expect to attend all or most meetings.)

This would mean: Important decisions are made by the forum-circle, not-so-important decisions made by the meeting-circle.

IMHO the membership of both circles should be defined clearly and changed explicitly (but not set in stone, i.e. people are invited to become members, but they need to do so explicitly) and there should be different baseline agreements for both circles.

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I don’t think we want circles based on tooling. I think accountability / areas-of-responsibility are the basis for circles. We need circles and roles better defined. Each circle (including the overall top-level team one) can then decide when and how to use each tool (meetings vs forum etc)

I see the questions of forum and meeting participation as otherwise good candidates for creating more focused driver statements and proposals for how to finalize our process. The points above are decent starting points for that. Maybe there will be some idea of “meeting-attendees” as a known group/circle distinctly, but I’m not sure about that.

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True. Better idea: Rename forum-circle to full-circle and meeting-circle to core-circle. The distinction is about the amount of time that one wants to invest.

The core-circle would do meetings because its members typically are willing to adapt to the meeting times, but it might want to have members that cannot attend, so maybe it would use the forum as well.

(But if the core-circle wants to have a clear definition of how decisions are made, in particular defined membership, it would be unable to make decisions in the meeting if it has members that don’t attend them.)


That’s getting closer. I sense the tension that we want to both encourage a core participation including reliably attending meetings while not pushing away (and even honoring consent of) those who have valuable perspectives and contribute regularly but may not make meetings reliably.

I think we can define a starting point and iterate from there, emphasizing that this is a bit of a trial-and-error stage.

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I think I’ve emphasized defined membership way too much. I think circles with defined membership as a pattern are currently not the most needful thing to introduce.

I have no idea how the relationship between decisions in the meeting and the forum should work, but maybe the best thing is to experiment. Maybe consent-of-present is part of the solution. But how do we decide which decisions to bring up on the forum?

If all decisions are made on the forum, people won’t use the meeting for making decisions. But then, maybe that’s a good thing – other things can be done in the meeting, or maybe the meeting is simply not as convenient as using the forum :slight_smile:

The more important discussion now would probably be: How can we do consent decisions on the forum? See Process for consent decisions on the forum. In particular, I completely removed my emphasis on defined membership and instead proposed all forum users to have consent rights. However, I feel if control is truly in everyone’s hands, things could get out of control at some point (e.g. someone blocking everything with bogus objections). Hence, I propose that only certain people are allowed to participate in qualifying objections.


We can have good decision-making processes prior to determining who makes decisions on what when. The two issues relate but are still separate.

We can use a good consent-decision process during the process of developing better circle structure and accountabilities.

Meetings should eventually be clear in their scope. Governance decisions should probably not be finalized in weekly meetings. They are really tactical meetings about work within already-defined roles. They can come up with drivers and proposals about governance, but consent on any governance proposal should not happen just in a meeting.