Consensus and Direction

Aux is still in its early stages and many decisions are being made. I am grateful for everyone’s input, even (and often especially) if we disagree. Due to the bootstrapping nature of the project, we do not currently have fully established governance structures. This is mentioned in the roadmap as a necessary step to allow for the creation of such units. Because of this, many of the things that would be handled by a specific unit like the Steering Committee are being shared for feedback and discussion. I want to be clear that, currently, I am acting with the role of the Steering Committee in setting the direction for Aux. My goal in doing so is to make sure we follow through with the outlined roadmap, at which point an elected committee will take my place.

As well, to clarify, consensus is not about everyone agreeing. Rather, it is about having all of the concerns addressed.


Thanks for starting Aux @jakehamilton

The way you speak about governance, especially the “consensus” (see below why quoted) feels similar to the book “Re-Inventing organizations”

Pay-What-Feels-Right - REINVENTING ORGANIZATIONS (donation based free download)

One of the aspects the book talks about “consent based decision making”, which essentially boils down to what you describe

In short, the consent making question can be as easy as:

Is this good enough for now?

I do love the book and started practicing this in a bunch of co-creative circles that are very loosely organized, it works well.

I’m wondering if this view (and possibly the vocabulary) might fit into the bigger picture for Aux?

p.s: the illustrated variant of the book is made for quick & easy understanding of the idea and contains recommendations how to get the process started.

p.p.s: I also have a friend that is implementing group governance (the term commonly used for such organizational structures) and through their network their might be support available to practice/ implement group governance.


Haven’t heard of this book before, I’ll try to take a look later!

1 Like

make sure to download the illustrated version. It can be read with 2-3h while the other version is very text heavy

1 Like

I recommend reading the Guix bylaws for inspiration:

1 Like

It also reminds me of “sociocracy” as described in the books Who Decides Who Decides and Many Voices One Song. They suggest going for consent as opposed to consensus, talking things through until a compromise can be reached that’s good enough for a now, that everyone can agree to, and can be revisited later if needed. Not sure if it’s a good fit here, and I haven’t had the chance to actually practice it so I can’t speak to it’s efficacy. But it’s always seemed promising to me.


I like seeing this discussions about how to organize power, specially the less traditional ones.
I would love to read some theory and experiment with them, pushing forwards in terms of governance it’s also interesting.

Yes it does sound very similar to that. From the way I understand it, sociocracy is one of the named forms of group governance.

The issue I’ve felt is the re-use of words like “consensus” and “compromise” to processes that approach things differently. In the world of giving consent it’s not about “finding the middle ground” (a different description of compromise) but to hear every voice that wants to be express themselves regarding a topic, incorporating their requests when/ when/ how it is possible and/or feasible - or alternatively stating how they are incompatible to the defined goal.
A “voting” in the end can take the form of the “is this good enough question”.

It actually lends itself well to the idea of SIGs as a SIGs team can make the proposals, hear people and their concerns, refine based on feedback and put the final proposal to a vote.

The next question is how to build a SIG, IMO an easy way is to be open to everybody that cares enough to put time and effort into finding a resolution. Other possibilities might involve intentional inclusion of subject matter experts (SME) - which could be helpful for this scenario - and/or having SME available for consultation if the SIG is in need of knowledge/ guidance/ support.

If done well and consistent, there is little room and incentive for power structures, it asks people though to behave consistently well-intentioned.

By now I feel I start summarizing the book I linked in my comment above, so I’ll stop here cause the book does a much better job of describing it than me.

Yeah I get you, the real impact is in the experience though. The feeling of coming away from a productive meeting with well intentioned people that was a pleasure to attend, didnt feel like work at all but still got all the results required sounds like a conondrum in the world of hierarchies and power games.

In my experience it’s not important to get it right (most likely the details will be ever evolving anyways), but to start with something good enough and learn along the way.
A social devops if you like :wink: