General Assembly Minutes 2012-02-16


Facilitator – Ahren
Stack – Tommy
Vibes – Quill
Greeter/guide – Zot
Time – Lars
Notes – Walton

We welcomed our Rhode-Islanders, Atlanteans, Providencers, and Richmondites.

Spike gave our consensus review.

We decided against a formal agenda for this meeting, and instead opted for a series of open discussions on topics that arose.

GA structure

- agenda is getting stale and repetitive
- too much opportunity for certain people to ramble and dominate discussion
- nix open discussion unless we have a concrete topic; takes too long to decide when we get to it in the meeting
- separate business from discussion; dedicated non-DM GAs to discussion on special topics, seminars, etc.

- too many items on each agenda, open floor and news tends toward rambling
- keep GAs focused: announcements, group reports, discussion (if we’re inclined)

- keep GAs open, continue the pursuit of learning how to discuss things; important part of Occupy
- national, possibly global trend toward less involvement; we must take care of ourselves and keep the process positive for when things pick back up

- facilitators should improvise an agenda during GA, stay flexible
- using an agenda board restricts the process and keeps us focused on the board and not on each other
- process may be the root of our lack of diversity, non-representativeness

- there are triggers in open floor that lead to personality clashes; our problems stem from personality clashes, not from a flawed structure or agenda

- structure keeps us in the right mindset, and egalitarian
- discussions are often dominated by a few people; we should remember to encourage mutual respect, like leaving room for others to speak

Interpersonal conflicts

How can we collectively encourage someone who grates on us to behave differently?
- handle issues one-on-one
- use hand signals to communicate
- be aware of the nonverbal signals you’re receiving from the other participants
- stack taker is empowered to prioritize people who haven’t spoken as much as others

- we’re culturally conditioned to be takers, and we’re hungry to be heard; remember, we’re still learning how to communicate effectively in new way

John F
- ego-friction is inevitably part of any social interaction
- improve our interactions by setting an example

- group decision making is new, we have no immediate model for it; we’re still learning
- the agenda is meant to help us cover everything we need to deal with; it can be modified or even thrown out if the group decides to do so

- tolerance is essential in diverse groups
- everyone’s free to step outside the circle when they need to
- our process has the capacity to self-correct

- all groups go through cyclical patterns of conflict, normal for social development
- OG should have a regular “state of the union” discussion like this one to deal with issues and keep things fresh; this meeting has the highest turnout of recent non-DM GAs, we should keep doing it on a semi-regular basis
- don’t mix personal items with business

- trust each other, lean on each other
- the experience is like being in a rock tumbler together; after banging against each other for a while, we’ll come out shiny and smooth

- encourage people to step back when you feel they’re being overpowering; remind them that others are also trying to be heard

- incorporate process meetings as an official part of GA; start process meeting at 6:30, then get down to business at 7


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