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RE: [802SEC] Fwd: Gleaned from another group

I agree with the principle that Lowell states as far as concensus being the important thing in the process. However, I don't agree with the way Robert's rules is characterized below.
I have found that sensibly used, Robert's rules can be very helpful in getting to concensus with reasonable efficiency. In small stable groups (and if I recall correctly up until July the 802.1 voting membership was running with a fairly stable set of 10-15 voters), one can get along with out it.
In large groups (say more than 50 or so), it is sometimes difficult to determine concensus without votes. I have heard the discussion in 802.3 or its task forces sometimes sound like the group is leaning one way and the vote count comes out the opposite. Sometimes this is because only a small percentage of the room is vocal and sometimes it is because people want to air their concerns before they vote. Once the concerns have been talked through they are okay with voting for the motion.
When we started 10BASE-T and suddenly had more than 100 people at task force meetings, we had to change to use Robert's Rules to move things along with efficiency. Well used, it is a tool to keep the meeting on track and to determine when you have concensus.
The important thing is to keep in mind what the goal is and not get so tied up in the rules that you lose sight of the goal. We have groups that are examples of applying Robert's Rules to generate successful standards relatively quickly with broad concensus with a size of group that others find scary. 802.1 WG voting membership is growing now and you may find you need to adjust process to work with a larger group.
Best regards,
-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Jeffree []
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 2003 10:27 AM
To: Geoff Thompson
Subject: Re: [802SEC] Fwd: Gleaned from another group

Absolutely. This is exactly why we don't take votes in 802.1 WG meetings.


At 09:35 11/08/2003 -0700, Geoff Thompson wrote:

Just saw this go by in a different (different fro what you may ask??) context...

It reminded me that the true power for putting forth successful standards is that they are consensus standards, not just that we can get material through the system.

(Emphasis below is added by me.)


From: "Lowell Johnson" <>
To: "'Donald Heirman'" <>, <>
Cc: <>
Subject: RE: pro-vote Voting task force from ProCom
Date: Sun, 10 Aug 2003 13:16:55 -0500

Don and others;

I think Don's comments are really leading up to a very simple concept:
you can't legislate common sense, which is basically what the consensus
process is.  I have often told people that if they are worrying about
Robert's Rules, or any other sort of artificial control, they obviously
do not have consensus yet

Perhaps it would be easier to control what they should not do. However,
I personally think this would also be just as murky as Don suggested.

Maybe the best we (as IEEE) can do is require adherence to rigid rules
of openness and due process, then streamline the process for appeals to
deal with the simple issues quickly.


| Geoffrey O. Thompson                    |
| Vice Chair,  IEEE 802                   |
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