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Consensus

On many wikis, community consensus must be reached before making a policy or guideline.

Contents

Definition of Consensus

Consensus decision-making is a group decision making process that seeks the consent of all participants. Consensus may be defined professionally as an acceptable resolution, one that can be supported, even if not the "favorite" of each individual. Consensus is defined by Merriam-Webster as, first, general agreement, and second, group solidarity of belief or sentiment.[1]

Informal Consensus

Items that might meet the need for this type of consensus:

  • A suggestion that would not change stated policy, practices, and guiding principles.
  • The reasons for this change may be the change is needed to keep the site up to date, clean or functioning.
  • This change may help a special group like beginners, contributors or researchers
  • All in a group are asking for this change

Steps to Informal Consensus

  • Group that wants to reach consensus discuss the need to change til agreement and evaluate what the changes may cause
  • They make sure that the change or changes are not against any policy, guiding principles, or practices with in the Wiki
  • Inform all who may be affected by this change and listen to their concerns
  • Put their plan into action

Many items may fit informal consensus:

In a project group, a group working on a country, topic or county together, the following may apply:

  • Page style, arrangement of links and tables
  • Titles of pages, section titles and sub-section titles
  • What templates would be useful on the pages
  • And many, many more

Formal Consensus

Items that would apply in this section are ones that will change policy, guiding principles or practices as states in any of our pages on Guiding principles and policies pages.

Steps to get Consensus

  • The change needs to be discussed and a clear statement that states;
    • What needs to be changes
    • How it is to be changes
    • The planned results
    • Actions after that change.
  • Then this is presented to those over that area and discussed and agreed
    • The discussion will start in the Group involved Example:FamilySearch Wiki Support Team (Including all supervisors)
    • After agreement this Proposal for Change will be taken to Contributors Group
  • We will then take this finally agreed on Proposal for Change to Yammer and /or other media to inform those interested. A date of one month will be set to complete the change from the time put to the media.
  • When all is discussed and agreed on the change is made.

Example

In 2011 there was a statement in the list of 'FamilySearch Wiki is not' on the FamilySearch Wiki:Purpose and Appropriate Topics page that stated that the "FamilySearch Wiki is not a list of Family History Centers". At the time the FamilySearch Wiki Support Team was creating the present FHC pages. They were concerned that placing these pages in the Wiki would be against this policy. They followed the above steps.

  1. They discussed the problem within their meeting, put the problem and the suggested solution to those concerned,
  2. Presented it on the forums (the place that many discussions were done at that time).
  3. When all discussion were in consensus.
  4. The policy was removed from the Purpose and Appropriate Topics page.
  5. Then the Family History Centers pages were placed into the Wiki.

References

  1. Consensus decision-making(Wikipedia)


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