Sun 19 Jan 2020 1:43PM

Consensual Do-ocracy - short definition

RH Richard Hodkinson Public Seen by 128

Kiez Burn is co-created through the principle of Consensual Do-ocracy:

You are able to make any decision regarding Kiez Burn, if

  • you have sought advice from experts on the subject and the people who will be affected by your decision,

  • you are willing to take responsibility for the actions & consequences coming from the decision or have the support needed to make it happen,

  • you got consent from other event realizers that are affected by your decision.


Through this principle and its methods, we attempt to live the Kiez Burn principles. It is not easy. We fuck up, we make mistakes, we learn and we improve. We are not here to make a perfect burn with perfect individuals. We are here to grow, together.

This short definition is usually sufficient in enabling anyone to take on responsibility. Hundreds of decisions are taken at Kiez Burn. Examples include:

  • How to set up an efficient electrical power grid

  • Designing a shift schedule for rangers or welfare leads

  • How to make a fun & informative greeting experience at the gate

These decisions do not affect that many people and are usually taken by people who are already experts on a particular subject. For bigger decisions, please use the advice process.

Why we do this

The principle of consensual do-ocracy means the power to decide on an idea, should be with those who carry out the idea (a.k.a. realizers). Sufficient energy should be put into (1) exploring if this idea will truly benefit Kiez Burn as a whole, and (2) making sure this idea is consented to by other Kiez Burn leaders who would be affected by a decision on this idea.

By learning more about the topic and connecting with people that are dependent on a decision of the idea, they become the best qualified in the community to take on or take over a responsibility. They become leaders within temporary hierarchies based on the thinking that power should flow to those who need it, in order to carry out ideas.

Given the above, anyone should be able to propose an idea, improve on it, gather consent and then decide to carry it out. They are now responsible for the actions & consequences coming from this proposal or/and have the support needed to make this proposal happen & deal with the (unintended) consequences.

  • Usually, the short definition of consensual do-ocracy is sufficient to guide people from idea to decision. 

  • For bigger decisions, we found we need more structure, which is given by the advice process

  • In case of strong disagreement:

    • The conflict escalation process allows for individuals to stop a decision by making sure leaders listen to advice

    • A meeting can be called so to solve bigger disagreements between groups of people

Consent is defined here as “not having significant objections (to a certain proposal)”. If an affected person cannot accept the proposed action, they state their objections with reasons that can be understood by the others. The responsibility of all is to listen with the intent to understand and adapt the proposal to minimize possible risks. Consensing does not require agreement, affirmation or even preference.  Consent is reached by choosing the proposal with the least objections. The lowest level of objection — resistance — results in the highest acceptance. (source)


walto Thu 27 Feb 2020 6:45PM

Here is also a super interesting source on what consent decison making actually is and how it relates to consensus or democratic decision making:


walto Sun 23 Feb 2020 7:48PM

Interesting sources thanks to @Alina, also known as Milda! !

anyone else has interesting reads on the topic?


Poll Created Fri 21 Feb 2020 8:07PM

Let's make this better Closed Thu 5 Mar 2020 8:00PM

by walto Sat 7 Mar 2020 5:20PM

updated the short definition in line with what as agreed in the meeting. 

Hi folks!

An initiative born from the realization that all of this advice process & this shot version just isn't good enough and needs some love and attention. In this google doc you can co-create on the new version of the advice process & short definition:

Problems/Opportunities of the current short definition:

  • adopt new definition of consensual do-ocracy that adopts the accountability concept

  • potentially add in a line about "consentual" regarding the people that are impacted

Wonna read more on this, see the thread of continuous improvement.


Results Option % of points Voters
Undecided 0% 177 S S DU L C JT T L RH VRS ARQ L K RN HH D S SK M BL

0 of 177 people have voted (0%)


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 11:28AM

I added a section on "Why we do this". It needs further refinement, but it is a start. I invite anyone to just make changes and then say in this thread what you changed.


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 10:47PM

Yes, it'd been amazing to follow in their footsteps and implement a lot of their learnings and tools last year. I hope we can now make it more our own this year.


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 4:03PM

um, yes, because Talk/Dreams/Realities are all tools pioneered by Borderland - to reflect THEIR own take on how to design and run Borderland. Amiright? :)


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 10:47AM

Thanks for the links. Good reading while travelling =)

Btw, you quote borderland a lot and I agree we can still learn a lot on how they do the online burn.

My impression: Kiez burn is very different from borderland in the sense that we are geographically concentrated, more offline, less online only. That is probably where our biggest potential for improvement is and we also have the most expertise: how to have great meetings that tie in well into our online world


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 10:18AM

p.s. ((AP-specific)) they are currently looking at neat alternatives to long threads full of loooong arguments, such as or - check it out, interesting!


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 9:33AM

Also @waldo I am hanging out on Borderland Talk a lot. Things do not work there, too. We have to make sure that we remember that AP (and Talk) are an experiment and an imperfect tool.

Here is a quote from Hugi:

"Hugi · 11 hours ago
Also, let me say this:
AP shepherding is not easy, Talk is very imperfect and the whole AP system is still just a barely functioning prototype. But it's the best thing we have. It takes a while to get these things right. Pulling the proposal function out of the hat made things more complicated, as it often does. Live and learn."(

Just saying. Do-ocracy is a hard process to implement. I'd make a guess that 90% of our community are a bunch of lovely hippies who like to dance and have fun and participate IRL more than cruise Talk, Dreams or Realities and we can probably hope for better outcome from year 3 - or something. Not now.


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 10:44AM

I would disagree with your comments regarding realities. The tool proved very valuable last year for kiez burn. And from the survey it is clear a lot of people know it, a lot that is given how not super user-friendly realities is at the moment. Don't underestimate the kiez burn community, who is also more engaged than the borderland community (see dreams participation rates).

I would agree realities can be improved. There is a Kiez burn hackathon this weekend and there are things moving on the realities front. This will not go fast however.


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 9:11AM

I love your ethos but the reality of Realities is that it is a complex tool that is barely used even by a 100 out of the 3000+ hippies of Borderland. We need something that speaks to all and in a digestible way. Do we have illustrators/designers/process designers in da house?


walto Fri 24 Jan 2020 5:44PM

When is up and running, I will add a need regarding "guiding how-we-work-together", with sub-responsibilities. What I currently see:
- provide template for online discussins
- provide template for meetings (agenda + presentation)

Feel free to add further suggestions.

how we did meeting presentations in the past:


[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jan 2020 6:38PM

thank you @waldo I would consider this. I need to think about it first (working on boundaries right now - preferring not to take on solo lead roles ;) )


walto Mon 27 Jan 2020 6:19PM

@Alina, also known as Milda! I added your suggestion regarding running do-ocracy workshops in Realities. Do you want to be the realizer for this? (does not mean you need to give the workshops, but does mean you would organize everything):


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 4:01PM

thank you! I am not committing to anything yet as I can't have my lead fingers in too many pies (boundaries) but keeping my eyes on the thing/looking for ways to facilitate this process.

Point 3 elaborated

  1. KB e.V. dedicates an internal session (or limited to 10 participants max) to strategise implementation of radical do-ocracy into the community

  2. KB e.V. draws up a 3-year vision for what Do-ocracy means for us in year 2020, 2021, 2022. Crisp, short, readable for virgins/generation Insta burners.

  3. KB e.V. assists (to a degree of possible) in facilitation of do-ocracy workshops for the community and one member of the Board commits to be present at each of the workshops in order to feedback hippie response back to Board

We <3 KB e.V.


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 10:45AM

Sounds good. Happy to have you pull this as well! Could you elaborate on point #3?


[deactivated account] Sat 25 Jan 2020 9:09AM

This is more clear guidance and less corporate vagueness - thank you ;) Hippie language also welcome as long as it's not confusing the serious matters :slight_smile:
I am the lucky participant of the Leadership programme and plan to use my new knowledge to lead our small community to do-ocracy glory via communications.
IDEAs for now:
1. Create a short and digestible "guide to do-ocracy" and send via email, FB, any channels we got - many times and starting NOW
2. Run a number of mini-workshops on the topic = face to face, analog communications. Use Burner Embassy for that. Record one session and make it available online for those who cannot be there.
3. We/I need a commitment and a clear direction from KIezBurn E.V. A vision cannot be cooked by a 1000 hippies on Talk. A clear direction, then we get community comments and make a decision via AP (for example), then we go go go.
4. Tools, we need tools! @cjyetman mentioned templates - that is a good example of what I was referring to in my first post.
5. Hope for the best and remember that it is all a big experiment (note to self)


walto Fri 24 Jan 2020 7:01PM

Not enough hippie language? ;) Last year the board was super busy with founding the legal status of Verein + coordinating the successful event. This year, we plan to be more free, so will have time. This already shows in several initiatives, including the workshop on Sunday last week (of which you see the output here), the leadership training weekend, and hopefully much more.

How you can help:
- write here with ideas (like CJ did above)
- just do something that helps to spread the word
- make a proposal to further spread the word

Once I set up the Need & responsibilities in Realities, I would be happy for you to also volunteer for these more defined areas of guiding how-we-work-together.

What do you think?


[deactivated account] Fri 24 Jan 2020 6:01PM

This sounds a bit corporatey-speakey to me ;) But yeah, I'm happy to support the board with ideas. What is the best way to do that?


walto Fri 24 Jan 2020 5:39PM

We welcome any suggestions to do better. It is an important topic the board wants to support the community on.


[deactivated account] Fri 24 Jan 2020 2:49PM

I see. I propose that consensual do-ocracy must be well understood before engaging in it. I see that a lot of documentation on Talk is being created and that is super helpful. However, my guesstimate is that only 5% of KiezBurn population are aware of the effort, the idea, how it actually works, what it means for the community. We are not ready for the levels of participation you would expect from complete do-ocracy just yet. The community is not informed and not ready to understand the need to step up (as far as I can see from Talk/FB - online stuff) I see the beginning of the spread and assimilation of the new vision for the self-organising KiezBurn as an active and relentless push out of the Board and to the hippies. If the main "population" remains uninformed, the same small committee of committed hippies will keep doing the big chunk of the work.


walto Fri 24 Jan 2020 2:06AM

The threads in this group evolved from a workshop that was organized by board members. At the same time, it is also the product of the people that actually did it, in this case Richard.

More definitely could be more. What do you feel could help achieve the goals of consensual do-ocracy more?


[deactivated account] Thu 23 Jan 2020 5:45PM

For me this sounds like an important Baustelle that need guidance by/from the Board. Values, visions and principles need a focused lead committee, that for me is the Board. I do not think we can just get away with building something with a bunch of well-meaning hippies on a Loomio thread. Consensual Do-ocracy needs to have a VISION and a FRAMEWORK and then some TOOLS of community empowerment in place first.


walto Mon 27 Jan 2020 7:32PM

I would advise a Talk thread, but would leave the decision up to you.


CJ Yetman Mon 27 Jan 2020 7:22PM

In what format?


walto Mon 27 Jan 2020 6:16PM

@CJ Yetman would you possibly volunteer for drafting the Talk proposal template?

Template for agenda & template for presentations for meetings are done.


walto Fri 24 Jan 2020 5:40PM

Another idea: provide template for agenda + presentation for meetings.


walto Tue 21 Jan 2020 8:11PM

actually, here is a thread where we used the proposal formatting:

Maybe in the new Loomio 2.0 we can work with templates? @tobias wdyt?


walto Tue 21 Jan 2020 7:53PM

Good point! There is actually a template that Borderland uses, that could be useful for us as well. It is documented here:

We could make it into a thread template... would be great :)


CJ Yetman Mon 20 Jan 2020 8:17PM

I would love to see a template for making a proposal that guides people to put down all the relevant information that others need to assess the proposal and give important feedback.


walto Tue 28 Jan 2020 4:03PM

The goal of Talk is to reach better decisions and coordinate action. If you do not feel comfortable to take lead on certain aspects you feel passionate about, my advice would be to inspire others to take action:

  • describe the issue you have with something, so to inspire others to take action because they understand there is an issue

  • describe a clear need or responsibility that could be fulfilled by someone else that solves the above stated issue

Consensual do-ocracy works because people can self-define how they solve issues.


[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jan 2020 10:23PM

thx @waldo I do love the ethos of this method but have to be careful to not have my fingers in too many pies. I do not consent to picking up this item at this moment as I have over priorities - also related to our community - brewing right now ;) It's ok to propose amendments/ideas/alternatives without necessarily jumping to taking a lead on them, right?


walto Mon 27 Jan 2020 7:34PM

The author of a thread is not important. In this particular case, Richard wrote down what the current process is. You have a proposal to change this, so it is up to you to follow-through. I would say that is exactly consensual do-ocracy.


[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jan 2020 7:26PM

@waldo I have already posted my proposal here and am expecting the author of this thread to choose to incorporate it - or not. Don't think it's worth making a new thread about this! Let's keep things easy!


walto Mon 27 Jan 2020 7:20PM

I do not want to block any improvements. Would suggest you write in full your proposal on the alternative wording of the short advice process. And then you can make a proposal here in talk on changing it. Please be aware:

  • let's make sure it is worth it (this wording is already present on many locations)

  • let's make sure that the wording is then changed everywhere.


[deactivated account] Mon 27 Jan 2020 6:54PM

nice one @waldo ! I still think the wording suggested is clearer and more to the point. I think it is important to have clear wording and to avoid unnecessary "decor" words. "However" is not useful here. "Honestly" is radically subjective and vague, as in open to interpretation. But I understand my opinion remains mine only and does not reflect all of us <3


walto Sat 25 Jan 2020 11:17AM

Thanks for the suggestions. If it helps to understand the process better, we can definitely change the wording of the short process description.
1. replace "should be able" with "can" ==> sure, although I personally like the nuance. If you feel however it clarifies things, go for it.
2. I think the "however" is quite essential here. People cannot just make any decision about kiez burn. There is a process
3. I like that you add this more empathic take on things, which is extremely important. However, maybe we could integrate this into general guidelines for a "code of conduct" on Talk & in meetings? Because this is not unique to the person making the proposal, oder?
4. agree, but if this is to replace point#4, I feel it misses certain important aspects. Such as "honestly try to listen to the advice of others" and "advice is yours to evaluate". I would steer away from "final" within a decision context, because any decision can be followed by a proposal to change that decision. Final sounds a bit final ;)

Just a note that, when we decide to change the wording here, away from the Borderland wording:
- let's make sure it is worth it (this wording is already present on many locations)
- let's make sure that the wording is then changed everywhere.

Re: process - I feel that is done in the longfrom advice process

Guidelines on naming Talk threads: what about adding this into ?


[deactivated account] Sun 19 Jan 2020 7:12PM

Love this!! Thank you @richardhodkinson2 (um, quick question: why are there 2xRichardhodkinsons in here? It's somewhat confusing for tagging?)
I am not an expert or specialist in this area, so cannot comment whethere the 3 are enough. But, I would love to propose a bit of a different wording:
1. replace "should be able" with "can"
2. Before you make a decision, you must ask... (drop However)
3. You choose to practice objective, constructive and empathic intake of input provided by relevant community members
4. Following the outlined Short Advice Process, combined with points above, authorises you to adjust if needed and make the final decision yourself.

Do we need to outline the process - how it needs to happen? As in, step 1. bla, step 2. bla bla?

Do we need to give short guidelines on how to name the Talk thread and summarise the topic info in first topic?