Voting helping circle

Hello @reef-governance,

We did not define the aim of the voting helping circle and so I figured it may be useful to quickly write down a couple of things, so that we can see whether we all have the same understanding of what needs to be done.

These are my thoughts …

There are two different processes:

  1. voting on whether to send a site for a feasibility study, and
  2. voting on whether we want to purchase a site yes or no.

The output of the helping circle – in my view – should be two very concise manuals. These manuals would be used during a plenary by the facilitator and/or somebody from Team Governance, and we can of course also put the link in the draft agenda.

For the manual on the feasibility study these are the points that I think need to be covered:

  • How we vote. A simple raise of hands seemed to work just fine at the last plenary? A consideration to be made is that a round is not recommended here, because it possibly gives the last person in the round the power to make the difference between a yes and a no.

  • What is the threshold (i.e. how many votes equal 80%) for a site to pass.

  • What should motivate one’s vote => this is covered in point 4 in this post: From scouting to purchasing a site: the process step-by-step :

“The biggest mistake we can make is not to send a site for feasibility study that will turn out to be dud, but the other way around: it would be an incredible pity if we would miss out on a good site because we were doubtful about whether it was good enough to send it on for a feasibility study.”

  • How to give somebody a proxy. I guess this can be as simple as telling someone what you would like to vote?

  • How will we keep track of the voting results? This matters for this one, because based on the proposal from Sophie and Alberto we would keep a ranking of the scores of all the sites?

For the manual on the purchase of a site these are the points that I think need to be covered:

  • How we vote.

  • What is the threshold (i.e. how many votes constitute 70%).

  • What should motivate one’s vote => this is partly covered by the advise from Mark, and should probably also say something about the fact that a “no” means that you don’t want to participate in the purchase of that site. Vice versa it needs to be clear that a “yes” vote means that you will be counted on: once the negotiators get to a deal, (if I’m not wrong) even just a handshake constitutes a legal obligation to buy the site, so if then somebody chickens out, the others will need to pay up for their share.

  • How to deal with absentees:

    • I guess a proxy will work the same way?

    • How to make sure that everybody votes. This matters because we need to know from each and every household whether they are in yes or no to be able to establish our budget?

  • How we will keep track of the voting results. Here what matters is to keep a record of who voted what on every site, because we count on the yes voters to pay up.

As I said above: these are just some first thoughts of course, though given the many things we are dealing with I figure it is worth it to invest some time in just getting some clarity about what we are trying to achieve.

Happy to get your thoughts!


Thanks Lie!

We have a meeting planned for Sunday evening, so expect thoughts to follow… :slight_smile:


Hey @Sarah and @ChrisM, good to see you earlier :slight_smile: I have collected our thoughts in this little manual - please add/delete/amend as you see fit!

1 Like

Sorry, this completely slipped out for both of us.
I’ve put some comments and suggestions.

Does this need to be a proposal for a plenary? I guess the only choice that we made is the quorum, but people might have feelings about that (to be honest, I’m having feelings about it! :sweat_smile:)
If yes, shall we try and put it to the agenda of the next plenary? @Lee what do you think and is there room for that in the agenda?

1 Like

Hi all,

Thanks a lot for this. To me it looks perfect!

I replied to Sarah’s comments in the document. On the quorum I think that it is everybody’s responsibility to be represented for a choice like this. I would rather not be blocked because people can’t be bothered to give their proxy to somebody else. Is that fair?

I think we should have space on the agenda, but I am not sure this should be a proposal. It’s an operational thing: we needed a manual to make the things that we already decided more explicit. So if ok with you I would rather present it as information to the group?

Other question: did you foresee to make a similar manual on the purchase of a site?


Hey, thanks @Sarah and @Lee! I’ve cleaned up the document. Indeed, for me the rounding (<0,5 -->0, >0,5 → 1) is pure math - for us to reach a sufficient number of votes, we need people to be present or designate a proxy not tweak the numbers, no? :wink:
I agree that - considering the possibility to give your vote to sb - the quorum of 50 % should be enough (not forgetting that this is about feasibility studies where we’re generally trusting the (pre-feasibility of the) architects anyway).

About the second manual (vote on purchasing a site): We agreed to wait to base it on this one, I can’t remember who volunteered to do it @Sarah or @ChrisM? Otherwise, I’m happy to put a first draft together.


Fine for me


For voting you want a minimum threshold to be reached, so you want to be above that threshold, so technically you would round up… It might be a detail, but I think we will have to use the same rule for voting on a site, and in some cases, it does make a significant difference what rule you apply… For me the thing that makes most sense is to round up…

I don’t remember we designated any one, so you can just go ahead with that if that’s ok for you :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you @Sophie_B for all your work putting this together, and sorry I’ve been so absent from the discussion of it! I’ve just had a look at your manual, and it’s great :slight_smile:


Hi there @reef-governance (lazy shortcut for Helping Circle).

Just a quick reminder that the manual for voting on feasibility study will be needed shortly. It doesn’t need to be complicated though. We need something about proxies, and who voted yes or no, probably not more than that.



Indeed :slight_smile:
We talked about this in our getting started thread , and sophie said she would work on it when she is back, ie start of january.


Hello @Sophie_B, @ChrisM and @Sarah,

It seems like I am high on Excel these days, and so I felt inspired to design a sheet to keep track of votes. It auto-calculates percentages, so that could be helpful?

Internal link:

Feel free to do with it as you see fit.


Seems good!
Maybe though one thing that is not fully clear is whether 0 stands for “voted against” or “wasn’t present”. So that might need to be adapted if we want to keep track of the quorum (which is not necessarily needed as long as we still write it in the minutes)

Enjoy the excel frenzy!

1 Like

For voted on feasibility studies not being represented is not an option. We need to know who will be participating in the purchase. A 0 would thus always mean no.

That raises the question on how we will make sure that everyone gives a proxy. Maybe we can all get a buddy to remin

Also: the table is useful for the calculation of the %, but it’s most important purpose is to keep track who will be participating in the purchase of the different sites.

Hi @reef-governance !

Apologies for how long this has taken me to do. Below are the minutes from the helping circle regarding the voting manuals for choosing feasibility studies and deciding on whether to buy a particular site:


  • Sophie has done a great job putting together a coherent voting manual, which could be put into use as is.
  • It would be ideal to add something about how to distinguish personal preferences, and what weight to give them, when voting on buying a site.
  • On a related note, certain criteria concerning potential sites (such as safety for women, accessibility for cyclists and liveliness of neighbourhood) are subjective and difficult to quantify.
  • There is also a lack of clarity about when to raise objections to a particular site, if concerns arise after it has gone for a feasibility study.
  • And we may need to be clearer about what we will do in certain hypothetical situations, such as negotiating to buy two sites at the same time.

Action points

  • Chris to research preferences/consent/voting in sociocracy.
  • Sophie to present manual at next plenary regardless, in light of possibly imminent site-buying decision.
  • Chris to get feedback from Coordination Group, and make request to Team Building regarding possible data on the subjective site criteria.


  • Have an online Full Members meeting a week before a site-buying decision, to share info about visiting the neighbourhood etc.
  • Create a thread to be used in the 3 weeks between a feasibility study being presented and a vote-buying decision, with a link to a table for Full Members to indicated if they will be present at the vote-buying decision meeting or if they will be using a proxy, and if the latter, who that is.
  • Team Governance to take up the discussion about hypothetical site-buying scenarios.

The manual and the proposals will be presented tonight at the plenary. Both are considered to be level 2 working methods, so this agenda item is about shared understanding rather than consent :slight_smile:

1 Like