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decency, borrowing, respect, yes, no  RSS feed

 
Steve Nicolini
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I thought that communities would just kind of fall into place as other projects around the land were worked on, but its been six months now, and still no "community."  This stuff takes work!

What if there was a system established.  In this system there is a "no" policy.  When someone says "no" to a question like... hey can I use your power tools?... it is over and done with.  No controversy, no community meeting, no questions asked. 

Before moving into the community the person would have signed the community's constitution.  If the answer is no, you don't get another question (why cant i use your tools?)

I bet there are tons of drawbacks to this.  Y'all want to point them out to me?
 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
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Well, I think the first thing is:  do we not have community?  I think the term is so freakishly broad, that if two people even talk, that could almost be called community. 

Surely, what we have going on here is "community" at some level.  I know it is not yet the level of cool I would like to see, but I think the potential is still there.

As for the "no" thing:  yes!  I think it really boils down to respect and resentments.  I think some folks are massive contributors to community and some folks are massive consumers of community.  And I think there is a huge complicated world surrounding "can I borrow your drill", "no", "why not", "i don't have to explain myself" .... 

Personally, I think asking is healthy, saying "no" is healthy.  The important part is "why not?" - I think there are healthy ways to approach this, but most ways are less than healthy. 

Tricky. 

It really boils down to decency and respect. 

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Maybe "can I use your drill?" is a great question for somebody that has clearly made large and significant community contributions that benefit the drill owner.  Then the drill owner can be thinking "hell yeah, borrow the drill - I know that it will end up benefiting me too!"  Whereas if it is somebody that tends to be just a consumer then maybe a more appropriate question would be "Here, I made this big batch of quioa bread - would it be cool if I trade you two loaves of bread for two hours of using your drill?"

 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Bytesmith,In PNW tribes you were able to increse power or fame for your kids by giving away the most stuff in  potlatches.Because you couldnt increase your own status,and because you had to produce surpluss over a multi generational time period,short term exploitation of the land for a quick return was not encouraged.A saftey net was created for those that could not meet their own needs but rewards were given(power/fame)to those that gave away.This culture was NOT egalitarian.It was clearly higherarchical,with those with the most ability and experience in charge.A far cry from most ICs out there.
 
Diana Leafe Christian
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Location: Earthaven Ecovillage, North Carolina; Ecovillages newsletter http://wwwEcovillageNews.org
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Hello, I'd like to respond to the idea of  "Just saying No," as a way of minimizing hassle and having to have a meeting and process emotions, etc., about whether or not I can borrow your drill. I've been involved in a community for about 7 years now and have also studied and researched many communities, with a special focus on how to people get along in them, and how to do they communicate and make decisions, etc.

There's a whole lot one could say about this, but in general, I believe that the more the people in the community have been screened by the existing members for (1) understanding and supporting the group's shared (and explicit) mission & purpose, (2) agreeing to abide by the group's agreements, and (3) being trained in the group's decision-making method before they have decision-making privileges, the more likely they are to be a good fit for the group. And, the more the group values and practices good communication skills -- openness, honesty, emotional authenticity and transparency, etc., the easier it is to say No, Yes, Maybe, or I'm not sure yet, or whatever.

Oh heck, let me be real blunt. When someone joins a community who seems insecure, with high shame and low self-esteem, the more it because a Giangantic Big Deal Hassle when they get told "No" re borrowing your drill. And the more they seem to have personal emotional well-being, and seem to feel fine about themselves and other people, the easier it is to tell them No re borrowing your drill. They just respond with something like, "Oh, OK. Do you know someone else who might lend me theirs?" It's only about them finding a drill, and does not suddenly become an issue of their worth and value in the world, which you, Mr. or Ms. next-door-neighbor drill owner, are suddenly and inexplicitly responsible for.

Many a community tale hangs on issues like these . . .

Diana
 
paul wheaton
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Perhaps some people might be a tar baby.

A tar baby might ask "may I borrow your drill?" and the moment they ask, you might as well give up.  The tar is on you and you're DOOMED!

You think "this person probably won't care for it properly and I cannot help but think that if I let them use it, I will regret.  If I say 'no' then they will get pissed and poison my relationship with the community."

Doom, doom, doom, doom. 

So it turns out that the path to happiness is to own nothing.  And to have no skills. 

Hmmmm  .... one possible way out it is to say "what do you offer in trade?"  The response will probably be something like "I dunno." and then you can say "Well, when you have a suggestion come let me know.  My drill and I will wait."




 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Of course, another approach .... a far better approach ... is to make that sort of thing be a community thing.  The community buys it from the person and it goes into the community tool shed.  Then the question is never asked.  And when the tool is destroyed, everybody pays for a new one.

 
jeremiah bailey
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I've invested much in tools over the years. I will happily loan tools out. I make a condition at time of loan that I expect my tools back in the condition that I loaned them. If there are damages or missing tools, I simply don't loan any more tools to that person until repaid for my loss. If I know enough about the person to believe this is understood, I may leave that understanding unspoken.

I have yet to have any problems with this system. Sure, I've lost a few tools due to this over the years. On the flip side though, the relationships that I've made this way far out pay the losses. If I lend my neighbor a tool that helps him repair his house, then I've helped maintain or increase the value of my own house, as well as the neighbor's.

However, I don't just loan my tools out, willy-nilly. I must have some rapport with the other party. If the rapport is lacking then I ask for suggestions from the other party for building it. Sometimes I'll make the suggestions. I just play it by ear.
 
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