On Jul 11, 2011, at 10:58 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
We quite often discuss here how to judge rough consensus. In a completely
non-IETF context, I came upon a reference to an article published in 2007
with the catchy title "Inferring the Popularity of an Opinion From Its
Familiarity: A Repetitive Voice Can Sound Like a Chorus".
We deal with that quite a bit. I can think of discussions in v6ops and on this
list in which a single person contributed one message in four in a 200+ message
thread, and although he was the lone speaker with that viewpoint, my co-chair
told me he thought we lacked consensus.
To my mind, it's not a matter of voting (how many people think A, how many
people think B, ...) and not a matter of volume (which would accept a
filibuster as a showstopper). It's a question of the preponderance of opinion
("agreement, harmony, concurrence, accord, unity, unanimity, solidarity; formal
concord") coupled with listening carefully to those who disagree and
determining whether their arguments actually make sense and point up an issue.
I will recognize a single person's point at issue if it appears that they are
not being listened to or their issue dealt with. If they are simply hammering a
point, and their point is incorrect, I will note that they have been hammering
an incorrect point ("even though you are sending one email in four in a long
thread and are expressing extreme concern about a draft because it does ____, I
will overlook your objections because it doesn't do that.") and move on.
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