I am thinking of setting up a sort of million-man/woman group blog "Voices of Montreal/Voix de Montreal" with multiethnic lifestories, podcasts and music. My concern is that ethnic flame wars can result when people start telling their stories.
Ideally, such principles would not be imposed, but discussed and freely accepted by all members of the group. Some examples, off the top of my head:
1. Ethics to avoid hate lit: participants should express their lived experiences fully and freely, without censorship. But while they may state what happened to them in detail, an entire ethnic group cannot be accused as perpetrators of a crime. Should links to other (uncontrolled, unreviewed) sites be permitted?
2. Informed consent: anyone interviewed for a life-story will have the right to review the transcript before publication. They will have the purpose and proposed audience of the VOM/VdM site explained to them. The transcript will be in English or French, and the interviewee's will have the right to correct or censor it. We also hope to allow podcasts of the interview in the original language, with music, if financial resources and/or bandwidth permit -- in order to create a wider audience. The interviewee should carefully consider the effect on their life and family of "going public".
3. Changing the rules: should be done by consensus. Further discussion may be essential when expanding the working group, so that newcomers can 'own' the principles. Should there be some fixed limit on the times when this can be done, and the amount of time that can be spent in discussion? Otherwise, a noisy minority can hijack the group and bring useful work to a halt -- as sometimes happens in NGOs, co-op houses, and women's groups.
Perhaps a secular version of the process used by Quakers?
- Recognizing that of God in everyone.
- Affirming the Spirit in oneself and others.
- ...fostering and preserving opportunities congenial to the Spirit.
- Living with simplicity...
- ...striving to deal openly and lovingly with others when conflicts arise.
- Seeking alternatives to violence in our words and actions.
- Listening for the truth in the words of others.
- Speaking the truth as we discern it with cordiality, kindness, and love.
- Avoiding gossip, talebearing, breaking confidences, or the disparagement of others [while clearly stating one's own aims or experience, one should refrain from comment, denial or direct criticism of what another has said - also a principle of American aboriginal discussion]
- Resisting temptations to falsehood, coercion, and abuse.
- Avoiding behavior that supports social ranking.
- Joanna Macy's engaged Buddhism "Practices for Activists" e.g. NGOs and peace groups http://www.joannamacy.net/html/engaged.html
- conflict resolution process, eg U .Minnesota http://process.umn.edu/groups/ppd/documents/procedure/ConflictResolution_proc.cfm
- multifaith dialogue and deliberation (I'm not sure of the context, what politics are implicit) http://news.concordia.ca/notices/001617.shtml, and http://www.thataway.org/ - Beginners Guide
- "community cafe" discussion principles http://theworldcafe.com/knowhow.html: Clarify the Context, Create Hospitable Space, Explore Questions That Matter, Connect Diverse Perspectives, Encourage Each Person's Contribution, Listen Together for Patterns, Insights and Deeper Questions, Share Collective Discoveries. See Juanita Brown & David Isaacs, The World Cafe: Shaping Our Future Through Conversations That Matter
- Ottawa dialogue on gay rights and same-sex marriage http://www.ottawa.anglican.ca/documents/samesexParticipants.handbook.pdf
- The Heart Politics of Fran Peavy (1983, rev. ed 1996) -- book blurb: "Fran sold her house, paid her debts, and abandoned her career to travel around the world to find out how people feel about the future in relation to today's nuclear crisis. Holding a sign reading, "American willing to listen," she made a journey of connectionswith Indians dedicated to cleaning up the Ganges River, with Thai prostitutes concerned about their children's education, with civilians caught in conflagration in the Middle East. She also describes her efforts in the United States on behalf of the homeless and disenfranchised." Principles at http://www.jobsletter.org.nz/hpx/hpx01.htm
- Bohm or Bohmian dialogue. David Bohm, On Dialogue (1996) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bohm_Dialogue
- "appreciative inquiry" of Naomi Kahane and Tana Paddock, Montreal community facilitators. I'm trying to discover more about this. See also corporate/NGO use in http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/intro/whatisai.cfm
- Arjen Bos' Pedagogy of Ethics for European social entrepreneurs http://www.engage.nu/interact/DOWNLOADS/Pedagogy%20of%20Ethics.pdf
- Peter Merry's Open Source Learning, especially p.10 http://www.engage.nu/interact/DOWNLOADS/Open_Source_Learning.pdf
- Code of Conduct for sustainability group at Concordia U. http://sustainability.concordia.ca/documents/code.php
- similar principles in "cooperative learning" http://www.co-operation.org/ "individuals seek outcomes that are beneficial to themselves and beneficial to all other group members. Cooperative learning is the instructional use of small groups so that students work together to maximize their own and each other's learning" cf. Johnson & Johnson 1996 http://www.co-operation.org/pages/overviewpaper.html
Some problem areas are signalled in M. Sheeran, Beyond Majority Rule (1983) a Jesuit observes Quaker process,
and in CitizenSHIFT / Parole citoyenne http://citizen.nfb.ca/onf/info?did=1561
Can you give me examples of other problems that consensus failed to resolve?