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Encyclopedia > Consensus
For other uses, see Consensus (disambiguation).
For the policy on Wikipedia, see Wikipedia:Consensus.

Consensus has two common meanings. One is a general agreement among the members of a given group or community, each of which exercises some discretion in decision making and follow-up action. The other is as a theory and practice of getting such agreements (for information on the practice of achieving formal consensus, see Consensus decision-making). Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... The word consensus has specific meanings in several fields, for example: Consensus (medical) Consensus (biology) - Consensus sequence Consensus (boolean alegbra) - Consensus theorems in Boolean algebra Consensus (computer science) - achieving coherency among nodes of a distributed computer system. ... For other uses, see Community (disambiguation). ... Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...


Achieving consensus requires serious treatment of every group member's considered opinion. Once a decision is made it is important to trust in members' discretion in follow-up action. In the ideal case, those who wish to take up some action want to hear those who oppose it, because they count on the fact that the ensuing debate will improve the consensus. In theory, action without resolution of considered opposition will be rare and done with attention to minimize damage to relationships. This politics-related article is a stub. ... An interpersonal relationship is some relationship or connection between two people. ...

Contents

Consensus as collective thought

A close equivalent phrase might be the "collective disagreement" of a group, keeping in mind that a high degree of variation is still possible among individuals, and certainly if there must be individual commitment to follow up the decision with action, this variation remains important. There is considerable debate and research into both collective intelligence and consensus decision-making. It has been suggested that symbiotic intelligence be merged into this article or section. ... Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...


This article focuses strictly on the idea of consensus in the abstract, not on the implications of consensus for politics or economics, where follow-up action is required.


Consensus usually involves collaboration, rather than compromise. Instead of one opinion being adopted by a plurality, stakeholders are brought together (often with facilitation) until a convergent decision is developed. If this is done in a purely mechanical way it can result in simple trading—we'll sacrifice this if you'll sacrifice that. Genuine consensus typically requires more focus on developing the relationships among stakeholders, so that they work together to achieve agreements based on willing consent. Collaboration is a process defined by the recursive interaction of knowledge[1] and mutual learning between two or more people working together[2] toward a common goal typically creative in nature. ... Look up Compromise in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... In organizational development (OD) and consensus decision-making, facilitation refers to the process of designing and running a successful meeting. ...


Models of consensus

The most common and most successful model of consensus is called the prisoner's dilemma. An introduction and discussion of this concept can be found in any contemporary introduction to Political Science. This approach might be called "algebraic" as opposed to analytic, within mathematics, because it represents an agent by a symbol and then examines the algebraic properties of that symbol. For example, the question, "Can two agents be combined to make a new agent?" sounds like an algebraic question. (More formally, "is the operation of consensus closed in the domain of agents? Is there a larger domain of "abstract agents" in which this operation is closed?") Will the two prisoners cooperate to minimize total loss of liberty or will one of them, trusting the other to cooperate, betray him so as to go free? In game theory, the prisoners dilemma (sometimes abbreviated PD) is a type of non-zero-sum game in which two players...


In a more analytic style, we might naively start by envisioning the distribution of opinions in a population as a Gaussian distribution in one parameter. We would then say that the initial step in a consensus process would be the written or spoken synthesis that represents the range of opinions within perhaps three standard deviations of the mean opinion. Other standards are possible, e.g. two standard deviations, or one, or a unanimity minus a certain tolerable number of dissenters. The following steps then operate both to check understanding of the different opinions (parameter values), and then to find new parameters in the multi-dimensional parameter space of all possible decisions, through which the consensus failure in one-dimensional parameter space can be replaced by a solution in multi-dimensional parameter space. The normal distribution, also called the Gaussian distribution, is an important family of continuous probability distributions, applicable in many fields. ...


An alternative, qualitative, mathematical description is to say that there is an iterative process through (m+n)-dimensional parameter space, starting from initial guesses at a solution in (m)-dimensional parameter space, which tries to converge to find a common solution in (m+n)-dimensional parameter space.


A criticism of such modelling is that the opinions or agreements are only theoretical, and that the strength or degree of conviction as measured is not closely correlated to the willingness of any given individual to take action. In direct action politics, the consensus is constantly tested by asking those who agree to immediately place their own bodies 'on the line' and in harm's way, to actually demonstrate that they are committed to a consensus. The ecology movement, peace movement, and labor movement have historically required such demonstrations of commitment. Some have disdained any attempt at formal models or methods, but others have prepared extensive documentation on both formal and informal consensus decision-making processes. For the Canadian urban guerrilla group Direct Action, see Squamish Five. ... The global ecology movement is one of several new social movements that emerged at the end of the sixties; as a values-driven social movement, it should be distinguished from the pre-existing science of ecology. ... An Australian anti-conscription poster from World War One A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war (or all wars), minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of... The labor movement (or labour movement) is a broad term for the development of a collective organization of working people, to campaign in their own interest for better treatment from their employers and political governments. ... Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...


Typically, the usefulness of formal models of consensus is confined to cases where follow up action is closely and centrally controlled, e.g. in a military hierarchy or a set of similar computer programs executing on hardware that it completely controls. The idea of consensus itself is probably quite different when considering action by a group of independent human agents, or considering action by those taking orders and committed to executing them all without question, or suffering great harm or exile for any disobedience.


Consensus upon a particular formal model of consensus can lead to groupthink, by making it harder for those who reject that formal model (and using informal or different models) to be heard. This recursion suggests the extreme complexity of reasoning about consensus in a political context. An example is the peace movement's objection to the game theory logic of mutual assured destruction during the Cold War. Peace activists, objecting to military goals and spending found the formal models of the military to be major obstacles. As they had not mastered game theory models they simply were not heard. Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. ... An Australian anti-conscription poster from World War One A peace movement is a social movement that seeks to achieve ideals such as the ending of a particular war (or all wars), minimize inter-human violence in a particular place or type of situation, often linked to the goal of... Game theory is a branch of applied mathematics that is often used in the context of economics. ... Mutual assured destruction (MAD) is a doctrine of military strategy in which a full-scale use of nuclear weapons by one of two opposing sides would effectively result in the destruction of both the attacker and the defender. ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...


In democracy

As this example suggests, the concept of consensus is a particularly important one in the context of society and government, and forms a cornerstone of the concept of democracy. Democracy, in its rawest form, direct democracy, has been criticized by a significant number of scholars since the time of Plato as well as adherents to strict republican principles, and is sometimes referred to as the "tyranny of the majority", with the implication that one faction of the society is dominating other factions, possibly repressively. For other uses, see Society (disambiguation). ... Direct democracy, classically termed pure democracy,[1] comprises a form of democracy and theory of civics wherein sovereignty is lodged in the assembly of all citizens who choose to participate. ... For other uses, see Plato (disambiguation). ... Republicanism is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, with an emphasis on liberty, rule by the people, and the civic virtue practiced by citizens. ... Look up tyranny in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Others, however, argue that if the democracy adheres to principles of consensus, becoming a deliberative democracy, then party or factional dominance can be minimized and decisions will be more representative of the entire society. This too is discussed in depth in the article on consensus decision-making, with many actual examples of the tradeoffs and different tests for consensus used in actual societies and polities. Deliberative democracy, also sometimes called discursive democracy, is a term used by political theorists, e. ... Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...


A major cornerstone of the Westminster System is Cabinet Government. All Cabinet decisions are consensual collective and inclusive, a vote is never taken in a Cabinet meeting. All ministers, whether senior and in the Cabinet, or junior ministers, must support the policy of the government publicly regardless of any private reservations. If a minister does not agree with a decision he, or she, can resign from the government; as did several British ministers over the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. This means that in the Westminster system of government the cabinet always collectively decides all decisions and all ministers are responsible for arguing in favour of any decision made by the cabinet. The Houses of Parliament, also known as the Palace of Westminster, in London. ... Cabinet government refers to any government in which most executive power is invested in a cabinet - often the members act with collective responsibility. ... This article is about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. ...


Drawbacks

Business and political analysts have pointed out a number of problems with consensus decision-making. A too-strict requirement of consensus may effectively give a small self-interested minority group veto power over decisions. Decision by consensus may take an extremely long time to occur, and thus may be intolerable for urgent matters, e.g. those of executive decisions. In some cases, consensus decision-making may encourage groupthink, a situation in which people modify their opinions to reflect what they believe others want them to think, leading to a situation of pseudoconsensus in which a group makes a decision that none of the members individually think is wise. It can also lead to a few dominant individuals making all decisions. Finally, consensus decision-making may fail in a situation where there simply is no agreement possible, and interests are irreconcilable. Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Groupthink is a type of thought exhibited by group members who try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas. ...


See also: Criticisms of Consensus decision-making. Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ... Consensus decision-making is a decision-making process that not only seeks the agreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections of the minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. ...


Examples within computing

Within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the concept of "rough consensus and running code" is the basis for the standardization process. It has proven extremely effective for standardizing protocols for inter-computer communication, particularly during its early years. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) develops and promotes Internet standards, cooperating closely with the W3C and ISO/IEC standard bodies; and dealing in particular with standards of the TCP/IP and Internet protocol suite. ... Consensus has two common meanings. ... “Standard” redirects here. ...


In computer science, Consensus is a distributed computing problem in which a group of nodes must reach agreement on a single value. Achieving consensus is a challenging problem in distributed systems, particularly as the number of nodes grows or the reliability of links between nodes decreases. Computer science, or computing science, is the study of the theoretical foundations of information and computation and their implementation and application in computer systems. ... Consensus is a problem [1] in distributed computing that encapsulates the task of group agreement in the presence of faults. ... Distributed computing is a method of computer processing in which different parts of a program are run simultaneously on two or more computers that are communicating with each other over a network. ...


"Consensus" may also refer to the Consensus theorems in Boolean algebra. Boolean algebra is the finitary algebra of two values. ...


Examples of non-consensus

Interestingly, the peer review process in most scientific journals does not use a consensus based process. Referees submit their opinions individually and there is not a strong effort to reach a group opinion. Peer review (known as refereeing in some academic fields) is a scholarly process used in the publication of manuscripts and in the awarding of funding for research. ... Nature, Science and PNAS In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. ...


See also

Look up Consensus in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Wiktionary (a portmanteau of wiki and dictionary) is a multilingual, Web-based project to create a free content dictionary, available in over 151 languages. ... It has been suggested that symbiotic intelligence be merged into this article or section. ... Consensus Based Assessment (CBA) Peter Legree and Joseph Psotka proposed that psychometric g could be measured unobtrusively through survey-like scales requiring judgments. ... Consensus democracy is the application of consensus decision making to the process of legislation. ... The consensus theory of truth, originated by Charles Sanders Peirce who called it pragmatism, and later pragmaticism, holds that a statement is true if it would be agreed to by all those who investigate it if investigation were carried sufficiently far in that particular direction. ... Copenhagen Consensus is a project which seeks to establish priorities for advancing global welfare using methodologies based on the theory of welfare economics. ... The expression major consensus narrative was coined by Bruce Sterling in his book Zeitgeist as an explanatory synonym for truth. ... Nonviolence (or non-violence), whether held as a moral philosophy or only employed as an action strategy, rejects the use of physical violence in efforts to attain social, economic or political change. ... Participation in social science is an umbrella term including different means for the public to directly participate in political, economic, management or other social decisions. ... The polder model is the Dutch version of corporatism. ... Social Representation Theory is a body of theory within Social Psychology originaly coined by Serge Moscovici. ... Look up tyranny in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Unanimity is near complete agreement by everyone. ... Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that aim to create a society without political, economic or social hierarchies - a society in which all violent or coercive institutions would be dissolved, and in their place every person would have free, equal access to tools of information and production, or...

References

External links

Anarcho-capitalism, also commonly known as free-market anarchism, is a view that opposes the initiation of physical force, threat of such, or dishonesty (fraud), that has the effect of preventing a person from having the willful use of her body or property regardless of what individual, group, or organization...

  Results from FactBites:
 
Consensus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1522 words)
Consensus upon a particular formal model of consensus can lead to groupthink, by making it harder for those who reject any that formal model to have their case heard out in informal terms or using a different model.
As this example suggests, the concept of consensus is a particularly important one in the context of society and government, and forms a cornerstone of the concept of democracy.
In some cases, consensus decision making may encourage groupthink, a situation in which people modify their opinions to reflect what they believe others want them to think, leading to a situation in which a group makes a decision that none of the members individually think is wise.
Wikipedia:Consensus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (709 words)
In disputes, the term consensus is often used as if it means anything from genuine consensus to my position; it is possible to see both sides in a revert war claiming a consensus for its version of the article.
Note that consensus can only work among reasonable editors who are making a good faith effort to work together to accurately and appropriately describe the different views on the subject.
The preferred way to deal with this problem is to draw the attention of more editors to the issue by one of the methods of dispute resolution, such as consulting a third party, filing a request for comment (on the article in question), and requesting mediation.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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