by Trish Mikkelson
I cut and pasted the exact writing from Dandelion Community because I don't have time to edit at this time, but I want to share an example of a behavioral code which we can utilize with our own adaptation.
I really like the explanation because it shows how beneficial it is to teach people specifics rather than hoping people will just understand generalities. This contributes to more harmony, as well. I love that they have a check in after every dinner to make sure that incompletions do not pile up.
Once a co-founder comes to help me, we can continue to work on this document. Thanks to Dandelion for sharing this on the Federation for Egalitarian Communities website You can find this wonderful website here: www.thefec.org
Dandelion Community Behavior Code - Intro. DN-E
Dandelion's behavior code is a set of agreements that we have come to live by. Dandelion has a specific code, specifying both positive and negative behavior, in order to give visitors and members a clear idea of what behavior are considered desirable and undesirable.
This code is by no means a set of "laws" to be enforced; it is a set of voluntary agreements which we all feel are important to the style and quality of life in the community. Joining the community means joining that consensus.
We attempt to be non-threatening and non-punitive in our application of the code. Violations are not grounds for punishment, but for gentle reminders, and if necessary, further discussion and "working out". We try to remember that when agreements are not being followed it can create an aversive situation for the whole group, and thus we have all agreed to be open to reminders about our own behavior.
This more detailed behavior code came about for two basic reasons. In our first code we had fairly vague items (e.g. " We try to clean up after ourselves.") With this type of wording, people could interpret "cleaning up after ourselves" any way they wanted. There were disagreements over what different people found acceptable and unacceptable. Also with the first code, there was no mechanism for giving people feedback of their behavior.
Behavior meetings (short meetings after supper where member can report both positive and negative behaviors they have observed during the day) were developed in order to have a place where we could give feedback to people, thereby shaping their behavior or "raising their consciousness". These meetings also function as a place where people can assert anything that is bothering them so as not to let things build up to a breaking point.
Living in a communal group can be hard in the sense that people always have to be aware of the effect their behavior has on others. For example, if someone leaves the kitchen a mess, the next person coming into the kitchen will have to clean up that mess before working. If the person who left the mess lived by coself, co would have to clean up the kitchen coself later when co returned, before beginning work again. With behavior meetings, people can get the feedback from the group that they would have "naturally" gotten if they lived by themselves.
The agreements in the code are reached by consensus. New members coming into the community are expected to abide by the code, as are all full members, provisionals, and visitors to the community. If people have questions about why certain items are in the code, they can bring it up at a community meeting. Consensus is also required to change an item in the code ( i.e. if the community cannot agree on a proposed change, then the original agreement remains).
THE SPECIFICATION OF DANDELION'S BEHAVIOR CODE - part 1 amended
We try to clean up after ourselves and to return articles to their proper places so they can be enjoyed by others.
1. Hang up clothes you have taken off; don't leave them on the furniture or floor.
2. When you take off a pair of boots or shoes put them out of the way of traffic; don't leave them where someone can trip over them.
3. Clean your shoes before entering a building, especially when you have walked in mud or manure.
4. Put everything that has a place (tools, papers, books, soap, towels) back in its place after it is used. Don't leave things lying around.
5. Throw garbage in the appropriate place. Separating compost, chicken food, paper and dump garbage. Don't leave it or throw it in any other spot. When in doubt, use dumpster.
6. If a garbage container is full, replace it with an empty one. Don't let garbage overflow its containers.
7. Keep your private belongings in your room, in your mailbox or other designated private space, or in the case of food, clearly label in an appropriate place in the kitchen. Do not leave them in public space.
8. Leave public items for everyone to use. Do not appropriate a community item for private use unless you make sure no other member wishes to use it.
9. Return books and magazines to the library when you are finished reading them. Don't keep books or magazines too long when you are not reading them. Don't keep a current magazine for more than 24 hours.
10. If you spill something, clean it up immediately. Don't leave a mess for others to clean up.
11. Constantly put things in order, even if you didn't disarrange them. Don't say, "Since I didn't leave it out, I won't take care of it."
12. Pick up litter that you find anywhere on the farm and throw it away in the appropriate place.
13. When a vehicle comes back from the town trip, the tripper is responsible for unloading perishables immediately. Trip unloaders unload and put things away in the appropriate place with in 24 hours. Do not leave items in vehicles or piled in the living room or shop.
14. When a vehicle comes back from a crafts fair, help unpack and put everything away that day or, if it is late at night, the next day. Do not leave boxes or display materials lying around out of place.
15. Put things in the appropriate places after preparing a meal. Do not leave spices out, food bins uncovered, etc. Put pots and pans and mixing bowls to the left of the basins for rinsed dishes. Do not put them in the basins. Soak sticky, greasy or burnt pots.
16. Whenever you dirty a dish, rinse it and put it in the appropriate basin. Do not leave dirty dishes on the table or about the house or randomly on the kitchen counters.
18. When you take a cup to your room or out of the house, return it to the kitchen before taking another cup. Do not collect cups or other kitchen dishes and utensils in your room.
19. Use kitchen utensils in the kitchen or the dining-living room and return them to their places in the kitchen. Do not take them away for non-kitchen related use.
20. If you need to use something outside of the managerial area where it belongs, ask the manager first.
21. Put empty bottles away in their cases and, if there is no out of the way place to store them, send them to town on trip. Do not leave beer or pop bottles lying around the house or shop.
22. Close drawers after getting out or returning items.
23. Cover typewriter after using it.