This section has been copied, almost in its entirety, from Apache Rave’s “Lazy Consensus” (2012):
We operate by lazy consensus, under which “lack of objections is interpreted as a silent approval.”
he effectiveness of this approach, particularly for large, geographically distributed groups, is based on the assumption that it is easier for people to agree, by doing nothing, than it is to object, which requires an alternative to be proposed. This has two effects, firstly people are less likely to object for the sake of it and secondly it cuts down on the amount of unnecessary mail traffic and discussion.
Lazy consensus means we can avoid waiting for a community based decision before proceeding. However, it does require everyone who cares for the health of the project to watch what is happening, as it is happening
. Objecting too far down the road will cause upset, but objecting (or asking for clarification of intent) early is likely to be greeted with relief that someone is watching and cares.
Stating Lazy Consensus
Sometimes a member of the community will believe a specific action is the correct one for the community and would like to get agreement from the rest of the group. In these circumstances, Lazy Consensus is the preferred process for gaining such approval.
This process is usually started when a community member makes a proposal and states that they will start implementing it in 5 working days hours unless someone objects. 5 working days is chosen as the minimum because it accounts for different timezones and non-maintenance community commitments.
In this approach a proposal does not require discussion, nor does the proposer request that the community explicitly supports their actions.
Silence is Consent
People may choose to indicate their support for the actions taken with a +1 email, which isquick and easy to read, and reassuring for the implementer. However, remember, in a lazy consensus world, silence is the equivalent to support. This can take some time to get used to.