Sorry, I have to correct this misconception.
A block doesn’t stop the consensus proposal.
Think of it like a roadblock that the community couldn’t see before.
Because every member within a consensus model needs to agree in order to pass it, the member body needs to find some way to accommodate the block in order to come to consensus.
For example – and I must stress this is a dumb example – let’s say Noisebridge wants to build a bikeshed. Almost everyone’s agreed that the color will be traditional Noisebridge red. However, Hacker Joe feels he hasn’t been heard in saying that painting the bikeshed red will cause untold suffering unto the community, and so they must paint it any other color instead.
Hacker Joe formally blocks the proposal.
Is the proposal dead? Hell no. That would be an affront to the time and effort already placed in the conversation.
What happens next is that the community continues the conversation, working with Joe to understand his objections and potentially find a different version of the Consensus proposal that works for everyone.
So, in the end, the community decides on a green shed, and the proposal passes.
But let’s say Hacker Joe objected to the very idea of a bikeshed at all. Hacker Joe might have a frivolous objection… but if he did, he would cause a great deal of social strife. A lot of people would wonder why he is standing in the way of something that isn’t going to hurt anyone and which the rest of the community wants to do.
A block is not something to apply lightly. The community wants to know that you put up a block out of love, not out of spite or trollishness.
Let’s say, instead of it being a frivolous objection, Hacker Joe has a very principled objection to the idea of a bikeshed. He believes, perhaps, that it is a waste of Noisebridge resources (the only reason to have a Consensus proposal to build something would be that it would draw on Noisebridge resources). Perhaps he has information about city permitting for the bikeshed that could endanger Noisebridge’s existence.
Whatever the case, if someone has a principled objection that they are putting up as a block to consensus, it doesn’t mean the consensus process ends. AND it doesn’t mean you effectively eject that person from the community by declaring their block irrelevant to the consensus process.
Membership bestows full participation in Consensus because Membership entails a deep and vulnerable connection of trust. Members must trust each other not to use their power frivolously or destructively.
Used in earnest, a block is an act of caring, not of destruction.