A consensus protocol is (ideally) the page where new users of a protocol start their research. They will probably try this protocol and see if it works or compare it with what the person down the hall is doing or the photocopy of a labbook they were given outlining how someone did this two years ago!
Once they have some experience, or have just read the protocols and notes then they might go to a lab specific protocol which may be more applicable to them. Different labs have different safety, legal, technical and cultural ways of doing things.
Consensus protocol template
Here is a template for a new consensus protocol. Please note that even the template is currently a work in progress.
Here is a rendition of an example consensus protocol for DNA ligation.
In addition to providing a place for labs and individuals to post their own protocols, we'd like to encourage the development of more general purpose protocols for use by lots of people including novices. Ideally, we'd like to avoid protocols getting buried away on lab pages over time.
Many thanks to James Hadfield for promoting the use of consensus protocols on OpenWetWare.