I see poly as having two manifestations that cover all of the different multi-partner relationships.
A) Poly that happens
B) Poly that is found
Poly that happens is where a relationship forms naturally between partners without the intent or awareness of "poly" itself. The multi partner connection precedes the ideology of poly.
Poly that is found is sought out. The ideology of poly precedes the multi partner connections.
One occurs unconsciously without effort, the other is a conscious effort.
But I'm not poly so what do I know