[ALAC] ALAC & At-Large involvement in GNSO activities

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Wed Feb 13 13:12:49 UTC 2013


Jean-Jacques provides a very good analyses, but as someone who has now spent several years participating in At-Large without being one of the  ALAC, I think something major is missing - real involvement from the At-Large.  ALAC is full of well intention people trying to do the best for Internet users.  Unfortunately those users are _not_ involved in this process. 

We talk about the ICANN top down creation of ALAC.  Unfortunately, to me it still appears that At-Large is still top-dpwn organization where ALAC makes the decisions and the At-Large remains large uninvolved.  Except for a few active ALS, I see nothing of bottom-up activity, and I belong to two active ALSs.

ALAC is not alone in the lack of real grassroots bottom-up activity.  But one of the things that is most remarkable about the At-Large is that it really is supposed to be about reaching the actual users and bringing them in.  That is hard, but it is special and it something that ALAC should be dedicated to; it does not appear to be.   Until this actually starts to happen, until the users' voices are actually heard and measured in a predictable and steady manner on the most important decisions, ALAC remains part of a top down solution, not the representatives of a bottom-up democratic effort.  ALAC is a bureau, and as happens in many bureaucracies, has become an self maintaining institution unto itself that is not connected to the people it is supposed to represent.

As ALAC sets itself to carry a message of global public interest, it is critical that At-Large really become a bottom-up organization. Or let me say, as we in ICANn seem to be losing the definition of bottom-up as we continually speaking of it, even when it is absent.  It needs to be energized and motivated as a grass-roots organization. And for that to happen ALAC really has to work hard to bring the ALS members and other users into the process.  The At-large has yet to become real.  After all of the years, since the creation of ALAC, At-Large is largely missing from the formula.

Alan's message calls for At-large involvement in the policy development processes.  I support this call, but it must be a call for the At-Large and not just to ALAC.  As the pinnacle of At-Large, it is ALAC job to figure out how to make involvement of the At-Large real.  Until it is, ALAC advice will always be suspect as the voice of a few privileged suzerains. 

In terms of Alan, I think his service has been long and arduous and I think he is now the longest serving member of the g-council.  Years ago, when I was still involved in GNSO council (g-council), I remember Alan as being more of a g-council member than many g-council members.  His tenure on the g-council as one of its senior members has become an institution for which he should be congratulated.


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