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

Rinalia Abdul Rahim rinalia.abdulrahim at gmail.com
Thu Feb 14 09:25:58 UTC 2013

Dear Avri,

I understood that the question was about inclusion.  Saying that
platforms/mechanisms for participation are open is certainly not the same
as being able to ensure there is effective engagement from the user
community in providing appropriate and consultative responses on various

The ALAC certainly strives for inclusion and wants a higher level of
inclusion.  Unfortunately, there are real constraints that limit the
ability to achieve an ideal state.  I could list the constraints, but I
don't think the main strategy for grappling with the problem would change:
We would still need to enlarge our active community base to deal with an
expanding issue space.

There are nevertheless things that we can do better to support growing our
active community-base and to deepen our consultativeness:

   - We can strive to articulate our work methods, processes and timelines
   better to facilitate wider participation, particularly if they occur across
   multiple platforms such as email, wiki and skype.
   - We could work on strategies for targeted outreach/consultation based
   on issues, which is premised on having better internal knowledge about what
   assets (communities with knowledge and interest) are already within our
   current network and what we need to seek out additionally.  This would
   require identifying what would complement/enhance the WG model.
   - We could demand for a better wiki system that allows for intuitive
   searching that support learning.
   - ........ and more

Some of these are easier to implement than others.  The main constraints
are volunteer energy, attention/interest and time as well as resources at
our disposal.  For everything that we want to do or do better, the time
required to see it through has an opportunity cost.

There are no easy solutions, but one thing I have to say about the ALAC.
It do believe that it does try to do the best that it can despite the
limited resources at its disposal.

Best regards,


On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:12 AM, Avri Doria <avri at acm.org> wrote:

> PS.
> This is a corollary of the lack of suffrage problem.
> But it is a different problem, and if I had been arguing for suffrage in
> that email, I would have said so explicitly.
> The lack of inclusion of the users by the user's group, goes beyond the
> denial of suffrage.
> It goes all the way to the lack of constant effort for inclusion on every
> issue.
> avri
> On 13 Feb 2013, at 20:49, Avri Doria wrote:
> > Hi,
> >
> > I understand,
> > i am wrong in my viewpoint.
> > I am used to that.
> > People say it to me all the time.
> >
> > Only time will tell whether I see the situation clearly or not.
> >
> > But please recognize that I am one who also puts in work in the At-Large
> cause.
> > And I see a problem.
> > Yes, I may be wrong
> > and you may be right to ignore my warning.
> > Or maybe not.
> >
> > avri
> >
> >
> >
> > On 13 Feb 2013, at 08:45, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond wrote:
> >
> >> Dear Avri,
> >>
> >> thank you for your kind message. I'll reply to a few selected
> paragraphs:
> >>
> >> On 13/02/2013 14:12, Avri Doria wrote:
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> I think that this criticism is unwarranted. Let me repeat this again:
> >> the ALAC is *dedicated* to the bottom-up process. All of the ALAC's
> >> calls are open to any ALS to participate in and I have, on each of the
> >> RALO calls, actively asked that individuals from ALSes get involved
> >> directly in the policy development. And I say it again here: the current
> >> policy development of the ALAC is here:
> https://community.icann.org/x/bwFO
> >>
> >> Anyone can comment on the current drafts. Anyone can volunteer to hold
> >> the pen in putting together a first draft. But it is hard work -- and so
> >> far, only a small subset of ALS representatives not in the ALAC have
> >> held the pen.
> >> Another component is capacity building. Through working groups, but also
> >> through RALO working groups, we are making progress on Capacity
> >> Building. Informal discussions I have had with ALS representatives made
> >> it appear that only when our ALSes are empowered can they feel the
> >> confidence in taking part in the ALAC's bottom-up policy development
> >> process.
> >> Now I am aware that our ALAC Web site is still an absolute mess and was
> >> supposed to be completely redesigned a year ago -- and that the process
> >> has been taking ages, but the ball is in ICANN Staff hands and as you
> >> know ICANN has gone through a complete change - so our community is
> >> still eagerly awaiting a follow-up on this.
> >>
> >> Now let me address something which you appear to point to regarding
> >> bottom up: bottom up policy input has nothing to do with elections,
> >> selections and appointments. Elections, Selections and Appointments are
> >> to do with leadership. Bottom-up is to do with having the policy input
> >> from the edges go to the top --- and this community has been practising
> >> this for as long as I have been an ALAC member... so the I reject the
> >> blame you are putting onto the ALAC, sorry.
> >>
> >>
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> Sorry, I do not agree. The First At-Large Summit got the community to
> >> come together and do excellent work.
> >> We are now going to ask for a second Summit and I hope you will join us
> >> in promoting this to the rest of the ICANN community when the time
> comes.
> >> In the meantime, by the end of this year, every region will have had its
> >> own Face to Face General Assembly and Capacity Building Programme. But
> >> as one ALS member recently said very eloquently on a RALO call, "a
> >> one-off face to face meeting was good, but not enough. You cannot learn
> >> everything in one go. I wish we could have two or three face to face
> >> meetings to help us be more effective in our input and understand the
> >> issues".
> >>
> >> And this is completely in line with my point of view and the point of
> >> view of many of my colleagues. Ask Sandra, Sala, Tijani, Cheryl and
> >> their respective Teams with which they have worked hard to put together
> >> proposals: "why have they done this" ? Because it's all about user and
> >> ALS empowerment to channel their input into the ICANN policy development
> >> process.
> >>
> >>
> >>>
> >>> 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.
> >>
> >> So you see? You and I agree on the conclusion. And I think that my ALAC
> >> colleagues will agree too. The size of the task is so huge, it's going
> >> to take time, work and funding. And we all know that Rome was not built
> >> in a day, so we need to start one step at a time. The good thing is that
> >> we have already started.
> >>
> >> Kind regards,
> >>
> >> Olivier
> >>
> >
> >
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> >
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> >
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