[ALAC] Some thoughts on ALS Criteria & Expectations Taskforce

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Sat Aug 8 22:36:00 UTC 2015

On 8 August 2015 at 09:37, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond <ocl at gih.com> wrote:

> > 3. The latter ones come to meetings, perhaps attend some meetings,
> > enjoy the local offerings, and go home and forget about us until the
> > next trip. THOSE are the ones that I have a real problem with.
> And unfortunately whenever the time comes for having face to face
> meetings, we treat those people the same way as we treat the people who
> genuinely want to get involved.

So long as At-Large leadership is selected bottom-up by a reasonably
democratic process, it will not always include the "hardest workers".
Politics of various sorts can happen in any region, and it is not a stretch
to say that "number of hours spent on ICANN in the past" can often be
​rended insignificant in an election campaign next to social skills, global
geopolitics or other factors.

Somebody may be elected based on nothing more than a promise to vote a
certain way on ALAC statements or to advance a very specific agenda on a
narrow range of issues. How do you confront that without threatening the
democratic process?

The easy answer is to ask ICANN for more travel spots as Olivier suggests,
so that (as one possible example) working group chairs (which are usually
in their posts by merit rather than politics because of the workload).
Well, that's an easy answer for us -- to the rest of ICANN's
constituencies, most of which already take At-Large to be a charity case,
this will be a tough sell.

(Then again, ICANN could if it chooses help At-Large look for outside
participation sponsorship -- yet it is unwilling, or unable, to do so.)

​Anyway... back when I was more deeply involved in At-Large, I resisted and
even belittled the various attempts to push, prod, measure and ​silo us.
Most of these efforts deserve continuing ridicule, for they remain largely
navel-gazing exercises which are more effective at distraction and
time-burning than anything else.

IMO, there are three overarching needs of At-Large:

   - How do we make ICANN and its dilemmas more accessible to the global
   - How can we best determine what is important to that public?
   - How can we best advance those priorities within ICANN without being

​Everything we do must serve one of those needs​. This means frankly

Who needs to do what at F2F meetings?
   (Maybe some of our most important travel is NOT to ICANN meetings?)

How are we engaging with the public outside ICANN?
   (If CROPP is as good as it gets let's not even bother)

What staff support do we need in research and communications?
   (Can we get stats and opinion polls to back our policy actions?)

How do we mobilize pubic opinion?
   (First, we get the public to care)

Wringing our collective hands over how to deal with laggards and tourists
-- who happen to be popular enough to get elected -- pre-occupied ALAC
before I got involved, and it continues to suck energy out of addressing
the real reason the At-Large community even exists.

​Meanwhile, the other parts of ICANN that prefer At-Large weak and
ineffectual, delight in our tail-chasing.
- Evan
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