[ALAC] Some thoughts on ALS Criteria & Expectations Taskforce

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Sun Aug 9 01:21:15 UTC 2015

At 08/08/2015 06:36 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
>On 8 August 2015 at 09:37, Olivier MJ 
>Crepin-Leblond <<mailto:ocl at gih.com>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.

Although ALAC Members and RALO Leaders may well 
fall into all categories, those tahat fall into 
category 3 on a regular basis should be dealt 
with directly, and the others we have little 
choice but to accept. At least for their first 
term. Of deeper concern and the ones I focused on 
when answering were those for whom we support as ALS representatives.

>(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 public?
>    * How can we best determine what is important to that public?
>    * How can we best advance those priorities 
> within ICANN without being marginalized?

I agree. But for better or worse, we either need 
to make the ALS/RALO structure work, or reduce 
its visibility and cost. As it is, it is both 
expensive (not necessarily in money, but in time 
and focus) and opens us up to strong (and at times valid) criticism

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