[ALAC] Some thoughts on ALS Criteria & Expectations Taskforce

Holly Raiche h.raiche at internode.on.net
Sun Aug 9 08:19:41 UTC 2015


Thanks Beran

I don’t think any of us started our life with ALAC knowing what was going on.  And I think your suggestion is a very good one - having those with experience of ALAC mentor the new comers.  Because, yes, it is a challenge all of have faced, and the more we can do to help out, the better

Holly
On 9 Aug 2015, at 6:05 pm, Beran Dondeh <berandondeh at yahoo.com> wrote:

> As an ICANN fellow coming into AT large and eventually ALAC within a space of year it was a big challenge for me. I struggled for the first six months and played catch up a lot. Missing my inaugural ALAC meeting didn't help matters as well. 
> 
> I coped by identifying an ALAC member (Tijani)  and attaching myself as a Mentee. This really helped me get up to speed and stay involved as well as contribute where I could. 
> 
> I believe ALAC members as well as ALSs are expected to hit the ground running once they enter the fold but not enough is done to perhaps help them stay in the fold.
> 
> My mentorship with Tijani helped immensely and I think it's an approach worth considering.
> 
> Regards 
> 
> Beran
> "There is nothing more difficult to arrange and more dangerous to carry through than initiating change..." Machiavelli 
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
> 
> On 9 Aug 2015, at 00:18, Carlton Samuels <carlton.samuels at gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Alan,
>> I hear you. I can also agree we could indeed categorise and I have no problem with the ones you have defined.  We can also agree that a variety of motivations to serve will bring varying performance.
>> 
>> Like you, the thrill from air travel is long gone for me as well. I do what I must. These days after 4 days elapsed time, I'm usually ready to go home. I have only two pleasure trips left in me; taking that Trans Siberian Express train from Moscow to the Russian Far East and Vladivostok, a trek thru Mongolia. Anyone wants to hand me a travel benefit then those are the only ones that will count!
>> 
>> As to that 3rd group you staked out, it is indeed irksome they show up, short on even intention to assist in the heavy lifting.  I paraphrase that eminent philosopher Forrest Gump; 'representatives are like a box of chocolate, you never know what you will get'.  A few ne'er-do-wells will get thru our processes time and again. I see this as a price you pay for voluntarism; what I call uneven results and performance. 
>> 
>> Its like the ICANN Fellowship programme.  I can't tell you how many Fellows - some of whom I have recommended - we have tried to engage after the fellowship trip that simply ignore us. For some the fellowship week experience was overwhelming; too much packed in days that are too long. They wonder how I find the time to do ICANN with all my other commitments and interests they know about. A few have even asked me directly if I'm getting paid 'under the table'!  But we harvest a few for the long haul. Again, let's manage expectations. We must expect uneven results and performance. 
>> 
>> -Carlton 
>> 
>> 
>> ==============================
>> Carlton A Samuels
>> Mobile: 876-818-1799
>> Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround
>> =============================
>> 
>> On Fri, Aug 7, 2015 at 5:58 PM, Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca> wrote:
>> Carlton, I think that there are three distinct categories of people here, and we are merging them together.
>> 
>> 1. There are the dedicated hard workers for whom the travel may or may not be a "perk" at some level. I put you and me in that category. I have logged close to 2 million flying miles (that is, actual flown miles, not frequent flyer miles), and to quote an old song I am fond of "The thrill is a long time gone". I find it hard to consider a trip half-way across the world, where I may get 6 hours sleep, put in a grueling 7-10 days, and fly out again without seeing anything other than a hotel, perhaps 1 or 2 restaurants and the airport a perk or reward. 
>> 
>> On the other hand, on rare occasions, I do tag some vacation onto an ICANN trip and from that perspective, it does add a bit of a personal benefit - generally giving me an opportunity to see a place that I might not have done on my own.
>> 
>> 2. There are volunteers who are not among among our heavy lifters (really dedicated workers), but want to get involved. They are the ones that our GAs and summits should be targeted at. They are at the meetings to learn, and try to stay involved after.
>> 
>> 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.
>> 
>> Of course, there are also some who straddle several categories. BUt when they go into option 3, I have a problem.
>> 
>> Alan
>> 
>> 
>> At 07/08/2015 01:55 PM, Carlton Samuels wrote:
>>> I participated in this morning's call and wanted to level the playing field by enunciating some principles and a framework for our discussions.
>>> 
>>> Let's start with some principles.  
>>> 
>>> 1) The At-Large is a volunteer-led and fueled organisation and whatever we do MUST be informed by unassailable facts we know of voluntary organisations plus the psychology of voluntarism.
>>> 
>>> 2) Individuals make the worthwhile contributions, not organisations.
>>> 
>>> 3) There is a wide range of motivations for voluntarily contributing and these must be fed for sustaining worthwhile contributions
>>> 
>>> 4) Results matter but volunteer contributions across the board shall always be uneven
>>> 
>>> So now, the framework for discussions. There are structural issues as well as political issues that must be embraced for any viable solution to emerge.  The ICANN/RALO MOU is the source of the first structurally-generated challenge.
>>> 
>>> While it recognizes individuals as the providers of policy advice, it locates individual actions in organisations called ALS. And by so doing suggests that value be given to the organisation.  Some RALOs, like NARALO, have developed rules that recognize individual contributions but have shoehorned valuation for contribution into an ALS structure.  I'm not now sure what the answer should be but I know what we now have is not fit to purpose and objective.
>>> 
>>> Another structural issue.  An individual coming to the ICANN policy development ecosystem is going to become a worthwhile contributor by virtue of mental acumen, penchant for hard work and time in place. Time in place is the common criteria for success.  So current arrangements give extra value to experienced volunteers.
>>> 
>>> At the same time, new blood is required to sustain the flow of worthwhile contributors. Here's the thing. Face-to-Face (f2f) ICANN meetings are the best platforms to learn and to become familiarized with this complex beast called the ICANN ecosystem.
>>> 
>>> The effectiveness of a volunteer in policy development is directly related to serial opportunity to participate in ICANN f2f meetings.  It is no accident that the most impactful groups in ICANN are a) those that get to f2f meetings as 'volunteers' engaged in compensated work b) Those who have the wherewithal to self-fund attendance at ICANN f2f meetings. 
>>> 
>>> The task is to develop a framework that strikes a balance which takes into account the need for experienced volunteers with capacity to deliver worthwhile contributions even as we build capacity in newer less-experienced volunteers to sustain the At-Large participation agenda.
>>> 
>>> The current funding model for attendance of At-Large volunteers to ICANN f2f meetings assist ALAC representatives, liaisons from ALAC to qualified SOs/ACs plus named RALO leadership. This construct seemingly presumes a direct line of inheritance from RALO leadership thru ALAC representation. We know it is a presumption without merit, especially if worthwhile contributions to policy discussions is the objective for the At-Large in ICANN.   
>>> 
>>> It is always wrong to think of travel funding to ICANN f2f meeting as a benefit to a volunteer!  It is not and cannot be!
>>> 
>>> ALAC representation compels attending three (3) f2f meetings per annum. They are coincident with the ICANN meetings.  In this context, travel funding is purely part of the infrastructural cost to fulfill an obligation. Otherwise it is like working for a company that has business far removed from my place of domicile and expect performance without provisioning the tools that enable that performance. 
>>> 
>>> It rankles me personally when my contributions in both time and treasure to the ICANN enterprise is neither accounted or valorized.  Then insult is added to my injury when some goof equates a trip sitting in steerage for upwards of 17+ hours [the flight time from Chicago to New Delhi] as a benefit!
>>> 
>>> I travel by air a lot for work; the miles are now counted in millions. In the years I sat as an ALAC member + the incumbent Secretariat for LACRALO and as a senior staffer at The University of the West Indies, I contributed my vacation time of 3 weeks to ICANN for attending f2f meetings. This does not count the average 20+ hours per week I normally dedicate to ICANN matters. Nor my personal spend of a minimum of US$500 to attend said meetings!  These all contribute to ICANN having a real opportunity to record it is indeed multi-stakeholder, is fulfilling its AoC obligations and has contributions from end user representatives to its policy development.
>>> 
>>> Back in time, I was roundly criticised by some of my At-Large colleagues for my position in dealing with so-called ALAC 'tourists'.  This matter came to the top in India; LACRALO representatives to ALAC were accused of abandoning ALAC business for a tour of Indian tourist sites.  This still haunts the At-Large in ICANN circles. My firm stand against any sanctions or additional criteria applied for travel support funding was interpreted as 'protecting' the members accused from sanctions for inattention to duty.  That was never my objective and it still is not the case today. I just cannot accept the notion that travel funding is a benefit to the volunteer. I shall, on principle, oppose any such notion, howsoever derived or configured.
>>> 
>>> Finally, in the chat we heard talk of a 'reviewer' being appointed. While the roles and responsibilities of such a person/actor is not yet outlined, let us be clear to ring fence and give specific instructions as to what we are trying to achieve here.  We must recognize from principles that volunteers give as much as they can to the cause.  The contributions in time and treasure of a Olivier Crepin-Leblond or Cheryl Langdon Orr cannot be used as a benchmark for either engagement or indeed, worthwhile contributions. 
>>> 
>>> Best,
>>> -Carlton 
>>> 
>>> ==============================
>>> Carlton A Samuels
>>> Mobile: 876-818-1799
>>> Strategy, Planning, Governance, Assessment & Turnaround
>>> =============================
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>> 
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