[ALAC] Why aren't more At-Largers involved in PDPs? (was: [ALAC-Announce] ICANN News Alert -- ICANN Provides Update on Review of the Community Priority Evaluation Process)

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Thu Sep 7 19:29:30 UTC 2017

Evan, there is a lot of truth in what you say 
(although I am far less sure that your 3-part 
formula is the answer). But I return to the 
original question of Community gTLD Applications. 
If this is an important issue to us (and it does 
seem to be), how can we get more involvement in 
the issue so the outcomes have a higher chance of 
meeting what we believe is needed?


At 07/09/2017 02:54 AM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
>On 6 September 2017 at 23:43, Alan Greenberg 
><<mailto:alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca> wrote:
>*IF* this matter is really important, it is 
>problematic that so few people are participating in the PDP.
>​Of course it is problematic. It is also 
>completely predictable and understandable and 
>always has been; it is has been a built-in ICANN 
>process design to handicap our efforts.
>At-Large, by definition, is here to represent 
>the interests of end-users. Its membership does 
>not have domain buying or selling as primary 
>livelihoods (if they are they really ought not 
>to be here as their interests are being 
>represented elsewhere in the ICANN ecosystem). 
>As a result, most participants here have day 
>jobs and Other Things To Do. To them, Internet 
>governance is a sideline, an interest, maybe 
>even a passion. But  they are at a MASSIVE 
>disadvantage compared to those for whom ICANN 
>awareness and manipulation is a job. ICANN 
>processes are heavily biased in favour of those 
>who commit their lives, and against the typical 
>ALS or individual member. This is fine for the 
>paid staff, consultants and academics for whom 
>involvement in ICANN and Internet governance 
>pays their rent. The rest of us, not so good.
>Look at the time consumption of even the most 
>trivial PDP. High-level issues are shunted aside 
>while trivial details and definitions consume 
>person-hours by the hundreds. A WG that Alan and 
>I now attend regarding the process for 
>allocating ICANN auction funds has been spending 
>weeks on the definition of "what is an open 
>Internet". In my decades of public service, 
>ICANN's rate of 
>accomplishment-per-volunteer-hour is massively 
>less than anything else I have done in my life.
>So it's no wonder At-Large participation in WGs 
>is so rare. The number of people able to cope 
>with the time commitment, the many other 
>barriers (no language interpretation!!), small 
>groups of aggressive speakers who dominate the 
>debates and shut down dissent through derision 
>and legalese. WGs usually meet at ICANN 
>meetings, putting those who don't travel to them 
>at a disadvantage. It can easily be 
>overwhelming, especially when it so often leads 
>to our not being heard anyway unless we agree with the pack.
>Let's please be honest. At any given time, the 
>number of people in At-Large who can cope with 
>all this, and put in the heroic levels of 
>commitment of folks like Alan, usually requires 
>only one hand to count. Most others have three 
>choices when a PDP (or similar WG) offer arises:
>    * Have a substantially diminished personal 
> life for the duration of the PDP to do it 
> right, in a way that may well impact their actual income-producing work
>    * Be involved in the PDP at a reduced rate, 
> but then eventually get lost by falling behind
>    * Sit it out, and get involved instead in 
> outreach or infrastructure (still challenging, 
> but not on the scale -- or with the hostility -- of the policy work)
>Compounding the problem is that PDPs are 
>commissioned by the GNSO with few exceptions, 
>and if the WG is not designated as cross 
>community (rare), At-Large's ability to frame 
>the topics and counter the agenda of a 
>determined and unified domain industry is ... weak.
>There are some steps that may be taken to improve the situation:
>    * Dedicate At-Large staff to policy 
> development support to assist those At-Large people who choose to get involved
>    * Deal with responses at a higher level so 
> that our people can make informed input without 
> having to be involved in every step of the inevitable minutiae
>    * Create an annual strategic plan for policy 
> to highlight the areas of concern, and stick 
> faithfully to only participate in, and respond 
> to, process that impact those areas
>Without these steps (and maybe even with them) 
>our volunteer resources simply are not able to 
>match the involvement and relentlessness of the domain industry communities.
>The answer is not to scare off newcomers or burn 
>out veterans. Rather, At-Large must recognize 
>the limitations with which we must work in 
>policy development, and develop creative ways 
>within the ICANN bylaws to make our voice most 
>effective given who we are and what we are able to do.
>- Evan
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://atlarge-lists.icann.org/pipermail/alac/attachments/20170907/5b367457/attachment.html>

More information about the ALAC mailing list