[EURO-Discuss] R: Proposal procedure active- non-active ALSes

Wolf Ludwig wolf.ludwig at comunica-ch.net
Thu Aug 16 15:53:02 UTC 2012

Dear Christoph and all,

thanks for this feedback! I think your description and assessment of particular ALS circumstances is important to avoid misunderstandings or misleading conclusions -- what I tried to explain at various Secretariats meetings. 

The term "non-active" itself is misleading and even prejudiced in a context of volunteer organizations. "In-active" in what sense? Purely in regard of participation at current EURALO or ALAC discussions or in a broader sense? And I insist, being active in a volunteers context is always a question of particular capacities! And these - as we know - are always limited, besides some exceptions.

As I know from various exchanges and calls with members, many of our German ALSes, as Christoph mentioned and just to give some more examples, are extremely active on the ground and sometimes even on the national level. As a common understanding, we expect that our members lobby and advocate for "the interests of the common Internet user" ... But what does this mean in a daily context?

Have a look at the Website of Foebud (unfortunately in German only) and their scope of activities (with very limited means), among others organizing the annual Big Brother Award (what became a model for Austria and Switzerland as well). And I often see Rena Tangens in the late evening news or specialized programs:

Or Netzwerk Neue Medien (NNM), a lose network of highly active folks like Markus Beckedahl conducting one of the most famous blogs in Germany:

Or take FITUG (Lutz), FIfF, APTI in Romania and other good examples for a long-term engagement and in the best sense of pursuing the "interest of Internet users". Who dares to blame those people for "not actively" participating in our monthly calls? Or current ALAC consultations on multiple issues? I am rather pleased having such members doing the day-to-day or dirty work on the ground!

In this context, let's also talk about the other side of the coin (the dark side of the moon) or the enabling environment for our member orgs. Expectations towards our members are always cheap to have as long as we forget about *incentives* we can offer - or not. When could we count on such incentives or encouragements for our members from the ICANN side for the last three years?

We are supposed to conduct a GA every year as a key organizational instrument to mobilize and include our members in EURALO policy development - a key feature of any In-reach. Nice idea in fact! We conducted three GAs in Vilnius (2010), Belgrade (2011) and Stockholm (2012). We assembled a relevant portion of our members each time -- by joining us on their own expenses what most of them couldn't afford! As we discussed in Stockholm again - and I tend to revolve the prayer wheel -, community building, pro-active member participation and involvement etc. doesn't work on a mere virtual level and without regular F2F meetings (at least every two years). I remember that Avri doesn't share this POV ;-)
As Christoph pointed out and for all these reasons stressed above, I refuse to use any inappropriate or insulting term like "in-active" in this context. I agree, regarding some particular cases mentioned yesterday when members never responded to anything from the beginning or more than two years, we need to find a solution or decertification in the worst case. In the given cases it becomes a question of our credibility: One the one hand, we are interested to organize as many members as possible (one member per country as a long-term goal), on the other hand we need to provide an appropriate In-reach with our members.

Kind regards,

Christoph Bruch wrote Thu, 16 Aug 2012 09:51
>Dear All,
>Humanistische Union / German Civil Liberties Union is one of the "non-active
>The fact that ALSes are not actively participating does not necessarily
>imply that they are not following the discussion at all.
>I assume that the participation of ALSes is greatly dependent on the
>engagement of individual members of these organizations.
>This engagement can vary considerably due to many factors.
>This should be tolerated as long as low activity levels do not create
>considerable negative influences for the whole ALO.
>The Problem of "non-active ALSes" should not be linked with the desire to
>possible enhance participation options for individuals.
>-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
>Von: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>[mailto:euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Im Auftrag von Roberto
>Gesendet: Freitag, 10. August 2012 03:14
>An: 'Discussion for At-Large Europe'
>Cc: 'Staff At Large'
>Betreff: [EURO-Discuss] R: Proposal procedure active- non-active ALSes
>+1, but with a further comment.
>Since the beginning of ALAC, and even before, the issue has been how to
>foster contribution to the policy-making process.
>The ALSes have been seen as a way to have discussions on the local level,
>and bring the issues to a regional level.
>My personal opinion is that it is extremely likely that, if ALSes are not
>engaged in the regional policy development process, most probably they are
>not even discussing the issues locally. If this is the case, they are
>completely useless for the ICANN policy development process, so there will
>be no harm in cutting the dead branches.
>On the other hand, there has been an extremely lively discussion, many years
>ago, about individual contributions to policy development. My recollection
>is that EURALO was going to open a process to allow individual membership,
>in a form to be discussed. Where are we with this process? My worry is that,
>while we give a formal status to possibly inactive structures, we put
>psychological barreers to participation from individuals who could
>potentially contribute.
>Yes, I understand that I do have a potential conflict of interest, being an
>individual not belonging to any ALS raising this point, but look at it from
>a different point of view: I am a fan of *the power of contribution* rather
>than *the power of voting* (some might remember my approach to the GNSO
>review). And, ALS or not ALS, you can't stop me from expressing my opinion
>anyway... ;>) R.
>-----Messaggio originale-----
>Da: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org
>[mailto:euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Per conto di Avri
>Inviato: giovedì 9 agosto 2012 11:42
>A: Discussion for At-Large Europe
>Cc: Staff At Large
>Oggetto: Re: [EURO-Discuss] Proposal procedure active- non-active ALSes
>On 9 Aug 2012, at 09:10, William Drake wrote:
>> Hi
>> As a Euralo board member and NCUC/SG rep on the GNSO maybe I can amplify.
>We do a "check in" procedure annually in the first place because we have a
>fairly large membership of over 200 organizational and individual members
>and have competitive elections to positions, e.g. Council seats, NCSG and
>NCUC chairs, excom.  So it seems reasonable that the voting polity in a
>contested election should comprise only those able to must the energy to
>reply to an email and say yes I am still here and interested in
>participating.  I suppose secondarily it could be of some use when we're
>trying to work out a policy position, i.e. if someone weighs in on a list
>discussion with a strong view that affects the ability to get consensus, it
>may be worth determining if they're an active member or not.  Conversely,
>you don't have to hold up the consensus building process because you've not
>yet heard from phantoms.
>> We debated what was the appropriate threshold of activity to be 
>> classified
>as active.  As Mathieu notes, this is complicated as given peoples'
>availability and the natural tendency to pick and choose items you're
>willing to devote energy to based on interests and bandwidth at a given
>time.  So while in principle you could say that someone who has never
>participated in online discussions or shown up for a GA in a year should be
>deemed inactive, in practice this might be unfair.  
>> An annual check in mail prior to an election cycle is a pretty low 
>> impact
>way of determining at least a baseline level of commitment.  If a member has
>really fallen off the map, this is a way to know.  And with number of
>members in Euralo, it wouldn't be difficult to execute.  And it could
>increase the credibility of claims to represent xyz actors.
>> All in all, Rudi's suggestion seems sensible enough to me.
>> Best,
>> Bill
>> On Aug 8, 2012, at 5:21 PM, Mathieu Paapst wrote:
>>> Hi Rudi,
>>> I think you cannot assume that everyone participates on everything. 
>>> For me it is also not clear how much activity is needed or desired. 
>>> Do you want every ALS to participate in the monthly call or do you 
>>> just want them to visit the yearly GA?
>>> And what will EURALO gain from putting ALSes on such a list other 
>>> than making it easier to reach a quorum?
>>> I am not necessarily against this measure, however it does not feel 
>>> right if the board is not involved in these kind of decisions.  Is 
>>> there anything in our bylaws on this subject?
>>> Kind regards,
>>> Mathieu Paapst
>>> Rudi Vansnick schreef:
>>>> Dear board members,
>>>> As we see many ALSes in EURALO not being quite active, in a long 
>>>> term
>not having responded to emails and other communications, we have to be
>honest and show respect for those having been active all along the road and
>as such allowing EURALO to still be recognized as part of the ALAC
>constituency. However, it is clear the number of ALSes is an important
>factor for ALAC to show interest and participation in the concept of the
>multi-stakeholder process of ICANN.
>>>> Therefor I propose we would act as does the NCUC by sending out an 
>>>> email
>requesting a response within a certain delay. If no response is received
>within the given timeframe, the ALS would be put on an "non-active" list.
>This would also allow us to have a correct quorum and election mechanism.
>This mechanism is a temporary procedure, not being voted on by the board,
>but as other decisions has also been taken without explicit approval of the
>board, I assume this one can also go through.
>>>> I'm willing to work out the process of this proposal with timeframe 
>>>> and
>procedural aspects in order to allow "non-active" ALSes getting back into
>the active list once they have shown enough interest in the work of EURALO
>and ALAC.
>>>> Just my eurocent idea
>>>> Rudi Vansnick
>>>> EURALO board member
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