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

Roberto Gaetano roberto_gaetano at hotmail.com
Fri Aug 17 21:21:42 UTC 2012

Disclaimer: I am travelling, and have erratic connection to the internet, I
cannot therefore guarantee prompt replies to the questions on the table, nor
to have all the reference papers handy

This discussion raises some interesting strategic issues.
The question is not, IMHO, if ALSes are "active" or not in terms of doing
activities that are for the benefit of the general internet user.
The question is whether ALSes are fulfilling the purpose for which they were
As per my disclaimer, I have no access to the statutory papers, but off my
memory the ALAC, with RALOs and ALSes, has been created to provide input
from the At-Large Internet Community to the ICANN policy development
process. This is, IMHO, the litmus test against which we have to measure the
effectiveness of the ALSes, RALOs, and ALAC as a whole.
In a nutshell, different organizations can be extremely active and extremely
useful for different purposes related to the internet users, but if they do
not participate in the policy development process they fail, IMHO, to
satisfy the requirements for being an ALS.
Personally, I believe that this should be a discussion for the whole ALAC,
not just for EURALO, so I am putting the Chairperson in copy.
About the dark side of the moon, I do believe that the issue of the
financial contribution to ALSes by ICANN is tightly related to the policy
contribution to ICANN by ALSes. The GA example is telling, in this sense.
All mentioned GAs took place in conjunction to events that, although
important for the internet and its users, were not ICANN events. In
particular the 2012 GA took place few days apart from an ICANN meeting in
I have not followed things closely in the last couple of years, so there
might be some very good reasons that I ignore, but seeing this from the
outside, or possibly from the point of view of the ICANN Board or another
ICANN Constituency, it raises eyebrows. I can hear the legitimate question
on why ICANN should fund participation to the EURALO GA (when this
translates to participation to the IGF or other non-ICANN event) to people
who are not interested in participating to ICANN meetings? I might be wrong,
but if the next EURALO GA falling in a year when the ICANN meeting is held
in Europe (2014?) will be held at the ICANN meeting site, there should be no
problem in funding participation to ALS representatives (or individuals, if
they comply with the requirements) that are active participants to the ICANN
policy development process. Maybe as a follow up to this discussion we can
make a proposal for the Board. Sébastien, what do you think?

-----Messaggio originale-----
Da: euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org
[mailto:euro-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] Per conto di Wolf
Inviato: giovedì 16 agosto 2012 17:53
A: bruch at zedat.fu-berlin.de, Discussion for At-Large Europe
Cc: 'Sven Lueders (Humanistische Union)'
Oggetto: Re: [EURO-Discuss] R: Proposal procedure active- non-active ALSes

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

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 ALSes".
>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 Gaetano
>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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