[NA-Discuss] Bottom Up Action Procedure

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Wed Aug 24 19:19:45 UTC 2011

A few comments

> > Once consensus is achieved,
> What kind of consensus? Are there no issues for which voting is
> appropriate?
> Who is a consensus-capable contributor?

I can think of no issue -- outside of elections -- for which voting is
preferable to consensus in the NARALO/ICANN context.

Consensus has worked to ensure that, whenever possible, minority views are
accommodated rather than just rolled over by majority vote. The ability to
use consensus for so much indicates a level of professionalism and maturity
that indicates willingness to compromise and work together in a way that I
consider preferable to confrontational votes in almost every circumstances.
Contrast our workings to, for instance, LACRALO, where even small details
can be subject to meticulous and hotly contested votes.

I can't speak for Beau, but IMO (and when I was chair) *every* contributor
is "consensus capable". The process rewards participation and awareness.
This process was even surprisingly resilient to attempts at trolling and
gaming. It is an organically-developed process of which our region should
rightfully be proud.

> > the Chair requests that the ALAC discuss the matter.
> For those NARALO originating issues which concern one or more other RALOs,
> in principal, though the coordination could be direct, and therefore not
> involve any non-elected person, and also not depend upon a process model
> that may frustrate the purpose of RALO-to-RALO communications.

The Chair (or any other member of NARALO for that matter) is able to raise
an issue in the At-Large mailing lists. There are no restrictions as to who
may raise an issue -- an ALS rep or individual member who may be frustrated
by regional leadership's unwillingness/inability to escalate an issue is
*always* welcomed to take it direct.

Freedom to speak does not guarantee you'll get listened to, and regional
support is of course an asset, but the forum is open and any ICANN-relevant
issue is fair game.

For those NARALO originating issues which do not concern one or more other
> RALOs, reference to ALAC is optional, not manditory.
> > Discussions and spearheading of the matter at the ALAC level should be
> > promoted by the region's duly elected ALAC representatives.
> Agree. With the proviso that the elected representatives may be instructed
> where the elected representatives do not support the NARALO issue in
> question, or alternatively, that we come up with a proxy exception to the
> process so that its general purpose in electing its representatives does
> not prevent its specific purpose in refering a NARALO originating issue to
> a body to which it elects representatives.

In my experience, the issue is rarely that the elected ALAC reps are
*against* the NARALO position -- indeed, one would suppose that they're part
of the consensus behind the position. The problem as I see it -- that was
the case in the matter that caused this issue to be raised -- is that the
elected reps may lack the expertise and/or passion to give the issue the
advocacy it deserves.

Years before I became an ALAC member I routinely attended ALAC meetings in a
non-voting capacity, to advance issues I believed important. I worked to get
them on the core agenda (rather than tacked on at the end as Any Other
Business) by asking the ALAC Chair directly. I would be invited to the part
of the meeting discussing the issue, advance the point and answer questions,
then leave the call after the issue had been acted upon. This can be done by
ANY NARALO member, not just the Chair -- though, again, having regional
support certainly helps advance the cause.

Am I trying to deflect responsibility in my role as elected ALAC rep? I can
only offer in my defence that I am already overwhelmed with region-neutral
issues such as applicant support and broader issues related to the gTLD
program and ICANN Future Challenges. I have a limited amount of cycles and
am more than happy to work with advocates of NARALO issues to help them
advance these issues ALAC-wide. But I can't always do it myself.

The people who advance an issue through NARALO consensus should also be
ready to themselves help advance the issue globally. It is not shirking
responsibility to state accurately that someone with passion and expertise
on pre-registration (for instance), who has driven the issue at NARALO, can
make the case for action at ALAC far better than Gareth or I can. There were
also some communications issues, as Gareth thought -- and I can fully
understand how -- that the issue had not received closure at NARALO.

Olivier mis-characterized the weariness of Gareth and me at the end of the
last ALAC meeting as "lack of support" (and said so in a followup). Support
take many forms, and sometimes that support means working with others rather
than "going it alone" on issues on which I claim little expertise. Much work
needs to be and there are very few people carrying the load.

- Evan

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