[NA-Discuss] Bottom Up Action Procedure

Thompson, Darlene DThompson1 at GOV.NU.CA
Thu Aug 25 13:29:41 UTC 2011

Eric and all,

I again direct you to our Operating Procedures where this is covered:  https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/2264679/NA-2007-1-1rev1+NARALO+Operating+Principles.pdf?version=1&modificationDate=1286813556000

Paragraph 14 states:  Rough consensus, as determined by the Chair, will generally be used within the NARALO to manage its current affairs (e.g. producing recommendations to ICANN).

Further, paragraph 13 states:  In the event that the Chair determines that rough consensus does not exist for the selection of one or more candidates for ALAC seats, the General Assembly will vote.

So, everything right up to the selection of ALAC reps is encouraged to be done by rough consensus.  Historically, however, we generally vote (when necessary) to elect the Chair, Secretariat and ALAC reps.  All other matters (as per paragraph 14) have been done through rough consensus.  I believe that this has worked quite well for the group.

As for your second question, the Operating Procedures refer to the "General Assembly" making these decisions and paragraph 5 defines that as one representative from each member ALS and one representative of the unaffiliated individuals.  Of course, everybody is encouraged to put in their thoughts but to actually determine consensus I would say that we would have to follow this rule.

Frankly, I think that this is creating a mountain out of a mole hill in that we have never failed to reach rough consensus fairly easily, painlessly and quickly!


Darlene A. Thompson
Community Access Program Administrator
Nunavut Dept. of Education / N-CAP
P.O. Box 1000, Station 910
Iqaluit, NU  X0A 0H0
Phone:  (867) 975-5631
Fax:  (867) 975-5610
E-mail:  dthompson at gov.nu.ca

-----Original Message-----
From: na-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org [mailto:na-discuss-bounces at atlarge-lists.icann.org] On Behalf Of ebw at abenaki.wabanaki.net
Sent: Wednesday, August 24, 2011 6:12 PM
To: evan at telly.org
Cc: na-discuss at atlarge-lists.icann.org
Subject: Re: [NA-Discuss] Bottom Up Action Procedure

Colleagues, in this I only address the decision making form questions,
as I see them. What happens after the regional organization has made a
decision is not addressed here.

Two issues, if not a third, are present in this exchange.

There are two mechanisms for decision making, voting, by participants with
standing to vote, and consensus, again, by participants with standing to
participate in a consensus call.

First, for which questions is which mechanism determined? 

Second, is access to the mailing list alone sufficient to establish standing
for either?

The latent third issue is assuming that the answer to the second is in the
negative, does advocacy by actors lacking standing, presented as such, or
presented as some other form of social interaction, but delivered
undifferentiated from those having standing, have a substantial possibility
of affecting consensus outcomes? 

My personal experience, after three decades of decision making by consensus
in the IETF, and earlier in AFSC organized organizations, is that the body
on occasion determines the outcomes. To give an example, at IETFs 50 and 51
a small group of engineers from CNNIC presented a proposal to the IDN WG to
fix a known problem in the Unicode table for Chinese. An "intermediate table".
There was not consensus that a problem existed, and therefore that the fix
should be adopted. A globally incorrect engineering decision was made by a
locally correct cost-benefit analysis -- few if any of the contributors to
the IDN WG were native Chinese language literate.

A "vote" would have recorded what even "rough consensus" obscures, that of
the votes for intermediate tables, all of the voters were professionally
engaged in the deliver of Han script characters to Han script users, and
that of the votes against intermediate tables, none of the voters were so

Incidently, and simply as an item of historical trivia, I was, along with
Erik Huizer and Dave Crocker, an engaged contributor to the POISSON WG,
which authored RFC 2418, and which Scott Bradner was kind enough to edit.
It was about as long, though not quite as contentuous, as the ICANN VI WG.

Turning to the question of standing, whether to participate in a consensus
call or a vote, not everyone in who "contributes" to the IETF actually has
"standing". Reputation matters. No matter how often Jim Flemming posts on
the amazing features of IPv8, no one pays him the slightest attention. The
situation exists today in the IDNA mailing list, as a collection of cranks
attempt to promote their quite daft "multilingual" agenda as an IETF/ICANN 

As a regional organization, residence in the region matters, it can not be
ignored without harm to the least of the region's participating residents.

With that I'm calling it a day with a quote from former Ops Area Director
Randy Bush, concerning routing infrastructure proposals, sent to NANOG a
few days ago:

  The goal is education and understanding, not a contest. These are
  all good and interesting approaches. Weapons are not allowed, we all
  work for the Internet.

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