[At-Large] [NA-Discuss] Edits and comments to NARALO/ALAC position statement on GAC scorecard

Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond ocl at gih.com
Sat Mar 26 14:55:02 UTC 2011

Dear Anthony,

thank you for your kind reply. As per the tradition, I'll intersperse my

Le 26/03/2011 02:51, Antony Van Couvering a écrit :
> Olivier,
> Thanks for your answer and for your temperate responses.  
> I'm a little disturbed that you consider my responses "biased." In answer to your question, no, I don't think my point of view is biased, at least no more than anyone else's.  It represents my best understanding of how I think ICANN can best advance the interests of the Internet.   I've made no secret of my support for the new gTLD program, but I will say that I have been entirely consistent for over 10 years on this point, long before I had any possibility of a financial interest in the matter.  I had seriously hoped that we could talk about these issues based on their merits, rather than jumping immediately to an ad-hominem style of argument.  I believe I made serious points in my post, and I think they should be answered on their merits.  I confess that I grow weary of the casual discrimination and off-hand dismissal of business people, the ready willingness to drop terms like "insiders" and "bias" without any facts to back it up, especially when it's readily apparent to 
> me that there is virtually no-one outside of the technical portion of our community who are not following their own agendas (and perhaps they are too).  Be that as it may, I am not trying to pass as a "simple user."  I am well aware that I have rather too much experience at ICANN, but I don't see anywhere in the ALAC requirements that I must be "simple" to make a contribution -- is there a rule that mandates that ALAC participants to be ignorant and inexperienced?  Certainly that cannot be said about you, or about Mr. Liebovitch - you are both very knowledgable and experienced. 

I don't discount the fact that you have made serious points in your post
and you'll notice that I have taken much time in considering each of
them in detail - and am thankful about several items you pointed out.
Evan has kindly amended the text accordingly - thanks for your input!
Looking back at my response, I don't consider pointing out your
potential conflicts of interest as being an ad-hominem style of argument
- http://www.mindsandmachines.com/about/

You allege that many ALAC members have a similar conflict of interest.
Not so. Most of the ALAC (me included) as well as regional leads have no
vested interest whatsoever. They painstakingly take time off work to
travel to an ICANN meeting and work for free. The diversity of ALSes
they represent is inspiring. The sole benefit they are to derive from
the new gTLD process will be user choice and diversity, just like any
other Internet user out there. Did you miss the NARALO showcase event?
Truly inspiring.

> One of the serious points is about how ALAC's own transparency and accountability are managed, a point which I have made to you in private. If the ALAC leadership is going to make a big point of transparency at ICANN (which they do, and which I applaud), it would be well if ALAC set the standards -- noblesse oblige, and all that....  
> For instance, I notice that there is no notice of the paper under discussion on the NARALO web site (https://st.icann.org/naralo/) or the ALAC website (https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/11502194/ALAC+Chair%27s+Report+-+San+Francisco+18+March+-+Final.pdf?version=3&modificationDate=1300466413000) where many other meetings and papers are mentioned, nor is there any mention of it in your report of ICANN SF (https://community.icann.org/download/attachments/11502194/ALAC+Chair%27s+Report+-+
> San+Francisco+18+March+-+Final.pdf?version=3&modificationDate=1300466413000).  Nor it is mentioned in the otherwise quite thorough "Policy Advice Schedule (http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tKrlhCospxnfewY_9R39SuQ&gid=4) on the ALAC web site.  In other words, someone not monitoring the ALAC lists would have no idea that this radical statement, which would have the effect of delaying an effort that the entire community has spent years working on, was about to be unleashed.

You have to look in the right places - and yes, I admit we still need to
do some work on information dissemination, but there is a fine line
between this and too much information on the discussion lists.
ALAC improvements Work Team B was the Team that worked to improve this:

I'll include a few starting points for you to consider below.

> You say that this is "as close to consensus as we are going to get."  I have trouble with this, since the paper itself notes that the ideas in it have not received wide circulation and may change as soon as people read it -- and that was indeed my aim in submitting my contribution.  And if it was fully discussed, I find it very curious that unlike discussions in the rest of the ICANN community, where everything ends up on email lists, none of this was much discussed on the NARALO or ALAC lists, which I read and to which I contribute.   Perhaps I missed it, but I also found no mention of this paper on any agenda, or report of meetings, and I noticed it only when it was almost fully formed, and a deadline was announced just a few days away. 

The ALAC was publicly asked to provide its final opinions by the GAC
during the GAC meeting with the ALAC on Sunday. (I can't find the
location of its records - you could ask the GAC about this)
and by the Board:  see transcript on http://svsf40.icann.org/node/22233

Sessions building the ALAC position on DAGv4 + the subsequent Board-GAC
discussion abound.
First, it's helpful to have a look at the ALAC workspace:

The New gTLDs working group has a mailing list which has been in
operation for a long while.
The Naming Issues Task Force has also operated with discussions on
discussion lists.
For a list of working group lists, see:

At-Large members were involved in the STI working team, the Rec.6
discussion, JAS, new gTLD, etc.

Reporting on the new gTLD process took place at every ICANN meeting:
(check the other days too)

Each of these could be followed remotely in English, Spanish and French.
Indeed, we had many remote participants joining us during every meeting.

The Brussels Board-GAC discussion were well covered and input was
gathered from ALAC:

I am sorry to find you have missed the opportunity of contributing at
the time.


Note - the Adobe Connect + Skype Chats which were in operation on those
The Skype chat was the only channel for user feedback which we set-up
for everyone to use and this was very well appreciated by all, Board and
GAC included. Had the ALAC not decided on providing a channel for open
discussion, there would have been none. Looking back at the list of 73
participants, I am sorry you missed the chance of taking part.
You'll have to pay more attention to your incoming email in the future! :-)

Also - check the ALAC monthly calls:
and previous calls too:

There are vast quantities of information out there. Agreed, the
information may still be hard to find, but with:
1. the transfer from SocialText to Confluence
2. the fact that we've been short of at least 1 full time staff for
several years
3. the amount of time that volunteers had to spend on the At-Large
improvements processes - and this is tackling the problem of information
flow to our edges
4. the limited bandwidth that our remaining staff has had due to all of
the above

...I should be ever so grateful if you could suggest a source of funding
for At-Large to be able to launch a short term project to design a
knowledge management system (system, not tool = a complete team
machines+minds) set-up by a team of full-time employees whose job will
be solely to help us with information dissemination. We're also looking
for sponsors for the APRALO showcase and your address book would be of
great help.

We're doing the best that we can, but your assertion that there is no
transparency in the current ALAC process is simply unfair.

> I am further confused by the assertion that the paper is in line with what ALAC has been saying since Mexico City.  I find that very difficult to understand, since the GAC scorecard was just released a few weeks ago, and contains many novel points, including no fees for government objections, inclusion of both sunrise and IP claims instead of one or the other, "early warning systems" and others.  How can you have consensus on topics that new?

Whilst some of these are new indeed, some ideas developed by the GAC are
actually positions that the ALAC has championed for a long time, not the
other way round.

> Finally, please note that I submit my contribution *as a participant in NARALO* and the ALAC and from no other ICANN stakeholder group or constituency.  I urge you -- actually I insist -- that my contribution be taken not as the observations of an outsider, but as the contribution of a participant within the ALAC structure, which (as I have been told time and time again) is my home in ICANN unless and until I find welcome in another group.  As a contributor to the NARALO and ALAC lists for some time, I have been asked to participate in NARALO elections as a North American member.    If you make any measure of consensus as being rough or full or what have you -- which I think is a very good idea from the point of view of transparency -- then you should include my contribution as a resounding dissent. 
> I like and respect you personally, and therefore I am quite surprised that you would defend a position paper on a topic of this great importance, with the potential to derail a painstakingly-crafted community consensus, introduced on the public lists only a few days ago, with no polling of the lists, with discussion restricted (apparently) to face-to-face meeting that few people can attend, which contains *in the text of the paper* the disclaimer that it has not been widely circulated or received much comment  -- I am greatly surprised that you could characterize this as a consensus position.  It has all the hallmarks of being the exact opposite of that. 

If you think that the ALAC statement has the potential to "derail a
painstakingly-crafted community consensus", I am both surprised you
don't see At-Large as being one of the communities involved and
surprised at the potential you place on the ALAC to "derail" a process.
That was never our intention and I don't think we've ever been accused
of such a thing.

Your contribution has been noted, thanks - although I feel that your
questions about the process itself are ill-founded. The question of
"full consensus, rough consensus or else" doesn't stand when the
disclaimer which you don't like, is included in the text:

*"It must be emphasised that, because of the extremely compressed
timeline allowed for this response, The ALAC has not received the broad
At-Large community feedback and buy-in that such a statement would
normally warrant. While its authors have solicited comment and ALAC
endorsement,* *this statement is still subject to review and possible
refinement pending broader At-Large distribution.* If the language below
is seen as too sharp, the reader is asked to accept our apologies -- but
also to understand that we have had both little time and few words with
which to express our concerns."

ALAC members have felt it was a safe way to explain our position. The
community page was created 7 days ago. What's written on it reflects way
more than 7 day's discussions and I hope that I have shown that in my
message - and look forward to your continued involvement in At-Large.
Warmest regards,


Olivier MJ Crépin-Leblond, PhD

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