[At-Large] [ALAC-Internal] GNSO Council Motion on Cross-Community Working Groups

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Tue Jan 17 22:35:21 UTC 2012

To get a few facts on the table:

The mandate of this group was not to set CCWG 
rules, but to establish a baseline for what the 
GNSO thought was important before entering into 
discussions with the ALAC, ccNSO, ASO, GAC, or 
whosoever wanted to participate. That is clear in 
the motion. Since the GNSO rarely "delegates" 
responsibility to negotiate on its behalf to its 
Chair or others, it was felt that it was 
important to understand the overall issues from 
the GNSO perspective before entering into 
multi-lateral discussions (which for practical 
reasons will surely include a only small subset 
of the GNSO Council). Moreover, it was felt that 
input from the GNSO as a whole, and not just the Council was important.

That being said, the GNSO did have an interest in 
ensuring that what it proposed was reasonable and 
factored in, to the extent possible, the needs of 
other groups. At the express request of the 
Council, I participated in this group and was more than a bit active.

It is not clear exactly what will come out of the 
final discussions with other ACs and SOs, but I 
do not recall anything in the final results of 
this drafting team that are totally unreasonable.

Several of the points are very GNSO-centric (and 
perhaps ccNSO) in that they repeatedly stipulate 
that formal "policy" must be carried out under 
the rules set out in the ICANN Bylaws for such 
policy development. I personally think that this 
was not needed, since it is in the Bylaws, but 
others felt it was good to reiterate.

The point that will no doubt be a lightening rod 
following the JAS group is the stipulation that 
when formed, a CCWG should have a single charter. 
Although in the far reaches of my imagination I 
can come up with reasons that this should not be 
a rule, but I not at all sure that such edge 
cases need to be dealt with here. If the 
interests of the various parties are so different 
at the start, perhaps a CCWG is not what we need.

Note that this principle talks about the 
FORMATION of a CCWG. I do not believe that we 
have ever participated in a CCWG that had 
multiple disagreeing charters at the beginning. 
It is not clear why one would enter into the 
creation of such a group if the aims of the 
participating bodies were not similar. In fact, 
those who were around may recall that for the JAS 
group, we did agree on a single charter. Due to a 
clerical (honestly!) error, one clause was 
omitted from the version that the GNSO approved. 
When the charter came up to the ALAC, the ALAC 
decided to drop that clause as well, as it was 
felt that it was not sufficiently important to 
warrant delaying the entire process until it 
could go back to the GNSO for re-chartering (and 
we believed that the group WOULD look at that 
issue regardless of whether it was in the 
charter). Other CCWGs such as DSSA all had a 
single charter agreed to by one mechanism or another ahead of time.

You will notice that the principles are silent on 
the issue of re-chartering part-way through a 
process, the situation where JAS blew up. If you 
recall the sequence of events there:
- the WG came up with a suggested revised charter.
- this time it was the ALAC that got to it first, and it was approved.
- when it came to the GNSO, there was substantive 
discomfort and they did radical surgery to it, 
taking out some parts and adding others (one of which the ALAC really liked).
- at that point, the JAS group would have had two 
charters, which in some cases could be construed 
as requiring they work in two orthogonal 
directions at the same time - something that was not tenable.
- the ALAC revised its version, making it clear 
that the JAS charter had a core part that was 
common to both the GNSO and ALAC, and several 
other end-products that were unique to the ALAC 
but did not go against any of the core items.
- that was perhaps a bit awkward to work with, 
but the JAS WG was willing and things proceeded 
to the eventual VERY successful outcome, with the 
GNSO supporting all end-products equally, even 
the ones that they had not included in their charter.

Another area that may attract discussion is about 
the rules that a CCWG will follow. The principles 
simple say that to the extent possible, the WG 
rules of the constituent bodies should be 
followed. If they were all the same, that would 
clearly be no problem. But in fact, other than 
the GNSO, I suspect no other organization has 
such a detailed set of rules. The ALAC, in its 
own WGs, has generally abided by the GNSO rules 
where they made sense and ignored those that did 
not. Perhaps some day the ALAC will formalize 
what its rules are. Or not. It *is* clear that 
the rules and certainly the practices currently 
vary, and although I am sure that every 
organization would feel comfortable with *their* 
rules dominating, what will come out of this 
process is some sort of a compromise, perhaps 
varying based on which bodies participate. And 
they will likely vary over time as we get used to 
these new groups. The principles are wisely 
completely silent on the issue, other than to say 
that the charter should specify the rules for any given WG.

Note that this set of principles does not attempt 
to address (nor should they) how one reaches 
consensus within a given WG. Whatever rules are 
adopted for that group will need to address it, 
but it may be specific to the issue and who the chartering bodies are.

The GNSO meeting where this will be discussed is 
on Thursday at 11:00 UTC. If anyone has any input 
for me as the formal ALAC Liaison, please get it 
to me as soon as possible (the meeting is at 
06:00 my time, so I will be offline for the 
several hours preceding the meeting). As I cannot 
make suggestions for formal changes to the 
motion, please make sure to copy Bill as well.


At 17/01/2012 04:29 PM, William Drake wrote:
>Thanks Evan.  We've talked about this enough so 
>I'm aware of your general stance, which I 
>broadly share.  But what would be particularly 
>helpful to know is whether AL has any specific 
>responses to specific elements of the proposed 
>principles, including suggestions of language 
>tweaks.  If not ok, but thought I'd ask

>On Jan 17, 2012, at 10:17 PM, Evan Leibovitch wrote:
> > On 17 January 2012 15:23, William Drake <william.drake at uzh.ch> wrote:
> >
> >
> >> People may wish to have a look at the Principles
> >> http://gnso.icann.org/drafts/draft-principles-for-cwgs-23dec11-en.pdf,
> >> which specify that all SO/ACs involved should adopt and follow a single
> >> joint charter for CWGs, that CWGs outputs do not express community
> >> consensus per se, and so on.
> >>
> >
> > Hi Bill. Thanks for the update, and for the efforts of you and the NCSG on
> > the issue.
> >
> > The GNSO is welcome to do whatever it wants to unilaterally regarding its
> > internal processes, but it cannot impose such regulation on others.
> >
> > As happened with the JAS group, I for one will not abide by any imposed
> > regimen that prohibits an important effort from moving forward because a
> > community (or group of communities) refuses to agree on a charter (or tries
> > to scale back an existing one). Specifically, I would certainly not agree
> > to any move that artificially limited ALAC's bylaw-mandated scope by
> > excluding the interests of end-users.
> >
> > It is significant -- and very telling -- that the GNSO policy about working
> > with other constituencies was itself formed in isolation from these
> > constituencies. This was definitely an opportunity missed, but I won't lose
> > sleep over it. It's my understanding that the At-Large Community has always
> > been eager to participate in cross-community groups, but we will not have
> > the terms of that participation dictated to us.
> >
> > - Evan
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