[At-Large] Public Board Meeting - the Update for Prague

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Thu May 10 18:47:22 UTC 2012

On 05/09/2012 01:31 PM, Roberto Gaetano wrote:

> ...I disagree with Karl when he regards the
> way ICANN meeting are conducted (face-to-face rotating in different
> parts of the worrld) as useless. Quite the contrary, I believe that
> we should move towards having more interaction with the internet
> community worldwide...

That's not quite what I said (or if I did say it, it wasn't what I meant).

The point is that ICANN spends its week long meetings on stuff that
could occur separately.

The real thing that needs to occur at these meetings is exactly what you
want - conversations, by which I mean two way exchanges - between the
community of internet community and the decisionmakers in ICANN, mainly
the members of the board or staff members who have discretionary powers
to make choices.

I do not buy the logic that the board is too pressed for time that they
can't have long conversations, en banc, with the community.  The problem
is that ICANN does not manage its staff to prepare matters sufficiently
in advance and leaves it to "the night before".  That is simply sloppy
management of staff and reflects poorly on ICANN's executive management
and the board's oversight of that management.

When I was on that board I felt that it was part of my role to actively
engage with the community - which is why during the weekly meetings I
sat in public places to encourage easy conversations; which is why I
kept a rather public diary of my decisions - for which I got a lot of
very negative push back from other board members; and which is why I
asked questions and follow-up questions during board meetings - again
for which I frequently received negative push back.

ICANN's decision makers spend too much time listening and not enough
time asking.  The issues that face us are not perfectly well articulated
and it is often through interaction that the real agreements and
disagreements are revealed and solutions become apparent.

For this reason I would like ICANN to vastly expand its board-public
interface so that its meetings comprise days, not hours, of
back-forth-conversations between the community and the board members
separately and the board as a body.

And when I say "back-forth" or "conversational" I really mean it - the
board and executive ICANN staff ought to make serious efforts to be
active participants in a two-say dialog rather than silent statues on a
dais who may be listening, maybe not, who may be understanding, maybe not.

Moreover, in these days of electronics and cheap memory there is no
reason - except fear of being heard - for ICANN not to put a full
audio/video recording of *every* meeting of the board and board
committee except for those matters that a majority of the board, in
public, agrees are related to personnel matters, contract negotiation,
or ongoing or reasonably anticipated specific litigation.

Most of week-long meetings is spent in matters that are among
special-interest groups and could be held elsewhere or on their own
time; in fact it would be good if they were held more than a week in
advance so that any results of those meetings could be properly packaged
so that their contents could be properly digested by the time the
plenary meetings were held.

If the rationale for the traveling meetings is to engage the local
community of internet users than it stands to reason that those groups
that show up every time - by which I mean the often rather well heeled
registry/registrar, trademark, and similar groups - ought to receive
less emphasis and the time thus recovered be dedicated to interaction
with those who are not world jet-setting travelers.


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