[At-Large] R: Weekly posting summary for at-large at atlarge-lists.icann.org

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Fri Jan 31 18:55:09 UTC 2014

On 01/31/2014 10:00 AM, Roberto Gaetano wrote:
> I'll let Thomas answer more authoritatively to this question, but for the
> completeness of information I would like to add a historic point of view.
> Once upon a time, there was the General Assembly list (GA).

I receive several of the "weekly posting" emails for various lists that
I'm on.

I tolerate them, but only after grumbling (not only about the posting
summaries but also that I no longer have recourse to procmail to sort
and preprocess my incoming mail.)

I don't see any positive value in the weekly summaries: we all know who
are the most chatty people on our various mailing lists, so the
summaries seem redundant.

And they strike me as a kind of socially negative mark that is often
glued onto those who may be trying to discuss an issue and understand
the nuances.

I've often ended up high on those lists - That's because I am a person
who realizes that I am often lacking in knowledge and that my initial
opinions are fully or partially wrong.  So I try to ask questions (which
are often disguised as assertions made in hope of eliciting clarifying
responses).  Because human languages are ambiguous this process of
questioning often requires several email exchanges - which may look like
arguments.  These exchanges sometimes annoy those who like to wrap
things up in a single round.

As for the GA vs the ALAC:

The GA had energy because it was a flat structure not impeded by
top-down imposed structures, rules of entry, or Byzantine procedures.

As for quality of discourse:

One of our problems in this era of faceless electronic communications is
that we often have not met face to face.  So when we chat online we are
too likely, intentionally or not, to be perceived as excessively aggressive.

Sometimes that perception is due to cultural differences - For example,
we Americans tend to use language "hard as cannon balls" and we suffer
the consequences when we inadvertently bruise our peers from cultures
that use more indirect forms of discourse.  The reverse is also true -
Americans tend to wrongly perceive indirect and softer discourse as a
kind of passive-agressive behaviour.

But sometimes, and perhaps more often, we simply are rude because we do
not appreciate that there is a real person at the other side of the screen.

As for the Jeff Williams factor:

I wonder what has happened to him.  Some of us actually spoke to him on
the phone.  My own experience was that if I treated him as a person that
he responded in kind.  I also discovered that despite the amount of
noise that there sometimes was a nugget of value; but I do admit that
the ore was not rich with those nuggets and it took a lot of work to
find them.


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