[At-Large] ICANN's response to IANA Transition negative propaganda

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Fri Sep 9 20:25:26 UTC 2016

Thanks for the link, Alan. Unfortunately, it's not just the banner that's
bland; this is utterly useless.

First, it uses mushy, ill-defined elite-targeted language, starting with
the title. What the heck is "stewardship"? ICANN already has a Board that
provided the stewardship (ie, develop mission and hires staff to execute).
That Board is not going away.

This whole mess is about transition of OVERSIGHT: who watches the asylum to
ensure that the inmates don't cause public harm?

In any case, the moment you use the term "Internet governance", you've
already lost any reader who doesn't already know what's going on. This is
more of the same old stuff, written in the same language to the same
audience for which ICANN has always written. Apparently now run by its
legal department, ICANN appears culturally incapable of using street
language to even describe what it does (while its opponents, adept at
opinion manipulation, have found ICANN to be a very "soft target" in this

And finally, the FAQ format itself is a decade too late. At this point
there are opinions to be changed and myths to be busted, but no longer do
people have questions to be answered. As Alan says, there is negative
propaganda to be countered, but we're well past the time at which ICANN was
able to have any control over the story.

ICANN is beyond merely needing to be informative. It must, to use the
military terminology, "win hearts and minds" of those who care about how
the Internet is run. This meek attempt at an FAQ wasn't worth the effort.
If ever ICANN had an advertising budget, now would be the time to use it --
but not using THIS response.

- Evan

PS: if this response comes across as somewhat bitter as well as just
critical, there is a reason. ICANN has always had(*) a massive problem
communicating with the world-at-large. Yet its own community that (does its
best to) speak for that community WAS NEVER CONSULTED before these
miserable attempts at communications were done. I'm complaining after the
fact because our community was never asked for feedback before this heap of
garbage was published. What is supposed to be ICANN's great advantage
(multi-stakeholderism) turns out to be a weakness because ICANN is
completely out of touch with that portion of the stakeholders who don't
earn it money.

(*) ICANN briefly had the capacity to fix this, but after a brief
flirtation with sanity let go the one staffer who had both the ability and
the initiative in this field.

On 9 September 2016 at 20:53, Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>

> ICANN has finally attempted a response to the negative transition
> propaganda:
> https://www.icann.org/iana-stewardship-questions, linked from a rather
> bland banner on the ICANN home page.
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