[At-Large] Fwd: Re: [Chapter-delegates] New version of ICANN At-Large Review - ISOC Chapters role and future

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Mon Feb 6 21:12:38 UTC 2017

On 2/5/17 1:39 PM, Olivier MJ Crepin-Leblond wrote:

I want to take strong issue with certain words:
> ... the Review asks for a return to an
> unstable, free for all, system based only on individual members speaking
> for themselves only, a system that was shown to fail miserably as it
> generates conflict with no safeguards whatsoever and favours those with
> a bigger mouth than anyone else. The ICANN version 1 experiment failed
> noticeably in the early 2000s, with ballot stuffing in wide practice and
> mailing lists that were filled with flame wars fuelled by socio-paths.
I have a rather different point of view.

I see the year 2000 elections as having been very successful (despite me 
winning the North American seat.  ;-)

These were not unstable processes, they were not a free for all.

And yes, individual members did speak for themselves.  What is wrong 
with that?  Is it worse than the present ICANN system in which many 
people get amplified power by acting under the guise of multiple 
stakeholder roles?

Did it fail miserably?  To the contrary.  In the main I would say that 
the directors who filled those five seats were among the best that ICANN 
has ever had.

Was there conflict?  Yes.  But may I suggest that the better word is 
"debate'.  Electronic debate is, unfortunately, a world in which 
etiquette an softness of expression has been lost.  I, too, regret that 
loss. My cures for that are tri-fold: more face-to-face contact (it's 
hard to be as rude to a person one has met), tolerance of poorly formed 
expressions from others, and more care to speak only as strong as is 
necessary in order to make sure that an intended point is made.  This 
issue is amplified by cultural differences - we Americans, for example, 
tend to speak more strongly and directly than do others from cultures 
that put greater weight on indirect expression.

"ballot stuffing"?  I think you are referring to the fact that in some 
of the regions corporate and national actors tried to induce employees 
to vote in certain ways.  Perhaps that happened, but that might be 
called "persuasion" rather than "ballot stuffing".  And that was 
certainly not what happened in the North America region - indeed in N. 
America the intellectual property industry candidate did rather poorly.  
And the remedy for fears of excessive persuasion have historically been 
to increase voter privacy and anonymity, not erasing the use of elections.

Were there "safeguards"?  Of course there were.  At the end of the 
debate ICANN's board voted and decisions were made.  That is a rather 
significant "safeguard".

I do not know what you were meaning to say about those with "bigger 
mouth".  There certainly were loud moths during that era - no less than 
today.  And they were richly favored.  But those mouths and favored 
recipients were not those who participated in the individual election 
process.  (I think we all can draw up lists of those who profited over 
the years through ICANN - and I'd be surprised if any of our lists 
included loud voices among the individual voters of year 2000.)

Discussion was not among socio-paths.  I do admit we do have people, 
then and now, who argue their points with excessive personal abuse. 
There were one or two people who we came to understand were a bit off 
kilter - the famous Jeff Williams for example (however, I spoke to him 
on the phone several times and in that mode he was actually somewhat 
rational.  ;-)   However, his presence, and the presence of others like 
him, is just part of our world, not an aspect of a system of decision 
making based on individuals casting votes.

On the other hand discussion then was among a larger number of people 
than those who participate today.   It seems also that more of the 
meetings then were face-to-face.  And in my region there was a 
continuous dialog - online, telephone, email, and physical meeting - 
between our regions director (me) and the community.  In my own case I 
made sure to keep the channels open in both ways by maintaining an open 
diary of my ICANN decisions (which is still on-line.)

There were some difficulties during the year 2000 election, particularly 
in the voter registration system.  Those difficulties were enhanced by 
ICANN through ineptness, and perhaps more.  Those difficulties would 
have been easily cured had the process not been cast aside and never 
allowed to continue.

I do not understand the persistence of the hysterical faux, almost 
defamatory, characterizations of the year 2000 ICANN election and the 
acts of those who held the directors' seats as a result.

I, speaking as an individual - strongly believe that ICANN should return 
to a system based in the individual franchise.  I strongly believe that 
ICANN should return to the original promise that a majority of director 
seats would be filled by the public.

I do not see the ALAC system as a success.  The ALAC system has had 
nearly 15 years to grow.  Yet even with funding from ICANN and the 
support of about eight full-time ICANN staff, the ALAC has not yet 
reached the vibrancy or size that the open electoral system reached in 
year 2000 in a couple of months.  And I perceive that because of the 
ALACs near-byzantine complexity that its power has been reduced to a 
degree that it has no prime-mover role in the making of of ICANN policy; 
that the ALAC has been reduced to a role in which it sits by as the 
house is designed by others and is left to comment on minor matters such 
as whether the paint color on the trim is to be robin's egg blue or sky 


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