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

CW Mail mail at christopherwilkinson.eu
Sun Feb 12 19:51:39 UTC 2017

Dear Karl, Dear Olivier:

I have read your comments. Thankyou. Even at this distance in  time, I do recall aspects of the 2000 elections, although I do not share either Olivier's disparagement nor Karl's optimism. 
(In the event I did vote as an individual member, albeit for an unsuccessful candidate.)

As things stand at present, the main point must be that the Review's EMM proposal is not a good option. It is a half-way-house that would quickly satisfy no one.
ICANN will have to decide whether we now accept the prospect of large numbers of individual members with appropriate representation on the Board.
Individual members of At Large who are then denied full participation as members of ICANN would become an inherently unstable situation.

Meanwhile there are several ways to improve on At Large and ALAC, some of which have been identified in the Review report.

In the 2003 reform of ICANN, the Board members elected by individual members were not replaced by At Large, they were replaced by Directors appointed by the Nominating Committee.
In recent years, successive Nominating Committees appear to have lost sight of their obligation to appoint fully independent representatives of the interests of individual Internet users, world wide.
The membership of NomCom should be reviewed with this in view.

Thus, in the short term the issue is not reform of At Large, but reform of NomCom. Even more so today since NomCom has acquired additional responsibilities for PTI etc.

In the longer term, I would not be against an individual membership model for ICANN, but that would have to go with strong internal rules that guaranteed global balance and diversity, which would not be straightforward, indeed probably quite difficult. 



On 06 Feb 2017, at 22:12, Karl Auerbach <karl at cavebear.com> wrote:

> 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 blue.
>            --karl--
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