[At-Large] [BMSPC-2020] Board seat 15 selection

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Fri Nov 22 11:20:27 UTC 2019

On Thu, 21 Nov 2019 at 17:08, <alberto at soto.net.ar> wrote:

> + 1 Maureen. Then we must redouble our efforts to achieve greater participation
> of ALSs and individual users.

No offence, Alberto, but this mantra of "of only we could get greater
participation from ALSs" has become a tiresome and self-defeating mantra of
At-Large leadership. After decades of failure of such strategy the standard
answer appears to be to keep trying the same thing, but nastier this time
(ALS metrics leading to disenfranchisement, for instance).

This strategy needs a thorough and total binning.

The original plan that ALSs would be the two-way conduit -- to ALAC of
policy and volunteers, and to the ALSs of information from which to provide
useful input -- is, with a very few exceptions, an utter failure. Most ALS
reps who are now involved (present company included) would be involved with
or without an ALS. We need an approach that maximizes or effectiveness and
addresses real shortcomings with (IMO) very different approaches:

   - 1) More use of At-Large support staff for policy research and
   development: There are just too few person hours for the volunteers to keep
   track of everything going on. It amazed me to know how many of ALAC staff
   have really useful skills here, some of whom even have PhDs in policy
   (hi Heidi!) yet spend their time in bureaucracy, politics and meetings
   logistics. Of course drawing ALAC staff to policy means ...

   - 2) More virtual meetings and less F2F. Yes there is some sacrifice,
   but I've been to enough ICANN meetings to see how poor a use of resources
   it is. The money spent so that ALAC can feel like the United Nations three
   times a year is just staggering. Virtual meeting technology is now good
   enough to suit many needs including multilingual issues, and timing doesn't
   have to sync with ICANN's schedule. I've just spent too much time at
   U-shaped tables listening to people who are there because of politics and
   like the sound of their own voices, It's unproductive and we can't afford
   to be unproductive with the few resources available. Speaking of resources
   -- less money spent sending people to meetings should lead to ...

   - 3) More money spent on independent public education, polling and
   research on global interests and needs from ICANN. Fifteen people in ALAC,
   most of whom are self-selected and well into ICANN culture, can easily
   lose track of what "the billions" need. We waste our time getting involved
   in the muck of traditional ICANN constituency politics when we need to be
   spending nearly all of our effort on just three things: (a) creating a
   better educated public (b) knowing what that public needs, and (c) advancing
   those needs at ICANN. That is the only way for ALAC to really fulfill its
   mandate of speaking for global end users, by knowing what they need
   rather than making ivory-tower guesses.

I may have said this before but not quite so specifically. For ALAC to be
relevant we have to overcome the "who the hell are you?" factor, and good
research obliterates that objection. Spending allocated funds in ways that
are not self-serving (such as travel) eliminates the perception as charity
case, with which the vested interests keep hitting us with year after year.

One thing we *do* know is that oncee more doubling down on decades-old
tactics ("if only we could get the ALSs to step up more") will not work.

- Evan
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