[At-Large] Multistakeholderism Explained (was Re: ICANN75: Mandatory Funded Traveler Registration for Roberto Gaetano)

Karl Auerbach karl at cavebear.com
Tue Aug 2 01:02:48 UTC 2022

First, I agree with Evan L. that one physical meeting a year would be a 
good thing.  DNS names are slowly fading from popular view; consequently 
ICANN's footprint is diminishing (despite attempts by the corporation to 
expand into new areas.)  And in this era of viral risks, bouncing 
economics, miserable travel ('cept for those with their own G6 or 400' 
yacht), and brinkmanship politics people are worn out and their purses 
are getting light.

However, it does seem that those of like mind (or better yet, of 
compromising/inventive mind) ought to gather of their own accord and 
means; there is no need to wait for Mother ICANN to call people to 
meet.  For decades, ever since before ICANN came into being, a small 
group of us, the Boston Working Group (BWG), have chatted and sometimes 
have physically met, to express and perhaps work out differences, share 
ideas.  There is no reason why arbitrary groups interested in ICANN 
matters can not do that and afterwords present the results of their 
work, which would be all the more compelling because of the weight of 
their distillation of thoughtful discourse.

Second, regarding Antony V.C.'s comment about the ALAC - and the ICANN 
interested public in general - speaking with one voice.  It could.  And 
that voice ought to carry the weight of a steel driving sledge in the 
hands of John Henry.  But it does not.

And why not?  Because ICANN has drowned that public voice under the 
diluting force of stakeholderism (multi or not).

ICANN's non-public "stakeholders" are pre-formed, much like a 
MacDonald's "chicken" MacNugget is forged out of similar parts into a 
single entity.  In the case of MacNuggets, the pieces are arguably all 
from chickens.  In ICANN the pieces are put into pigeonholes on the 
basis of economic interest or type of business - trademark owners go 
here, domain name registries go there - And each of those "stakeholder" 
groups, in the ICANN universe, gets a voice that paraphrase Bob Dylan's 
words, does not merely talk, it swears, it screams, at volume level 11.  
It's no wonder that the voice of the public is drowned out and not heard.

One piece of the theory of democracy is that every person is a cauldron 
of competing interests that seethe, fight, and blend. Only each person 
can speak as to the result of that process.  That is why each person 
gets one vote.

Stakeholderism, however, follows another track, a track that, to my 
mind, that is unstable and that ultimately degrades into governance by 
most affluent.

To my mind stakerholderism based decision making is like asking me what 
I'd like to do next Saturday night.  My left leg might respond "we 
should go the the Ibis on Lake Como" while my right leg might say 
"there's a beach party at Cabo, let's go!" and my arms might say "but we 
have great tickets for Twelfth Night in Santa Cruz!"  That's not going 
to lead to good decisions or a peaceful acceptance of whatever does 
burble out of that chaos.

Ultimately all of ICANN's commercial "stakeholders" are composed of 
people - corporations are composed of people, bodies of lawyers are 
composed of people.  Those people are totally free to join ALAC (or the 
public voice of those interested in ICANN) and express their points of 
view - the sum of their interests - as their one individual and single vote.

Commercial interests need no encouragement from ICANN to form aggregates 
- they will do so of their own accord and interest. There is no need for 
ICANN to help or to pre-recognize and award those aggregates with a 
voice in addition to that of their individual human members.


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