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Re: [ga] Comments from Pawlo

On Wed, 19 Jan 2000, Mikael Pawlo wrote:

> Comments to suggestion posted at:
> http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/ga/Arc03/msg00447.html
> >Not indulging in personal attacks, insults or slander
> Define this.

> >Not using offensive language
> Define this.

Use common sense. You'll find that courts often apply a "reasonable
person" litmus test("would a resonable person do/believe/say X")  to
situations. Attempting to define a comprehensive definition of every
possible permutation of insult, slur, slander, or combination of words
that consitute an "attack" would be quite impossible, consuming from now
until eternity and would still be incomplete. Situations need to be taken
on a case-by-case basis, which is why I agree with you and believe that
there should at all times be a three person committee(to avoid "ties")
rather than a single "Sergent-at-Arms."

I also am strongly in favor of such a committee being elected by the
GA, and not *chosen* by any individual, the Names Council, etc. if the GA
is truly supposed to be governed in a "bottom-up" fashion, a concept which
to date has been shamefully absent in all aspects of ICANN. 

I have seen a similar Sergeant-at-arms approach work with great success on
the ORSC mailing list. Conversations were civil, the infrequent violations
were addressed in an open, responsible, and equitable fashion.  

> Maybe the SAA should have a more free role from the GA Chair, hence maybe
> the SAA should be choosen by the list subscribers.

Completely agreed.
> I suggest there be only one (1) sanction, that is suspension. If the
> sanction is needed suspension is a fair punishment, monitoring
> (censorship) does not make sense.

If the behaviour which resulted in the suspension is continued on the
unfiltered list it makes complete sense to consider continued poor
behaviour. What I would suggest rather than "monitoring" which can be a
laborious and time-consuming process for what will I believe be
volunteers is to post a message near the end of the term of an individuals
censure, stating that they will be readmitted to the list, and ask that
anyone with objections contact the SAA(s) privately with evidence
of specific posts/actions occuring after the beginning of the censure
period warranting ongoing/further sanctions. The object of the complaint
should of course be allowed to see the contents of any charges or
objections to re-admittance leveled against them.    
> >Both sanctions are imposed for a limited period of time (typically 2
> >weeks), and are announced on the mailing list.
> Sanction time should be more clearly defined. I say 7 days for first-time
> offenders and 14 days if the same individual repeat an offense.

So every 14 days, the few disruptive individuals present get to hop on,
be disruptive and insulting, with the opportunity to repeat such
actions in another 14 days in perpetuity? No thanks. 

I'd suggest an exponential suspension period, starting with 2
days(2,4,16,32....) This, combined with some sort of member
verification&anti-spoofing will quickly rid the list of the
purposefully disruptive individuals while offering ample opportunity to
those who may choose to behave when it becomes exponentially "expensive"
in terms of suspension length to do so. I like this approach as no one is
ever "permanently" banned from the lists, yet it ensures that list members
not need be subjected to the activities of the pathologically disruptive
and insulting on a consistent and regular basis. Plus calculating
exponents is much more fun.. ;-) 

If this is seen as too difficult to keep track of my second choice would
be 7 days, 14 days, one month, and finally permanent suspension.
In no case should an individual exhibiting a repeated pattern of
disruptive behaviour be allowed access to the filtered list on a regularly
re-occurring basis. 

The exception to either tiered suspension period should come only as 
a result of individual(s) purposefully engaging in Denial-of-Service
type attacks in which case I believe a permanent ban to be completely
appropriate due to the premeditated and destructive nature of such
attacks. As with insults and vulgarity, this merely requires one use
a little common sense in determining what constitutes a denial-of-service

> >The period is decided by the sergeant-at-arms.
> No, the period is fixed as suggested above.

Agreed. Arbitrary behaviour should never be permissable, the sole
exception being in cases where an individuals behaviour jepordizes the
functionality of the GA lists/servers itself as in the case of
Denial-of-Service attacks against the mail server, etc.

> >The action of the sergeant-at-arms may be appealed to the GA Chair.
> No. Three SAAs are choosen in majority election by the list members. If
> the member who's been punished by a SAA wants to appeal, he'll make his
> appeal to the SAA appeal board. The SAA appeal board will consist of the
> two SAAs who did not make the decision and of one randomly choosen list
> member. The SAA appeal board will make a final decision on the matter.

I'd take a somewhat different approach, requiring a vote among all three
SAA's in order to effect a suspension. I don't believe a single person
should have the authority to make the decision to suspend, and guarantee
you that your proposal would result in every suspension being immediately
appealed. What I'd suggest as an equitable answer to balancing the need to
offer an appeals process vs. people making unwarranted appeals, is by
simply requiring that anyone wishing to appeal garner a modicum of support
for such an appeal from the membership, say 5 or 10 members, and pending
such support that a vote of the membership be taken. This approach serves 
three purposes:

   a) Helps to diminish the effects of a potentially arbitrary or biased 
      decision by a single SAA. 

   b) Prevents baseless appeals from individuals simply attempting to 
      drag the process out or with the purpose of increasing 
      administrative "costs" tangible or intangible in handling such
      an appeal. 

   c) Anyone actually suspended unreasonably should easily be able
      to receive sufficient support from list members for an appeal to the

In the context of the GA, short of hiring arbitrators/non-involved parties to 
perform this function, the most equitable appeals mechanism is one where
as many individuals comprising the membership as feasibly possible are 
offered the ability to make the final decision rather than a 
selected/elected party(ies.)

While I disagree strongly with certain provisions, I appreciate Harald's
intent and effort in putting together a "straw-man" proposal allowing
everyone to have a single document to attempt to reach consensus around
and improve upon. 

Thanks Harald.

                               Patrick Greenwell
                       Earth is a single point of failure.