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[ga] Blending Top-down and Bottoms-up

If it were announced tomorrow that the Names Council had created a number of
formal working groups to deal with the topics of:

1. UDRP (Working Group G)
2. Dot ORG (Working Group H)
3. Roots (Working Group I)
4. DNSO Review (Working Group J)
5. Privacy/WHOIS (Working Group K)
6. At-Large (Working Group L)

I seriously doubt that I would be hearing the argument that these working
groups should not have their own lists, nor would I be hearing that it would
be preferable if all the work were conducted on the main GA list, nor would
I be hearing that there are too many working groups and that it is too

Instead, I would probably note a large number of participants rushing to
become part of the process.  As long as our "management" (the Names Council)
organizes the working groups, appoints the Chairs or Liaisons, establishes
the Terms-of-Reference, sets the Timeline, and drafts the Conclusions, then
we are eagerly willing to participate...

but if asked to self-organize, to take our own General Assembly lists and
turn them into research committees, the equivalent of productive working
groups, we fail.   We have a list devoted to ROOTS that has generated over
700 comments so far, but do we have one single substantive document that has
emerged?  Do we have any self-organized bottoms-up leadership?  Of course
not.  Who in their right mind would willingly want to become a target for
the relentless abuse that has characterized this Assembly?  It is no wonder
that calls for volunteers to head up these committees have gone unheeded.

We have become so comfortable with the notion that it is appropriate to be
constantly attacking our leadership and challenging the decisions of our
leadership, that we fail to recognize the deleterious consequences of our

Perhaps we are not capable of effective bottoms-up self-organization,
perhaps like other groups of individuals that have struggled for years and
still have not be able to raise funding for their respective membership
efforts, we are destined to remain nothing more than another chat-room for
domain name policy (one of many).  We can certainly continue in this fashion
for years to come, knowing that through this process those that monitor
these lists (Vint Cerf, Stuart Lynn, Karl Auerbach and others) can get a
sense of the public mood.  Perhaps being a "barometer" is all we are capable
of achieving.  But I have higher hopes for this Assembly.

It is my opinion that what is needed is a structure by which list/committee
efforts can be properly organized.  We have a need for Terms-of-Reference,
for Timelines for preliminary reports and feedback, for Final Reports and a
vote by the entirety of the General Assembly on the work-product that has
been put forth; we have a need for the equivalent of a Task Force or an
ExCom to direct list activities.

The new lists are admittedly an experiment.  Let's experiment a little
longer to see if we can achieve meaningful results.  One of the major issues
that we must confront is the inevitable restructuring of ICANN.  Notes from
the last Board meeting make it eminently clear that the ALSC will be
providing recommendations to the ICANN Board for an overall restructuring -
their mission has gone far beyond a mere "clean-sheet" study of the

"Cohen: Recall deal in Cairo that ALSC would examine structure of ICANN as a
whole. Recommend that we consider this in Montevideo. Look for legitimacy
and reasonableness."

We can contribute to this effort, much like the Boston Working Group and
others contributed to the development of ICANN's formative structure.  Our
Alternate Chair has argued that the venue for such discussion should be on
our GA-ICANN list, and I will accept this recommendation.  What is needed
now, in my opinion, is a small group to organize the effort for the benefit
of all current and future participants.

As many are reticent to volunteer, I will therefore appoint the following
people to this Organizing Committee (they are of course at liberty to
decline such an appointment):

1. Sotiris Souteropolis
2. William Walsh
3. Jefsey Morphin
4. Marilyn Cade
5. Eric Dierker
6. Leah Gallegos
7. Joop Teenstra
8. Bret Fausett
9. Joanna Lane

It is my hope that this group can elect their own Chair, establish Terms-of
Reference, Timelines, and collect sufficient background documents to rapidly
educate those of us new to the process.  After this group finishes its
preliminary work, the rest of us may then better participate in a formally
structured environment.   What I hope for ultimately is a consensus-based
report to emerge at least as thorough as the recent interim NAIS
presentation, and supported by documented outreach to all of our
constituencies.  The future of the General Assembly, the At-Large, and ICANN
may well be determined by the bottoms-up collective consensus view.  I ask
you to accept this challenge, to create a new model for participation, and
to lead us into a new future.

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