Re: [ga] observations from the peanut gallery
Sotiris Sotiropoulos wrote:
> Very well, we've come to a situation where each of us must reflect on the
> nature and purpose of our participation in the General Assembly. What exactly
> are we doing here?
Thank you, Sotiris. It is precisely for that reason, as stated by Socrates, that
must "Know Thyself." I've suggested that the General Assembly create for itself
its own web page, in which it could spell out what it was all about, and Danny
Younger was kind enough not only to support the idea but immediately to create
such a site. No matter that his content is different from what I had in mind -- my
idea being that the members of the GA should themselves express their own
concept and vision of what the GA is all about -- constrained, of course, by the
mandate that the DNSO is the Domain Name Supporting Organization, and the
GA is a part thereof. Just how is it, then, that the GA can provide such support?
It would be extremely helpful to all of us if those of a literary bent would speak
out, here, and tell us: "This is what the GA is, this is what we do, and this is
we do it." It is that kind of description that would not only tell the general
what the GA is, but would also help focus the thinking of the members, educate
new arrivals, and so on. I'd be very pleased to see such materials created here
on the ga list -- nothing could be more germane to the General Assembly as a
whole than that -- or sent to me privately, or however, with the assurance that
one way or the other, the essence of what derives therefrom will be posted for
all the world to see. (Having such synthesized a document at hand -- and I
don't plan to write any such document itself; I do enough keyboard pounding
as it is -- I would plan to work my way into the Best Practices protocol by
making the SUGGESTION that such document be accepted as the genuine
voice of the members of the GA on what the GA is all about.)
> I am not here to nitpick. I am unsure if a mandatory pigeon-holing is the
> answer (sounds like a rather Procrustean measure to me..). On the other hand,
> I do agree that the purpose of the GA is not therapeutic. As it stands, there
> are obviously disruptive influences which would impede the achievement of work
> in this assembly. One question I think we should ask is: Why? Aside from the
> common accusations, are there perhaps other reasons? Speaking for myself, I
> don't see a huge problem in subscribing to ga-rules for any discussion of
> assembly procedures. However, there is still the question of the rule-making
> mechanism, which remains in the minds of individuals who maintain their right
> to think for themselves. After all, this motion is not simply about moving
> the discussion from one place to another, or even limiting/suppressing it.
> This motion has much more to do with how the GA goes about making decisions,
> than is readily apparent. Since there is no clearly defined decision making
> process (or mechanism) in the GA, one can well understand how some people can
> have a problem with the whole matter (especially those darned democratic
That decision making process has had its first preview in the publicaton of Part I
of the Best Practices. At present, Joanna Lane and I are hammering the Flow
Chart into shape, and you may expect to see it by some time this weekend. (If
I have to, initially I'll scan it into a bit map image and post that, although it
be quite ugly. When my patent draftsman can get to it, he will then convert it
into a respectable looking .gif file, and these come out looking quite nice.)
that, there will be Explanations or Comments (the exact term there has not yet
been decided upon), along with the TIME LINE GUIDE, and whatever else
seems useful, especially including whatever else may be suggested to us.
> I think it is always better to encourage than to dictate. Therefore, I don't
> like the wording of the current "motion" that Patrick Corliss is championing.
> In addition, I recognize that the issue is not simply about "where do we talk
> about what", and I really don't see the harm in a public show of hands where
> an ISSUE has generated enough interest to stimulate an officially "unofficial"
> straw poll. In fact, I think we ought to sanction a vote procedure of one
> kind or another (specifically), as the stated decision-making
> procedure/mechanism of the GA.
That is what Best Practices will do.
> The current "rough consensus model of the
> IETF" cannot be applied to matters of policy.
That is eminently correct.
> The DNSO is not a body that
> deals with TECHNICAL issues, but rather, political and legal. Last time I
> checked, they still vote in democratic nations, both for elections and in
> juries. I am more than a little suspicious of ex cathedra decisions and
> motions. Chairs should not be pushing motions.
Chairs do not abandon their rights to do so just by accepting that office. Any
member of the GA could be a PROPONENT of anything that the GA is
willing to consider, I should think.
> So, although I understand the desire to move the motion forward (and I am
> desperately curious to see what the "substantive" issues to be henceforth
> discussed on the main GA list will be),
A pretty good list of major policy issues that are presently being ignored was
posted some time in the last week or so, but I don't recall exactly when, or by
> I wish to make it clear that all
> support for the current motion is through a VOTE COUNT and *not* consensus.
The word "consensus" I am afraid we are stuck with, since it's in our Bylaws. But
rather than haggle over technical definitions, it might be well for us to approach
instead the general spirit of what is meant rather than the inept language: "the
of the General Assembly have taken up an ISSUE, and from that have reached
general agreement on what ought to be done about it," by whatever means may be
employed to justify such a conclusion. The Best Practices will supply those
> Further, that it is a reckoning based on a small fraction of actual GA
> subscribers. I hope that in the future, there will be no opposition to such
> VOTE COUNTS from the current selection of YEA-sayers... Lastly, I wish to
> state for the record that the carrying of this motion through the current
> "process" will establish a precedent for the implementation of motions into
> rules via a VOTE of participants, pure and simple. My one follow-up question
> is: Assuming that there is opposition to this "motion", what would be the
> necessary margin of victory? 50+1? 67%? what exactly? Perhaps the Chair or
> Alt-Chair would care to respond?
Or maybe I would! :-)
There was a post earlier that was equating "democratic" with "plurality," i.e.,
50% + 1 vote. I would say instead that "democratic" refers to the process,
rather than the fine-tuned mathematics, and a key to that process is having
the voices of an "informed electorate" be heard. The Best Practices is
particularly dedicated to that "informed" aspect -- time for DISCUSSION
and DEBATE is provided, and I would hazard to predict the following: as
to any matter of substance that has gone through the Best Practices process,
there will be no VOTES in which such head counting will really matter: the
notion will either be so bad as to be rejected overwhelmingly, or in the
final analysis it will make so much sense that only the habitual naysayers
will have the nerve to speak out against it. In short, the question addresses
a situation that I don't believe is ever really going to happen. (Deciding
on matters of policy is not like electing U. S. Presidents.)
And finally, it is my earnest hope, at least, that when all those "lurkers"
out there are able to see the GA working in a systematic and directed
way towards the making of definitive decisions about substantive matters,
there may well be an increase in interest, as exhibited not only through
the appearance of posts from people we've not heard from before, but
also by an influx of people onto the voting rolls, and participation in
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