[ga] Working groups / drafting documents / straw polls
Please note that this is my final posting in the current working
group thread, and on the issue of open, on-list straw polls. (See
below for details.)
First of all: Working groups. All I can do is to re-iterate what I
have said before numerous times: If and when I believe that
something can be gained by moving discussions off the GA's main list
onto some sublist (possibly a newly-created on), I'll support this.
Currently, I don't see any actual benefits, and don't support moving
the discussion to a special-purpose list. (The benefits which have
been listed are mostly theoretical.)
Further procedural discussion of this is pointless.
However, please don't get me wrong: I do support the idea of
producing a GA consensus document on the deletion issue.
For such a document to be produced, consensus must exist. Currently,
I don't see it - beyond (as I wrote earlier) a general perception
that the actual WLS proposal is "bad" (but even that's not shared by
all - and no, I'm not talking about Snapnames and Verisign).
Now, unlike what Abel suggests, the chair is not the wizard with the
magic consensus spell. I can't produce consensus on the list: Only
you can. All of you - by discussion, and by persuading each other.
You'll most likely have to give up some positions on the way.
Until we have such consensus, all which can reasonably be done is to
document what kinds of arguments have been exchanged so far. That's
why I wrote in an earlier message that the best I can currently do
on this topic is to continue writing summaries.
You are certainly free to disagree with my interpretation of the
current discussion. You are also free (and encouraged!) to write
down what you believe should be the consensus of this general
assembly - maybe others agree and give up some of their positions.
That's why I asked Abel to write down what he considers consensus
points, and that's why I highly welcome Ross Rader's forward of the
registrars' requirement list on deleted domain handling. I'd also
welcome similar input from other constituencies.
Please note that such drafting is not automatically the chair's job:
In fact, on a working group, a very small set of individuals (two or
three, not necessarily including the chair) would be the drafting
group, and would be responsible for actually developping documents.
The same can be done on this list, and I'd really like to see some
of those as a drafting group who are currently demanding a working
group so loudly.
To put it into different words: What I've been proposing, and
continue to propose, is that, for the time being, the GA itself goes
into working group mode.
Now, a word on straw polls: In their current form, they are a waste
of the list readers' bandwidth and of your own posting quota. They
are certainly _not_ binding votes of the GA. They are, for these
reasons, a very bad idea.
Please stop them.
If you absolutely have to do a straw poll (which will ALWAYS be
non-binding, as opposed to a formal GA vote), do it like this:
- Make sure that the topic under discussion is appropriate for a
straw poll. In particular, anything for which, traditionally, the
GA voting registry is used, is not appropriate.
- Make sure that the choices you give are appropriate, precise, and
non-manipulative. For the purpose of a straw poll on creating a
FUBAR working group, the opposite of "I want this working group
now" should certainly NOT be: "Opposed to any sort of working
group however constituted", but "I don't want that this working
group is created now".
Give people an opportunity to comment on the questions before you
start taking votes. Make sure that your straw-poll is the only
one on the particular subject running at a time.
Note that manipulative straw polls always bear the risk of being
- Give a time frame for the straw poll.
- Collect answers via private, off-list e-mail. (This one's
- Publish a short and readable summary after the time frame set for
the straw poll is over. In this summary, include a full record of
who (include e-mail addresses!) voted how, so participants can
verify that their votes were counted correctly, and others can
challenge individual votes when they don't believe that someone
- Make sure that the conditions under which the straw poll happens
are known to participants.
That way, you avoid straw poll posting clutter on the list.
If you have a straw poll which follows the above guidelines, and is
not just abuse of everyone's time and bandwidth, you can also send
it to me so I post it with a "GA chair" rubber stamp.
(And, no, I'm not going to post a "ga-wg-deletes" straw poll.)
Thomas Roessler http://log.does-not-exist.org/
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