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[ga] RE: [PRIVATE] Proposed GA Working Group on Domain Name Registration Systems


I personally favor the concept of working groups over the concept of
task forces that now seems to be prevalent in the DNSO. But this does
not mean that I believe that working groups have been particularly
successful to date.

In my opinion, the biggest flaw in the consensus development process is
that detailed processes and procedures have never been implemented to
provide the guidance needed to make the overall process work.  On this
list and in working group D some good starts were made in trying to
develop workable processes and procedures but unfortunately they have
never been finalized and implemented.  I believe that this should have
been the Names Council's primary objective.  Unfortunately, the Names
Council does not support my view.

I empathize with those who became very frustrated with the way working
groups functioned.   But instead of recognizing what I think is a root
cause, working groups were replaced with task forces.  I contend that
this was little more than an effort to avoid the challenges of true
consensus development and instead create a process that may on the
surface look like consensus but in fact involved a very small sample of
the overall community.  Task forces in some senses have appeared to be
more expedient but I don't think a strong case can be made that they
have been representative of the community at-large.

Part of the problem in my opinion is that many people view the NC as a
representative body and as such think that NC members have therefore
been elected to act as a legislative body, doing what they think best
for the community.  The ICANN Bylaws are clear that the NC is charged
with managing the consensus development process.  The most fundamental
step in fulfilling its mission is to develop and implement workable
processes and procedures for reaching out to all impacted parties in the
Internet community, identifying important issues, facilitating efforts
to try to reach consensus, ensuring documentation of the overall process
and results, and finally determining whether consensus was reached.
This has never happened in the DNSO nor is there any evidence that it

I am fully aware that what I am suggesting is a huge task that would
take a lot of time.  I also recognize that members of the NC are all
volunteers who all have full time jobs outside of the NC so they do not
have the time to adequately do what I am suggesting.  That is why VGRS
offered matching funds to allow the NC to hire full-time staff to lead
an effort to develop and implement consensus policies and procedures.
As you know, that effort went nowhere.

Three positions I strongly support with regard to consensus development
are: (1) voting can be used to get a sense of where people stand but it
should not be a primary means of developing consensus; (2) positions
should not be determined to be consensus positions unless there is
objective evidence that there has been legitimate efforts to reach out
to  as many impacted parties as possible and that there is a clear
explanation of the degree to which those who did participate in the
process are representative of major stakeholders: (3) it is okay if
consensus is not reached.  Regarding (1), it is okay to use a vote to
confirm whether or not final consensus is reached provided those voting
are truly representative of the broader population, but prior to that
the real consensus development process should involve identifying
conflicting views and then working together to find positions that all
parties are willing to support.  Regarding (2) positions advocated by a
small subset of the impacted population should not be viewed as
consensus even if there is unanimous consent by that small group.
Regarding (3) if consensus cannot be reached, that is not the end of the
world; there will be many (maybe most) cases where it will not be
possible to reach consensus but that is not a failure, it is an
indication that we should let market forces freely work without imposing

Now to Patrick's question.  I would support a GA working group under one
of two scenarios: (1) it operated under the basic guidelines I listed
above; (2) it operated as a small subset of the larger community and put
forth it's work as input into the broader community where a legitimate
consensus process was occurring.  Regarding the latter, I recognize that
the GA has little control over whether the NC would implement what I
think is a legitimate consensus process so I would have no problem with
the GA putting forth a recommendation as long as it is done so with a
clear explanation of who was represented.

My apologies for such a long post.  I fully understand that most of
these issues have been debated before and I am not sure it make sense to
debate them again.  I am probably too idealistic.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Patrick Corliss [mailto:patrick@quad.net.au]
> Sent: Monday, January 21, 2002 9:29 PM
> To: VeriSign, Chuck Gomes
> Cc: DPF; OpenSRS, Ross Wm. Rader
> Subject: Re: [PRIVATE] Proposed GA Working Group on Domain Name
> Registration Systems
> On Mon, 21 Jan 2002 08:28:32 -0500, Chuck Gomes wrote:
> > Patrick,
> >
> > Are you asking whether VGRS would support a working group on
> > registration systems? I don't understand what the taks of such a WG
> > would be, maybe because I have not been following this 
> discussion very
> > closely.
> Thanks for your reply.  Yes, basically, that's what I was asking.
> You may not have been following this particular discussion 
> very closely but
> you would be aware of my firm belief that the GA will never 
> achieve anything
> more than chat unless we have dedicated working groups on 
> topics of special
> interest.
> I have suggested that one such topic is that of registration 
> systems with a
> focus on expirations, deletions and transfers.  Ross Wm. 
> Rader considers this
> too broad in scope.
> My expectation is that VeriSign would not support such a 
> proposal because this
> could lead to criticism of their present approach which often 
> seems (to me, at
> least) to be non-consensual and even, perhaps, a little 
> arbitrary.  However,
> you may personally wish to see the development of some 
> genuine consensus.
> As members of the GA list continue to put up obstacles to 
> stop the formation
> of Working Groups on any subject, I find myself severely constrained.
> We are then left with an ineffective GA.  This suits many in ICANN.
> So let me ask you, Chuck and Ross, would you ever support a 
> Working Group of
> any sort?  If not, could you respond to the straw poll accordingly.
> If you would support a Working Group, would be be kind enough 
> to provide your
> views onlist as to how, and on what basis, you think a 
> Working Group shoud be
> constituted?
> I'd really appreciate some onlist feedback.  Thank you.
> Best regards
> Patrick Corliss


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