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Re: [ga] Consensus on consensus?

On Tue, 26 Mar 2002 DannyYounger@cs.com wrote:

> This begs the question... is it time to replace the consensus process?  If 
> so, how do we avoid establishing a structural model that relegates certain 
> groups automatically to minority status?

Let's break that down into a bit more detail.

I'd being by suggesting that the presence of minorities is not a bad thing 
in and of itself.

What is bad are systems in which one is assigned by some external metric 
or authority into a given voting bloc.  That is what I find troublesome 
with ICANN's notion of "stakeholders" - it is a simpleminded assignment of 
people/entities to a voting bloc (or to observer status) based on one 
external attribute.

To my mind, a better approach is to designate some "atomic unit" of voting
- I generally use the single individual as this atomic unit - and let
those units chose for themselves which other units they wish to be
associated on any particular issue.  In other words, I suggest that there
be no concept of "stakeholder" and instead there be simply the fluid and
free association (and dis-association) of people with one another based on
how each perceives his or her interests.

Thus someone may be in a minority on issue A and be in the majority on
issue B.  (For instance, despite my reputation as a dissident, I have been
in the majority on many, perhaps most, of the ICANN Board of Director
votes in which I have participated. ;-)

Fluid association is a system that encourages compromise - albeit perhaps
by its less felicitious name, politiking.

There are those who will object to what I am proposing.  They will assert 
that there entities, such as ISP's or DNS registries that have a greater 
"stake" in the decisions.

I don't agree with the assertion of "greater stake".  I do agree that
there are those with a more direct economic relationship - an ICANN
decision may have a very direct relationship with the income that a
registry receives.  But I don't see that as necessarily any greater
"stake" than the cumulative "stake" as measured by the indirect charges
that fall on those who use and pay for domain name services or even as
measured by the perceived "stability" of things like e-commerce by those
who merely use the Internet.

In addition we can look to our experience here in the United States, a
country in which the voters in most of our public elections are people and
not corporations or other collective entities.  Here in the US, despite 
the fact that the actual votes are in the hands of individual people, 
there is still no doubt that collective entities make their desires known.  
Indeed the problem is not that these collective entities are ignorred but, 
rather, that they have too much influence even though they do not 
themselves possess a vote.


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