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Re: [ga] policy-making options

Hello Thomas,

the options list is most helpful! 

Thomas Roessler <roessler@does-not-exist.org> wrote (quotes reformatted):
>In order to add a bit more structure to the discussion on policy-making, here are a couple of parameters by which policy-making can be "tuned", or by which different options may be characterized.  Note that "working group" and "task force" are mostly used interchangeably in what follows:
> - Composition of working group: Same for all topics at a given time
>   (<=> names council or board does everything itself); appointed by
>   council or board (strict task force model; committees as used by
>   board); appointed by stakeholder groups (loose task force model);
>   self-selected (working group model).

Some pros and cons:

Same for all topics at a given time
 - high risk of excluding concerned groups
 - huge individual workload
 - not every group member can be an expert for every topic
 - if done on board level: no checks/balances
 + continuity
 + limited, workable group size

direct appointment/strict task force model
 - risk of excluding concerned groups
 + group members (at least in theory) chosen by expertise
 + workload more evenly distributed
 + limited, workable group size

indirect appointment/loose task force model
 + less risk of excluding concerned groups
 + group members (at least in theory) chosen by expertise
 + workload more evenly distributed
 + limited, workable group size

open working group model
 - may result in too large groups
 - working group (and its proposals) may be dismissed as self-selected
 + little risk of excluding concerned groups or individuals
 + workload can be distributed well

> - Communication with public while work is going on: Listen-only plus
>   behind-the-curtain discussions with groups perceived important
>   (board; board committees); active outreach (some of the current
>   task forces; counterexample: dot-org; it may be argued that
>   dot-org registrant representation was lacking; outreach should
>   include _exchange_ of views and arguments); outreach built into
>   self-selected membership (working group model).

Listen-only plus behind-the-curtain dicussions
 - intransparent process
 - privileges powerful groups with close contacts to e.g. board
 - decisions may face (surprising amounts of) criticism
 + not very costly ;)
Active outreach
 + more transparency by actively collecting input
 + depending on method, more informed input
 - active outreach leads to follow-up work
 - quality of responses may vary considerably
   which may make weighting difficult

Outreach built into WG membership
 + exchange of views possible
 - may additionally favour WG members which are eloquent
   and permanently online
 + high level of transparency
 - may not reach out to all groups
 - probably better suited for individuals than groups (?)
(Obviously, adding the + and - is not sufficient.)

>   Additional options (orthogonal): Public archives of discussions;
>   dedicated comment periods.
> - Interaction with the board: Through intermediate body (DNSO
>   process via names council; may or may not have power to modify
>   input from WG); directly (board committees).

This is perhaps the most interesting question. Do intermediate 
bodies refine the policies and work as a checks-and-balances 
system -- or do they blur responsibilities, alter the bottom-up
nature of the process and create a superfluous layer inbetween?
(Both probably?)

>  Additional options (orthogonal to that):
>  * Output may be considered binding/non-binding/almost-binding.

If the output of the task force is considered binding for
all bodies, there is no need for other bodies. If it is
considered non-binding, there is little need for the task
force. I think that an overall oversight is needed, and
it's hard to imagine any (public or private) corporation
without some form of intervention/review to make sure the
policies are at least not contradicting themselves, too costly
and follow the procedures properly. Operationalizing "almost 
binding" could mean to require some sort of supermajority 
to turn down a policy developed in accordance with the 

>  * Board may interact with TF while work is going on.  Similar to
>    relationship between public and WG.

The task forces/working groups need some way of communicating
and explaining their findings to the Board, I think -- probably
during the work, definitely when the final results are ready.
It's not only about misunderstandings (deliberate or not),
but the Board may also be interested in specific aspects which
the TF/WG only mentions briefly. 

>One thing which should be kept in mind while thinking about these options is that different circles of stakeholders may imply the need for different mechanisms.  What is appropriate for consensus-building in the PSO concerning their policy area may be entirely inappropriate for the DNSO (or its successor), or for a ccSO.  Also, cross-SO discussions may require a process different from discussions within individual SOs.

Very much agreed, and I think /we/ should look for solutions which
are appropriate for (gTLD) domain name policy development
and cross-policy/ICANN overall issues. It's highly unlikely that 
the appropriate solution for gTLD names is also ideal for WAVE 
and AVI Codec numbering (should it ever become controversial).

Best regards,
/// Alexander

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