[registrars] Policy Development
I just wanted to add some additional clarification to the WLS confusion. In
part, most of the confusion can be attributed to the flawed policy
mechanisms that have paralyzed the current embodiment of ICANN and which
hopefully will be resolved in the ICANN Evolution and Reform process.
As with the Transfer and WLS proposals, the registrars discussed, drafted
and voted upon specific recommendations in connection with each. Without
discussing the merits of these issues individually or collectively, the end
result has been that they have both been deemed policy related and thus
subject to the current DNSO Names Council quagmire.
My main concern about the current DNSO is that it is not fully
representative, subject to capture, and is primarily designed to reward
inaction instead of action. For those of you that may not be aware, the
Registrar Constituency is one of seven constituencies that form the DNSO.
Each constituency has three representatives that sit on a Names Council.
Each Constituency is required to pay dues to support the Names Council. The
Registrars are one of the few constituencies that has made every payment
since its inception. But my biggest problem with the current Names Council
and its Task Force approach is that it has a way of taking Filet Mignon and
pureeing it into baby food. The result is a bland non-descript document that
provides minimum or no guidance to the Board.
Rick Wesson has chaired the WLS issue since it was first formally introduced
to the Constituency. There were two documents that the constituency voted
on. These documents were then forwarded to the Names Council which decided
to merge the WLS into the Transfer's Task Force. Now the fact that the
Transfer's issue was first raised in the Spring of 2000 in Melbourne and is
no closer to resolution is another story for a different email. At that
time, the Registrar Executive Committee provided instructions to Ross Rader
to use the two documents that were voted out of the Constituency as guidance
in advocating our position.
The Names Council WLS/Transfer Task Force released a document right before
the Bucharest meeting. This document was presented to the Constituency
during our meeting by Ross Rader. There was a discussion and a straw poll
taken among those registrars in attendance. I then asked Tim to post a
ballot to the Registrar list for those registrars not in attendance to
provide their feedback. This was documented in my email to the registrar
mailing list on 6/26.
One of the things that will have to be addressed in our new by-laws in
connection with current reform process is how we instruct our Names Council
representatives to vote on Names Council issues. Right now they must consult
with the constituency but there is no guidance on how they must vote. To
highlight this short coming consider the following.
If the constituency was to vote and there was clear consensus on a issue,
i.e. 80% or greater of the members supported a position then all three Names
Council representatives should clearly be required to vote in a block.
However, in the case in which there is not consensus in the constituency,
only a simple majority we have no guidelines for our Names Council
representatives. This poses a potential problem. Should all three Names
Council representatives be required to vote as a block if there is only
simple majority or should the votes be weighted. Complicating matters
further is how to account for modifications in a proposal incorporated in by
the Task Force and not fully considered by the constituency.
Although I have recused myself from the WLS issue, I have a strong
objections on potential anti-trust grounds of this constituency voting on
anything that recommends/discusses a price. People go to jail for anti-trust
violations. And as the TUCOWS litigation posted today and the ongoing VRSN
litigation demonstrates, times are a changing.
Therefore, after the Names Council posts the new WLS Report, there will be a
10 day comment period. After the comment period there will be a vote among
the Names Council representatives. We as a constituency need to decide how
to instruct our representatives (Stubbs, Tonkin & Grabensee) to vote. After
this vote the report will then be forward to the Board for a final vote.
I hope this little exercise demonstrates the current flawed consensus policy
Now turning to the future.
One of the issues on reform that both Registrars and Registries appear to
agree on is the need for providers (registrars and registries) to have a
mechanism to resolve contractual issues outside of the policy process in a
timely fashion. The Blueprint has taken some important steps by trying to
provide guidance as to what is and what is not policy. There also appears to
be support among providers about getting their proposals to the Board
without the other constituencies materially altering them. This does not
mean that other constituencies would not be able to comment on a specific
proposal/report. It only guarantees that the original work product of a
constituency will be able to go to the Board intact, accompanied by
supplementary commentary (concurring and/or dissenting). Instead of the
current process where it all gets thrown into the blender.