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[comments-review] just my opinion

Respectfully, I make the following comments:

  1. As an active full-time participant in the Review Working Group, I am by definition a “responsible party”; as such, and in view of Article VI-B, Section 2d of the By-Laws of ICANN which states, “The NC is responsible for ensuring that the Board is informed of any significant implementation or operational concerns expressed by any responsible party,” I am, through this posting, advising the Names Council that I have significant operational concerns.  As a DNSO Review has been requested by the Board, and as the Names Council has created a Review Task Force charged with the preparation of a report, it is incumbent upon that Task Force, as an operational matter, to ensure that all necessary and required procedures have been followed.  I submit that this has not been the case thus far.
    1. Though appreciative of the inherent difficulties in the redaction process, a report ostensibly generated by a Task Force should be substantially more than the work-product of a single individual… at the very least there should be signatories to the document.  We have as a matter of public record the formal request on the part of the Chair of the Review Working Group that, “the report should be vetted by members of the Review TF.  Otherwise, it cannot be recognized as Review TF Report.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00084.html  The public record, however, does not reflect that such vetting has ever occurred, only that a vote was taken by the Names Council to accept the report.
    2. A report prepared by a Task Force should similarly reflect a consensus with regard to summary conclusions.  Again, a formal request for a teleconference to establish consensus on the report was made by the Chair of the Review Working Group… http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00084.html  The public record does not indicate that such a teleconference was ever held, nor that other means of establishing consensus were ever adopted in lieu of this approach.
    3. While occasional procedural lapses might be expected in any organization, a pattern of disregard for procedure against the backdrop of warnings to that effect is serious grounds for concern… once again, quoting the Chair of the Review Working Group, “As member of Review TF, the decision or request of Review TF comes in the name of Review TF from Chair prior to consultation with members of Review TF reminds this group that we need procedure in place, first.  Otherwise, this group cannot get nowhere… To operate this premature decision-making process in the NC without its well-established set of rules might cause more serious malpractice.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00084.html
    4. Operationally, procedures should allow for all necessary report revisions, and should respect the wishes of Task Force members to have such revisions included, if only as a minority opinion.  Unfortunately, even after requests by the Chair of Review Working Group to examine the final Draft version, and to be able to make the required amendments, such changes were neither implemented nor accorded a reference as a minority view… http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00127.html  “Can you revise draft version 2.0 upon following requests properly before it is issued in the name of NC Review TF report?  I raised some concerns earlier to NC Review TF regarding version 1.0 and realized they are not properly updated in your version 2.0.  Let me point out again what your version 2.0 should have been written upon requests or inputs by members of Review TF.  First Concern on DNSO Review Report version 1.0 is still left as it was in version 1.0.  You can edit the content as editor however, there should be reasons why you keep ignoring those requests from a member of NC Review TF.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00131.html
    5. If the above-cited exchanges of dialogue were only indicative of antagonism between two strong-willed personalities, allowances might be made for such internecine friction, however the accusation that procedures were such that the Report failed to include a number of well-represented positions is indeed to be viewed as a serious matter, and cannot be ignored.  Sadly, this charge does have merit and is supported by the extensive Review Working Group public record.  Positions such as the desire to abolish the Constituency structure (for which there was strong concurrence), positions that the time-line assigned to the Review Working Group was undeniably unfair, unprofessional and unworkable (for which there was universal concurrence), positions on the DNDEF topic, positions on the at-large, and the expansive record of the positions of the DNSGA, are but five examples among many others that were not addressed by this Draft.  I am quite sure that other commentators will take the opportunity to illustrate this point more fully than I.
    6. In further keeping with the ICANN By-Laws, there was a procedural requirement that a working group, “shall include at least one representative nominated by each recognized constituency”, yet there appears to be no public record that such nominations indeed occurred, nor that any participants from such constituencies ever identified themselves as such nominees.
    7. Returning to the issue of the time-line given to the Review Working Group, the ICANN By-Laws state, “Subject to the provisions of Article III, Section 3, the Board shall accept the recommendations of a Supporting Organization if the Board finds that the recommended policy… was arrived at through fair and open processes.”  They additionally state, “The NC is responsible for ensuring that all responsible views have been heard.”  Comments from Constituencies and from the membership of the Review Working Group attest to the fact that the procedures which called for a scant three weeks to be allotted to the Review WG (with no extension of time granted, in contradistinction to the remarkably long extension offered to the Review TF), were assuredly both unfair and unproductive, and did not allow for all responsible views to have been heard.  “We appreciate Names Council’s final decision to create this working group and we believe that the January 15 deadline imposed on the working group, and the filtering of its input through a Names Council-appointed Task Force, constitute unnecessary and counterproductive constraints on the DNSO Review process.  Please accept this as our only official response to the Questionnaire.  For the last, NCDNHC request NC to extend working group’s deadline.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/council/Arc04/msg00662.html  “If there are enough requests from people to extend its working days it should be taken.  Please, provide reason to dissolve working group as soon as NC creates it.  On the other hand, you don’t push or touch at all about Business Plan WG which has been existing for more than one and a half years.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-intake/Arc00/msg00183.html
    8. Procedurally, another matter also impacted upon the discussions and time-line of the Review Working Group, the failure to have necessary Terms of Reference clearly posted in a timely manner… “NC ignored its responsibility to look into the Terms of Reference which has been requested by NC.  Therefore, there have been continuous misunderstanding between some NC members and myself, Chair of WG-Review, which made WG members put into more confusion.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00111.html
    9. There have been ethical and procedural concerns raised with regard to the possibility that members of the Names Council voted and participated in polls conducted by the Review Working Group in an attempt to shape or thwart consensus.  This issue has already been noted by Ken Stubbs:  http://www.dnso.org/wgroups/wg-review/Arc02/msg02212.html
    10. Finally, the comments made by the Chair of the Review Working Group at the 24 January teleconference of the Names Council referencing the lack of collaboration, the lack of an open forum, the failure of Review TF to follow procedures:  “it doesn’t follow any rules”, the request to have her name disassociated with this report, and the statement objecting to the “absurd” posting of this report, all reflect the fact that serious operational issues abound and that the enmity between two project coordinators has clearly resulted in a Draft fraught with elements of bias.  “It is impossible for Review TF to come up with its Interim Report with another two days from now on.  That should be posted in the name of an individual, Theresa Swinehart instead of Review TF’s report which doesn’t provide proper open and formal channel of discussion among the full members and exclude some member’s comments upon her own decision rather than Review TF’s whole agreement.”  http://www.dnso.org/clubpublic/nc-review/Arc00/msg00118.html  Webcast of this meeting:  http://www.lextext.com/nc0124.html


The stability of the Internet relies upon the well-founded policy decisions of ICANN, which are to a certain degree reliant upon the well-documented recommendations from the Names Council, which in turn must rely upon the responsible efforts of its Task Force units.  The operational failure of a Task Force to produce an untainted review warrants the immediate attention of the Board, and certainly does not speak well of the management capability of the Names Council.

The Internet community will not long brook a disregard for procedures.  Applicable procedures (which may be extended to encompass a Task Force approach), have been referenced in footnote 41 of the Draft Report (for IETF procedures, see http://www.ietf.org; individual suggestion raised in working group http://www.dnso.org/wgroups/wg-review/Arc02/msg01952.html); one would be well advised to heed such recommendations in the future.

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