WG-D Report to the Names Council on the Interim Measures

September 14, 1999

All -

Please find below the report prepared by Bret and myself regarding WG-D's interim measures for WG-C. This report will be forwarded to the NC by close of business Tuesday, September 14th, central European time. It will be discussed on the NC call on Wednesday, September 15th.


To: Names Council of the Domain Name Supporting Organization
From: Co-Chairs of Working Group D
Re: Interim Measures
Date: Tuesday, September 14, 1999

On Thursday, August 24th, 1999, the Names Council of the DNSO adopted a resolution requesting that Working Group D come to an interim solution for Working Group C. Working Group D began undertaking this request shortly after the resolution was passed.

Background and Summary of Discussion:

Discussion began with whether the NC had the authority to request WG-D to come to an interim solution for Working Group C. Views differed, but overall agreement was that the NC requested this, and it was within the responsibility of WG-D regarding process issues. Whether interim or permanent, process issues did fall within the scope of responsibility of the Working Group.

After conclusion of this discussion, there were several lines of dialogue. There were two posts suggesting that WG-C should cease work until WG-D can complete its report, but a majority of the posts suggested that WG-C should continue working, though trying something new to move its work ahead. As for what the "something new" should be, a number of posts have suggested asking the members of WG-C to summarize their work into written position statements, both as a means to share the positions with the larger Internet community and as an exercise to focus the group's thinking.

As to what should become of these statements, there seems to be some consensus that there will be a public comment period, and perhaps the opportunity to revise or compromise the statements. There has also been a suggestion that these position statements may actually represent the final work product of WG-C. It was reiterated that WG-C should not be closed down, and it was emphasized that its work should be completed.

The Recommendations WG-D forwards are as an interim solution to help the process move forward. These recommendations include two main procedural points: 1) determining the current situation and identifying current areas of disagreement; and 2) encouraging greater participation by attempting to limit the amount of postings to the list-serve per day to ensure all interested parties can participate.

Working Group D recommendation:

Working Group D recommends that the NC ask the working group to:

  1. prepare -as the interim output of the WG- a report with all the different views that have been presented in the discussions. In preparing a position statement, WG-D believes that the following elements might be helpful in allowing members of a WG, members of the GA, and the general public to assess the viability of a given position:
    1. an abstract of the proposal, providing a summary of the group's position and recommendations;
    2. a clear statement of what is being proposed and its underlying rationale;
    3. an analysis of who and what systems might be impacted by the proposal;
    4. the specific steps that would be necessary to take to implement the proposal;
    5. the costs and risks, if any, of implementing the proposal and how they would be be borne;
    6. a statement of which stakeholders have been consulted about the proposal and what support the proposal has in the various stakeholder communities.

    Groups drafting "position statements" should be free, however, to publish statements in whatever form they see fit.

    WG-D encourages WG-C to allow groups submitting interim "position statements" to revise and/or compromise them after each group has read the others' reports.

    WG-D also encourages WG-C to publish the position statements for a period of public comment, specifically seeking comments not only on the substance of the positions but also on the "impact" issues identified in (c) and (e) above.

    WG-D believes that these steps will serve to clarify each group's respective position, highlight areas of agreement and disagreement, uncover areas of technical or economic impracticality, and discern the public support for the various positions.

    After these steps are taken, WG-D should have completed its final report on what a WG Report and Recommendation should look like. The members of WG-D expect that the work detailed above will be incorporated, in some form, into the WG's final Report and Recommendation.

  2. Seek to encourage participation by all interested parties by either moving to a moderated list and/or seeking to limit the list members' posts per day (say, to two). This could have two beneficial effects. First, it would cut down on the volume, and allow people to participate in WG-C without having it take over their lives. Second, list members faced with this limitation might take care to make their two posts per day count - leaving unimportant or tangential things unsaid, and concentrating on making substantive comments on the main issues before the group.

    Such a moderated or post limited list, however, would require an additional, perhaps significant, daily time commitment from either the current Chairs or a new list moderator. The leadership of WG-C should consider this aspect before deciding whether to adopt it.


    Working Group D recommends that WG-C makes sure that all interested parties really taking part. Either the co-chairs of the WG need to make sure to have input from all, or that the representatives involved are working with their constituencies. In order to be sure not to discourage participation, the environment must encourage meaningful participation. Mechanisms of controling amount of traffic on WG-C list, and providing interim report on positions and differing views will allow the WG-to determine where they may be close to compromise, and where they may not.

    Working Group D believes that WG-C can reach possible compromise.

    WG-C, as currently constituted, with its current leadership, is in a position to find compromise, consensus solutions to at least part of the problem if left to find its own way. The recommendations by WG-D are intended to move this process forward, and ensure ability for all interested parties to participate.

    Co-Chairs of Working Group D

    Bret Fausett and Theresa Swinehart