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[wg-d] Draft 0.1
Working Online: Processes and Procedures
for the Working Groups of ICANN's
Domain Name Supporting Organization
8 Oct. 1999
The Processes and Procedures that follow are to define the mechanisms by
which the Working Groups of the Domain Name Supporting Organization
("DNSO") of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
("ICANN") will gain members, develop proposals, assimilate comments and
criticism from the Internet community, and make reports to the DNSO's
Names Council ("NC").
These Processes and Procedures are meant to take advantage of the
Internet's unique ability to allow people in disparate parts of the world
to work together asynchronously to reach a common goal.
PROCESSES AND PROCEDURES
1.0 Purpose and Scope
The purpose of Working Groups within the DNSO is to formulate tentative
positions on policies for review and modification by the DNSO's General
Assembly ("GA") and to incorporate the views of the GA into a final Report
and Recommendation to the NC, and to provide the NC with a formal record
of the support within and impact upon the Internet community for the work
contained in the Report and Recommendation.
These Processes and Procedures are designed to provide Working Groups with
an appropriate forum for discussion and debate, provide leadership to
moderate and steer debate; provide a mechanism to draft any
recommendations or reports to the DNSO's Names Council; provide a
mechanism for publishing and publicizing the work of the Working Group and
seeking additional input; provide appropriate amounts of time for input
and comment; provide a mechanism for public comment; provide a mechanism
for reviewing public comments and revising draft reports; and ensure that
all notices, drafts, comments and other documents generated by the Working
Group are maintained, archived, and publicly available.
The GA is an open community of individuals concerned with the policies and
development of the Internet's Domain Name System ("DNS"). The primary
activities of the GA and the DNSO are performed by committees known as
Working Groups. Working Groups have a specific focus and a lifetime
bounded by the completion of a specific set of tasks.
There is no formal membership in the DNSO's Working Groups. Participation
is open to all. This participation may be by on-line contribution,
attendance at real-time sessions, or both. Anyone from the Internet
community, the GA, or any member of a DNSO constituency, who has the time
and interest, is welcome to participate in Working Group discussions.
Because the primary mechanism for accomplishing work will be through
threaded, e-mail discussions, Working Group members are encouraged to
subscribe to the Working Group's mailing list. As all messages in the
Working Group will be archived online as they are posted and all members
of the Internet community will be given adequate opportunity to review and
comment upon Work Group draft Reports and Recommendations, there is no
need to "lurk" in a Working Group; all Working Group members are
encouraged to be active participants.
3.0 Working Group Formation
3.1 Purpose of WGs
Working Groups are the primary mechanism for development of DNSO policy
recommendations. A working group may be established at the initiative of
the Names Council, or it may be initiated by an individual or group of
individuals from the GA.
Working Groups are typically created to address a specific problem or to
produce one or more specific recommendations. Working Groups are generally
expected to be short-lived in nature. Upon completion of its goals and
achievement of its objectives, the Working Group is terminated.
Alternatively, with the concurrence of the NC, the WG Chairs, and the WG
participants, the objectives or assignment of the Working Group may be
extended by modifying the Working Group's charter through the rechartering
process noted in Section __ below.
3.2 Criteria for Formation
When determining whether it is appropriate to create a Working Group, the
NC and the members of the GA should consider (a) whether the issues that
the Working Group may address are clear and relevant to the DNS community,
(b) whether the goals are specific (c) whether the goals are achievable
within a reasonable time frame, (d) the risks and urgency of the work (to
determine the level of effort required), (e) whether the Working Group's
activities overlap with those of another Working Group (if so, it may
still be appropriate to create the Working Group), (f) whether there is
sufficient interest within the DNSO in the Working Group's topic and
enough people willing to expend the effort to produce the desired result,
(g) whether there is enough expertise within the DNSO in the Working
Group's topic, and (h) whether the DNSO, and more broadly ICANN itself,
has a reasonable role to play in the determination of any policy.
Considering the above criteria, the Names Council, using its best
judgment, will decide whether to pursue the formation of the group through
the chartering process or accept a petition from the GA for the creation
of a WG.
3.3 Working Group Charters
The formation of a Working Group requires a charter which is prepared by a
prospective Working Group Chair, members of the GA, and the Names Council,
possibly with advice from other bodies of the DNSO and ICANN. A charter
is a contract between a Working Group and the DNSO to perform a set of
A charter: (a) lists relevant administrative information for the Working
Group; (b) specifies the direction or objectives of the Working Group and
describes the approach that will be taken to achieve the goals; and (c)
enumerates a set of milestones together with estimated time frames for
When the prospective Chair(s), the NC and the DNSO Secretariat are
satisfied with the charter form and content, it becomes the basis for
forming a Working Group.
Specifically, each charter consists of the following sections:
* Working Group Name
A Working Group name should be reasonably descriptive or identifiable.
(For example, names such as "Processes and Procedures WG" are preferable
to names such as "WG-D").
The Working Group may have one or more Chairs to perform the
administrative functions of the group. To begin, the NC will select a
Supervisory Chair. The email address(es) of the Supervisory Chair shall be
* Mailing List
An DNSO Working Group must have a general Internet mailing list. Most of
the work of an DNSO Working Group will be conducted on the mailing list.
The Working Group charter must include: the address to which a participant
sends a subscription request and the procedures to follow when
subscribing; the address to which a participant sends submissions and
special procedures, if any; and, the location of the mailing list archive.
A message archive must be maintained in a public place which can be
accessed via the web.
* Description of Working Group
The focus and intent of the group shall be set forth briefly. By reading
this section alone, an individual should be able to decide whether this
group is relevant to his or her own work or interests. The first paragraph
must give a brief summary of the problem area, basis, goal(s) and
approach(es) planned for the Working Group. This paragraph can be used as
an overview of the Working Group's effort.
* Goals and Milestones
The Working Group charter must establish a timetable for specific work
items. While this may be renegotiated over time, the list of milestones
and dates facilitates the Names Council's tracking of Working Group
progress and status, and it is indispensable to potential participants
identifying the critical moments for input. Milestones shall consist of
deliverables that can be qualified as showing specific achievement; e.g.,
"Draft Policy finished" is fine, but "discuss via email" is not. It is
helpful to specify milestones for every 3-6 months, so that progress can
be gauged easily. This milestone list should be updated periodically as
Charters may be renegotiated periodically to reflect the current status,
organization or goals of the Working Group.
3.4 Charter Review and Approval
Once the NC has granted approval for the Working Group charter, the
charter is submitted for review by the General Assembly. The proposed
charter will be posted to the DNSO-announce mailing list as a public
notice that the formation of the Working Group is being considered. After
a review period lasting at least a week the NC, after reviewing the
comments from the GA, may approve the charter as-is or it may request that
changes be made in the charter.
4.0 Working Group Operation
The DNSO has basic requirements for open, transparent, fair, and, most
importantly, civil participation. Members are expected to abide by the
Process and Procedures for Working Group Operations, discussed in this
4.1 New Proposals and Ideas
In order to allow new proposals and ideas to be tracked by the Working
Group, any new proposal or idea should be made in a new thread with a
subject heading that succinctly and clearly identifies its subject matter.
Any new thread that receives a generally positive response (such as "I
second," "I agree," "We should discuss this") shall be open for
consideration and debate within the Working Group.
At any time after a thread has continued long enough to have a clearly
developed theme or point of view, any member of the Working Group or the
Chair can summarize the thread and draft a conclusion, proposed wording
for a Report and Recommendation, or whatever other work product may be
appropriate for the issue under discussion. Such a draft shall be
presented to the members of the Working Group in the form of a "Motion to
4.2 Motion to Approve
A Motion to Approve shall be made by including the appropriate text of the
wording for consideration in a message to the Working Group under the same
thread out of which it arises. The proponent shall rename the "Subject"
heading of the message to include the note "MA:" at the beginning of the
subject line. A Motion to Approve must be seconded before it can be
approved by the Working Group.
4.3 Other Formal Motions
In response to any Motion to Approve, any member of the Working Group can
make a Motion to Amend (to add to or revise the text of the Motion to
Amend), a Motion to Defer Until a Specific Time (to table the Motion for
consideration at a specific, later time in the life of the Working Group),
or a Motion to Refer to a Subgroup (to ask a subgroup to perform
additional drafting work on the Motion to Amend).
4.4 Procedural Questions
Any member of the Working Group may raise a question that relates to the
rights and privileges of the GA or the Working Group members (often called
a "Point of Order" or "Point of Privilege"). Procedural Questions should
be preceded by the note "PQ:" at the beginning of a message's subject line
and should raise issues about the compliance with or application of these
Processes and Procedures. All Procedural Questions are directed to the
Chairs and must be answered before any pending Motion or other work can
proceed. Any Procedural Question (as well as the response from the Chair)
which is not answered to the satisfaction of the person asking it must be
noted in the Working Group's Report and Recommendation, so the Names
Council will have a record of any potential non-compliance with these
Processes and Procedures.
Once a Motion to Approve (or any of the Other Formal Motions noted above)
has been made and seconded, the members of the Working Group shall make
their approval or disagreement known through posts to the list. If the
Chairs perceive that the Motion to Approve is generally supported within
the Working Group, it shall deem the Motion approved. Any member of the
Working Group, without insult to the Chairs or any Working Group members,
may ask for a formal vote of the Working Group members. In such an event,
the Chairs shall poll, through the list, the Working Group members.
Members shall respond to the poll by making their opinions known in a
message to the group, including the note "VOTE/MA:" at the beginning of
the subject line. Motions that receive a majority of votes cast shall be
4.6 Although Working Groups, to the greatest extent possible, must
perform their work online, circumstances may allow Working Group members
to meet in real-time (in person, via teleconference, or via internet
chat). In such an event, the real-time meeting of the Working Group shall
be governed by Robert's Rules of Order.
Decisions reached during real-time meetings about topics or issues which
have not been discussed on the mailing list, or are significantly
different from previously reached mailing list decisions must be reviewed
and voted upon on the mailing list.
4.7. Contention and appeals
Disputes are possible at various stages during the DNSO Working Group
process. As much as possible the process is designed so that compromises
can be made, and genuine consensus achieved; however, there are times when
even the most reasonable and knowledgeable people are unable to agree. To
achieve the goals of openness and fairness, such conflicts must be
resolved by a process of open review and discussion.
To enable such an open review and discussion, Working Groups, when
reaching a position of possible empasse, are encouraged to prepare, as the
interim output of the WG, a report with all the different views that have
been presented in the discussions. In preparing such a position statement,
the following elements might be helpful in allowing members of a Working
Group, members of the General Assembly, and the general public assess the
viability of the various positions:
(a) an abstract of the proposal, providing a summary of the group's
position and recommendations;
(b) a clear statement of what is being proposed and its underlying
(c) an analysis of who and what systems might be impacted by the proposal;
(d) the specific steps that would be necessary to take to implement the
(e) the costs and risks, if any, of implementing the proposal and how they
would be be borne;
(f) a statement of which stakeholders have been consulted about the
proposal and what support the proposal has in the various stakeholder
Groups drafting "position statements" should be free, however, to publish
statements in whatever form they see fit. Groups submitting interim
"position statements" should be free to revise and/or compromise those
statements after reading the reports or others.
working Groups should 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. These steps should 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.
5.0 Reports and Recommendations
5.1 The Purpose of Reports and Recommendations
The goal of the Working Group process is to produce a Report and
Recommendation for submission to the NC. The purpose of a Report and
Recommendation is to summarize the work performed by the Working Group,
the various alternatives that the group considered, provide impact
analyses from the various constituencies of the DNSO, and set forth the
conclusions of the group.
5.2 The Content of Reports and Recommendations
All Reports and Recommendations must contain the following sections, with
discussions on the listed items as noted:
* Issue Statement
A clear and concise statement of the proposition of the issues discussed
in the Working Group and as to which consensus has been reached.
* Impact Analysis
An full analysis of who might be impacted, and in what ways, by such a
* Record of Discussions
A summary of past discussions (within and outside the Working Group) and
the history of exchanges of views on the proposed policy.
* Record of Outreach
A record of affirmative outreach to any segment of the Internet community
that might be affected by the proposed policy.
* Community/Constituency Impact Reviews
A summary and analysis of evidence as to how the impacted groups (not just
the Working Group members) feel about the proposed policy.
* Minority Reports
A fair statement of points in opposition and a substantive analysis of
their merits and the intensity of the opposition.
* Supporting Arguments
A summary of the best arguments for adoption of the policy.
* Potential Impact on Other SOs
An analysis of whether and how the proposed policy implicates the
interests of other SOs.
* Risk/Cost Analysis
An analysis of the risks and costs of moving forward with the policy
despite any noted opposition.
5.3 Publication and Comment Period
Each report and recommendation should be published, in draft form, to the
General Assembly and the larger Internet community for debate, comment and
criticism prior to its completion. The Working Group shall provide such
advance notice and comment period as is reasonable considering the length,
complexity, importance, and urgency of the policy under consideration. In
the event that comments necessitate significant changes to the draft in
order to build consensus within the community over the policies at issue,
the Working Group shall publish the revised draft for an additional period
of public comment.
5.4 Submission of Final Reports
Final Reports and Recommendations shall be submitted by both Chairs of the
Working Group to the Names Council.
6.0 Working Group Termination
Working Groups are typically chartered to accomplish a specific task or
tasks. After the tasks are complete, the group will be disbanded.
However, it may be the case that the Working Group will become dormant
rather than disband (i.e., the Working Group will no longer conduct formal
activities, but the mailing list will remain available to review the
policy proposal as it moves through the ICANN processes.)
If, at some point, it becomes evident that a Working Group is unable to
complete the work outlined in the charter, or if the assumptions which
that work was based have been modified in discussion or by experience, the
NC, in consultation with the Working Group can: recharter to refocus its
tasks; choose new Chair(s); or, disband.
7.0 Rechartering a Working Group
Updated milestones are renegotiated with the NC as needed. Rechartering
(other than revising milestones) a Working Group follows the same
procedures that the initial chartering does (see section 2). The revised
charter must be submitted to the NC for approval. As with the initial
chartering, the NC may approve new charter as-is, it may request that
changes be made in the new charter (including having the Working Group
continue to use the old charter), or it may decline to approve the
rechartered Working Group. In the latter case, the Working Group is
8.0 WG Chair
The Working Group Chair is concerned with making forward progress through
a fair and open process, and has wide discretion in the conduct of WG
business. The Chair must ensure that a number of tasks are performed,
either directly or by others assigned to the tasks.
The Chair has the responsibility and the authority to make decisions, on
behalf of the Working Group, regarding all matters of Working Group
process and staffing, in conformance with the rules of the DNSO. The NC
has the authority and the responsibility to assist in making those
decisions at the request of the Chair or when circumstances warrant such
The Chair's responsibility encompasses at least the following:
* Ensure WG process and content management
The Chair has ultimate responsibility for ensuring that a Working Group
achieves forward progress and meets its milestones. The Chair is also
responsible to ensure that the Working Group operates in an open and fair
manner. For some Working Groups, this can be accomplished by having the
Chair perform all management-related activities. In other Working Groups
-- particularly those with large or divisive participation -- it is
helpful to allocate process and/or secretarial functions to other
participants. Process management pertains strictly to the style of
Working Group interaction and not to its content. It ensures fairness and
detects redundancy. The secretarial function encompasses document editing.
* Moderate the WG email list
The Chair should attempt to ensure that the discussions on this list are
relevant and that they converge to consensus agreements. The Chair should
make sure that discussions on the list are summarized and that the outcome
is well documented (to avoid repetition).
* Organize, prepare and chair face-to-face and on-line formal sessions.
The Chair must plan and announce all Working Group sessions and the agenda
for such sessions well in advance.
* Communicate results of sessions
The Chair and/or Secretary must ensure that minutes of a session are taken
and that an attendance list is circulated. Immediately after a session,
the WG Chair MUST provide the NC and the members of the Working Group with
a short report on the session.
* Distribute the workload
Each WG will have participants who may not be able (or want) to do any
work at all. Most of the time the bulk of the work is done by a few
dedicated participants. It is the task of the Chair to motivate enough
participants to allow for a fair distribution of the workload.