Re: [wg-review] 3. [Constituencies] Rough Proposal C - eliminate NC, keepconstituencies
Peter de Blanc wrote:
> I argue for retention of constituencies.
> The model of many city - state/provincal - county - national governments is
> elected representatives, who represent the (majority) will of their
> In legislative fora, the senators/representatives/whatever propose policy
> and laws based on what their supporting constituents want.
It is not at all clear that that model applies here.
Quoting a message I posted to the GA list in August:
| Rick H Wesson wrote:
| > > The constituency structure is a failure and should be abandoned.
| > I agree, however could you suggest a better model, or how we could get
| > the constituency structure replaced and what it should be replaced by?
| The only model I know of that demonstrably works for the Internet is
| the IETF model. All working groups have mailing lists. Both those lists
| and the meetings are open to all comers.
| Moreover, everyone is expected to "leave their affiliations at the door"
| for working group meetings. The goal is to solve problems for the net,
| based on technical merit, NOT to represent your employer or interest
| group. Of course, it isn't actually that simple but at least the notion
| of leaving affiliations out of it is considered.
| This is almost the exact opposite of the constituency approach.
> Many individuals, the vox populi so to speak, are unwilling or incapable of
> expressing their ideas in public fora. They will, however, express them to
> their elected representatives in more private circumstances.
Have you any evidence for this assertion?
I doubt that most of those affected by the net know or care enough to
express themselves on network issues, beyond perhaps grumbling when
something does not work.
For those who do care, I see little reason to suppose your assertion is
true either. Yes, one might send some ideas to one's representative in
private email, but if many of us do that for every suggestion, methinks
there might a problem. The poor representative could be stuck trying to
respond to 87 instances of essentially the same suggestion. Perhaps he
or she could write software (or hire a secretary) to classify messages
and just send out 87 copies of a form letter, but if you're going to
do that, why not just use a mailing list in the first place?
Also, ideas need to be discussed, criticized, revised, ... This requires
a public forum. I'd be very surprised indeed if more than a tiny number
of interesting ideas managed to spring full-grown from the foreheads of
your vox populi, and equally surprised if a discussion failed to produce
quite a few interesting ideas.
> These mailing lists are dominated by a few people who have the time, the
> interest, the inclination, and the energy to participate.
Yes, and that is problematic.
> They (the lists) certainly do not and can not represent a sufficiently
> broad cross-section of the global Internet community.
That depends on how you use "represent". If you assume "represent" in
this context must be used in the sense of "representative gov't", then
unelected lists cannot "represent" anyone.
We could then start an argument about whether the constituencies as
currently constituted "represent" anyone in that sense (I doubt it)
and if so, whether that is "a sufficiently broad cross-section" (I'd
say quite obviously not). I'm not inclined to consider that a useful
thing to argue about.
Using the word in another sense, if administrators "represent" their
users and companies "represent" their clients, then it is entirely
possible an open-to-all-comers mailing list is the best anyone can
do toward achieving appropriate representation.
> The constituency system is a viable mechanism for carrying the voices of a
> large segment of the population who share common interests into a forum
> where useful work can be done- work such as achieving compromise between
> diverse special interest groups.
I'd shorten that:
> The constituency system is a viable mechanism for ...
> special interest groups.
I don't think it is clear that the system is viable for anything else.
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