[wg-review] Consensus Report #1 - Adoption Text For Vote
Consensus Report #1, WG-Review Adoption Copy
This is a preliminary report has been submitted for adoption by WG-Review.
While the poll material is public and reflects as much objectivity as
possible, the opinions and
conclusions drawn are the views of the author, and cannot be called "the
results of the group" until the
group has discussed and ratified them and any changes that may be incorporated.
Material comes from group discussions and two polls - one run through
pollcat.com, and one run in a voting booth designed for more secure results.
Caveat adapted from a post by Harald Alvestrand:
"There is a well known form of "consensus" building called "last man
standing" - with interest in this area on the order of hundreds of
thousands, and actual list membership in the +100s, a poll answered by a
small group of people based on an extremely busy mailing list needs a
little justification before being taken as ground rules for further work.
That said, we believe the poll result is fairly representative of the
people speaking up in this discussion, and probably a fair reflection of
the feelings of a lot of people who have touched or participated in this
Asked "is the DNSO in need of reform", 36 out of 37 respondents agreed. It
seems clear that among those responding, the overwhelming sense is that
serious work is needed on the entire DNSO structure. In wide-ranging
discussions certain themes emerged, and the question of "consensus" - what
it means, what it is, and how it works - was one of those themes.
Over the course of this working group, it has become clear to group members
that the entire issue of consensus is not only ambiguous, but is
emotionally charged as well. Through group discussion, it was observed that:
"The WG-Review has observed that reaching a consensus within the DNSO was
basically hampered by the lack of
definition and therefore of common understanding of what a DNSO consensus
is and how it is determined"
This statement has agreed to by 14 of 15 poll respondents. Consensus was
explicitly blocked on this question. As discussions further developed, it
became clear that the DNSO's process was not what is normally understood as
a "consensus process", but based, rather, in a process of the IETF. When
asked to agree or disagree with the statement "I understand what the IETF
"rough-consensus" model is and believe it is an appropriate model for the
DNSO" 12 out of 15 respondents disagreed.
It appears that one reason for use of the IETF model is a belief that true
consensus is impossible. Responding to the statement "I do not believe that
true consensus can be achieved within the DNSO process at this time" 13 of
the 15 respondents agreed. Interestingly, neither of the two who disagreed
wished to block consensus on the question. Accordingly, this could be
labeled a consensus result under formal consensus procedures. Irony is left
to the reader.
2/3 of respondents (10 of 15) believe that they have learned something
about consensus process through this Working Group. By a margin of 9 to 7,
they believe that "for most issues, a simple majority vote is sufficient"
None of the seven who disagreed were will willing to block consensus on
this, though the rather slim margin would indicate that consensus has not
been achieved on this issue.
Happily, the group achieved true consensus on one statement - " Clearly
defined and published methods for considering DNSO issues would improve the
By a margin of 14 to 2, respondents believe "The use of "consensus" in the
bylaws is misleading. Either ICANN should develop a true consensus process
or it should change the bylaws to reflect the actual process desired." This
is a significant margin though it is not consensus. It strongly suggests
that on at least this issue some of the changes required to improve DNSO
functionality will require changes to the ICANN bylaws.
Seventy-five percent of respondents to a question about whether or not this
working group should call it's results "consensus" favored calling a vote a
vote. This supports the belief that most question can be handled through a
voting procedure mentioned above.
9-5, a majority of respondents believe "Some form of task force be
developed as a training ground in consensus for ICANN and the DNSO." By a
slightly greater margin (10-4) they believe that " NC members and WG chairs
should participate in consensus training before heading a consensus-process
group". And by an 8-5 margin, they agree that "A professional
consensus-development consultancy should be engaged to advise on the
It appears that if the DNSO is going to support a consensus process,
several things will need to happen. The most pressing issue from a
consensus-development perspective is the significant belief that consensus
is not possible in the DNSO at this time. It is a truism of consensus
development that consensus cannot be imposed, and this material suggests
that for a consensus process to be effectively implemented, it is first
necessary to acknowledge the need for GA and constituency member
education, as well as the suggestions above for the NC.
While working towards consensus is desirable, the current state of the DNSO
will require explicit votes on matters of substance until a far greater
level of trust in the process exists. A start at building that trust could
happen by adopting all of the above proposals.
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