[wg-review] Proposal draft (Part 1)
I am posting a first part of the proposal draft for your perusal and comments. The hour is late, and I am tired. I will post the rest on the morrow.
Working Chair WG-Review
This document is not intended to reflect a set of consensus-based policy recommendations founded on unanimous compromise between all active participants within the WG-Review. Nor does it reflect a consensus defined in terms of a 2/3 formulation based on the number of participants in a vote. Instead, the origin of this report lies in the generally unanimous acknowledgement of problems within the current Domain Name Support Organization (“DNSO”), with respect to its conception as outlined in ARTICLE VI-B of the ICANN Bylaws. Estimates of the degree of impairment of the DNSO among members of WGr vary, but broadly speaking, a general consensus largely cedes the problematic character of the body to some extent. Indeed, the very issuance of the ICANN Board of Directors’ Resolutions 01.28 and 01.29* verifies the Board’s (“BoD”) assessment of the deficient nature of the DNSO, and underscores the need for substantive proposals and recommendations for remedying any identified shortcomings or flaws in the DNSO. As a result, this paper will include proposals by members of the WGr with respect to certain perceived DNSO problem areas, and is therefore not intended as an exhaustive or adequate reflection of the WGr as a whole.
*Resolutions of the BoD as mentioned above:
[Resolution 01.28] The Board asks the Names Council and other sources to
separate their proposals into those that improve operations of the DNSO as it is
constituted today and those which may result in changes in the structure of the
DNSO and/or major changes in its functioning.
[Resolution 01.29] The Board encourages input related to changes that improve operations of the DNSO as it is constituted today no later than April 16, 2001. Further Board action on the basis of that input will be scheduled at the end of that period."
Terms of Reference
For the purposes of this report, let it be
noted that the Board is understood to be requesting two distinct categories of
proposals. In the first instance,
there is a request for proposals/recommendations that improve operations of the
DNSO as it is constituted today.
This category of proposals appears to reflect the need for a temporary
`quick fix’ for short-term purposes only.
Secondly, the Board is understood as further requesting
proposals/recommendations, which may result in changes in the structure and
process of the DNSO and/or involve major changes in its overall function for the
The DNSO is responsible for advising the ICANN Board with respect to policy issues relating to the Domain Name System. The DNSO currently consists of (i) a Names Council ("NC"), consisting of representatives of constituencies as elected by the “Constituencies” described in Section 3 of ICANN Bylaws Article VI-B ("Constituencies"), and (ii) a General Assembly ("GA"), consisting of all interested individuals and entities. It is important to note that the GA includes, but is not limited to the established “Constituencies” of the DNSO.
Issues and Recommendations
Responsibilities of the NC include the management of the consensus building process within the DNSO. The NC is required to adopt such procedures and policies as it sees fit to carry out that responsibility, including the designation of such research or drafting committees, working groups and other bodies of the GA as it determines are appropriate to carry out the substantive work of the DNSO.
With respect to the NC management and oversight of the consensus building process of the current DNSO, it has been generally remarked that there is no clearly defined consensus mechanism, thereby resulting in confusion, frustration and disappointment for many members of the various groups and entities subsumed/mandated within the GA. One clear example of this contention among the membership of the WGr is the following comment:
-Original Submission by WGr member Brett Faussett:
-For supplemental references on this topic see:
There are many more examples of evident confusion as to the nature of “consensus” within the current DNSO as managed by the existing NC model, and these can be made available upon request. For the purposes of a short-term remedy to the problem, the following recommendation is based on the existing mechanism for determining community consensus within the current Names Council itself (see Subsection D of Section 2, ARTICLE VI-B, ICANN Bylaws).
Recommendation: In light of the confusion and lack of reference with regards to what constitutes a “consensus” mechanism in the DNSO, the formal adoption of a standard 2/3 definition of “consensus” is recommended. This 2/3 formula is proposed as a standard for the purposes of research or drafting committees, working groups and other bodies of the GA, and should be based on the number of participants voting within the respective groups. In other words, assuming that there are 40 members on a given list and only 30 exercise their right to vote, then 20 would be considered a “consensus”. In the event of someone not agreeing with the options provided for in a vote ballot, an abstention option should also be mandated for any ballot, which option establishes participation in the voting process without committing to any of the other alternatives. In this way, a clear distinction between abstaining and not voting is established.
To date the NC (and the GA generally), have relied mostly on volunteerism for the production, organization, collation, and distribution of all pertinent documentation and other information relevant to the DNSO as a whole. A concern of many of the members of WGr is the resulting inefficiency with regards to the easy accessibility/availability and distribution of documents/ information pertaining to the various purposes, processes, procedures and programs of the NC, and the DNSO in general. Also, concern has been expressed over a perceived lack of responsiveness to general inquiries, and other requests for information and/or (re)production of relevant material(s) and/or media. The following comment is a good example of such sentiment:
-Original Submission by WGr member Jefsey Morfin:
-For supplemental references on this topic see:
Generally speaking, there was a good deal of support for a dedicated and smooth functioning secretariat for the DNSO among the WGr membership. Indeed, such a department is a key component in the successful functioning of any organization, and the lack of it within the DNSO should be viewed as a serious flaw.
Recommendation: For the purposes of effective ministration of the DNSO as a whole, it is proposed that a general secretariat be established to serve both the GA and the NC respectively. This secretariat is not to be confused or related to the internal secretariat structures of the various bodies or entities (such as Constituencies) that make up the GA as a whole. Rather, the DNSO secretariat will serve the purposes of organizing and responding to the information needs and requirements of the DNSO as a whole. For the purposes of timeliness, quality, and appropriateness of any such efforts, it is recommended that the secretariat be founded on a professional rather than volunteer basis. A proposal and budget for such a secretariat should be a priority for the Board with respect to the establishment of a consistent and smooth functioning DNSO, and it is recommended that this suggestion be implemented as soon as possible, as it will serve the interests of both short and long-term remedial programs.
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