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Re: [ga] policy-making options

At 02:20 9/04/02 +0200, Alexander Svensson wrote:

>Hello Thomas,
>the options list is most helpful!

Indeed it is. The pro's and Con's that we are all listing here are useful 
guideposts for whatever on-line representational structure is now being 

>Thomas Roessler <roessler@does-not-exist.org> wrote (quotes reformatted):
> >In order to add a bit more structure to the discussion on policy-making, 
> here are a couple of parameters by which policy-making can be "tuned", or 
> by which different options may be characterized.  Note that "working 
> group" and "task force" are mostly used interchangeably in what follows:
> >
> > - Composition of working group: Same for all topics at a given time
> >   (<=> names council or board does everything itself); appointed by
> >   council or board (strict task force model; committees as used by
> >   board); appointed by stakeholder groups (loose task force model);
> >   self-selected (working group model).
>Some pros and cons:
>Same for all topics at a given time
>  - high risk of excluding concerned groups
>  - huge individual workload
>  - not every group member can be an expert for every topic
>  - if done on board level: no checks/balances
>  + continuity
>  + limited, workable group size
>direct appointment/strict task force model
>  - risk of excluding concerned groups
>  + group members (at least in theory) chosen by expertise
>  + workload more evenly distributed
>  + limited, workable group size
>indirect appointment/loose task force model
>  + less risk of excluding concerned groups
>  + group members (at least in theory) chosen by expertise
>  + workload more evenly distributed
>  + limited, workable group size
>open working group model
>  - may result in too large groups
>  - working group (and its proposals) may be dismissed as self-selected
>  + little risk of excluding concerned groups or individuals
>  + workload can be distributed well

Dismissing a WG for being self-selected is not necessarily justified. In 
many cases self-selection is more legitimate than selection.
Large groups are a plus, not a minus, as long as their energy can be 
organized and distributed.
- Minus is that an open WG that works with a mailing list, may be hindered 
by individuals with a mission to be contentious. Remedies are moderation 
and/or the use of web based ("pull" rather than "push")  discussion 

> > - Communication with public while work is going on: Listen-only plus
> >   behind-the-curtain discussions with groups perceived important
> >   (board; board committees); active outreach (some of the current
> >   task forces; counterexample: dot-org; it may be argued that
> >   dot-org registrant representation was lacking; outreach should
> >   include _exchange_ of views and arguments); outreach built into
> >   self-selected membership (working group model).
>Listen-only plus behind-the-curtain dicussions
>  - intransparent process
>  - privileges powerful groups with close contacts to e.g. board
>  - decisions may face (surprising amounts of) criticism
>  + not very costly ;)

Yes :),  democracy carries a price tag.

>Active outreach
>  + more transparency by actively collecting input
>  + depending on method, more informed input
>  - active outreach leads to follow-up work
>  - quality of responses may vary considerably

- outreach can be engineered to cover a specific audience.

>    which may make weighting difficult
>Outreach built into WG membership
>  + exchange of views possible
>  - may additionally favour WG members which are eloquent
>    and permanently online
>  + high level of transparency
>  - may not reach out to all groups
>  - probably better suited for individuals than groups (?)
>(Obviously, adding the + and - is not sufficient.)
> >   Additional options (orthogonal): Public archives of discussions;
> >   dedicated comment periods.
> >
> > - Interaction with the board: Through intermediate body (DNSO
> >   process via names council; may or may not have power to modify
> >   input from WG); directly (board committees).
>This is perhaps the most interesting question. Do intermediate
>bodies refine the policies and work as a checks-and-balances
>system -- or do they blur responsibilities, alter the bottom-up
>nature of the process and create a superfluous layer inbetween?
>(Both probably?)

  The intermediate nature is necessary to make the bottom-up process 
workable and on-the-record.
Policies do get better formulated if they are subject to a longer and more 
participative process.

Direct input with Board committees will favour professional lobby groups.

Thanks Thomas and Alexander for starting this fundamental re-think thread.

--Joop Teernstra LL.M.--
   interim webmaster
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