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RE: [ga] The BC Position on ICANN Evolution and Reform

The logic behind the Business Constituency's rather unique interpretation of "consensus" is actually even more bizarre if you look at it closely.

The argument goes that generally members of the business constituency are too busy to want to be bothered with participating in a mailing list; consequently, the officers should have delegated power to state "draft positions", which will become "official positions" if there is no comment on the list. See the flaw? If businesses are too busy to read or participate in mailing lists.... then how can silence be interpreted as acceptance?

From a personal perspective, participating in this constituency on behalf of Basic Fusion over the last month has been extremely frustrating, not because I did not get my way (I fully accept that the positions I took were often minority ones) but because of the strange rules and frequent disregard for process that are used within the constituency to stifle open debate. 

One particular example of these strange rules is the Constituency's "Communication Guidelines" which can be seen at http://www.bizconst.org/bccomms.htm. Under these guidelines, the list moderator "... may composite replies on the same topic, change the subject line, remove trailing e-mails, or take any other action designed to make reading the e-mails clear and simple for members." A consequence of this is that it is often impossible to follow email trails (responses to a posted topic almost always have their headings changed), and that an individual posting can find itself tagged on to the end of three postings composited together, relegating a particular contribution in terms of importance.

Although a BC-bashing session per se is clearly not useful on this mailing list, I do think that the manner in which the BC operates is pertinent to the current discussions on ICANN reform, since it highlights just how idealistic it is to think that a privatised policy-making function like ICANN can work efficiently and well. The reality is that the lack of accountability within ICANN has allowed a small cadre to effectively adopt the BC as a platform for ensuring their own viewpoint has disproportionate weight in the process. 

Personally, I don't think that the ICANN reform group should be looking to create another policy function whether 100% private, 50/50 private/public, 100% public or anything. Rather they should be looking at how to create a DNS governance structure that allows maximum input for the market into how the DNS develops, and minimal input from unaccountable individuals and organisations that arrogantly proclaim to represent the "will of the internet community".

andy duff

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-ga-full@dnso.org [mailto:owner-ga-full@dnso.org]On Behalf Of
Sent: 19 April 2002 06:29
To: ga@dnso.org
Subject: [ga] The BC Position on ICANN Evolution and Reform

The Business Constituency website now states:

<<BC position on ICANN Evolution and Reform
This paper, authored by Marilyn Cade, is now accepted as a BC Position.>>

Needless to say, there are no changes in this document (even in spite of the 
extensive list of questions prepared for Marilyn).  So, one might ask, how 
exactly does the BC arrive at a "position"?  

The BC website offers a succinct explanation:  <<The draft position will be 
circulated for comment or posted on the web site. Members will be notified 
that there will be a 14 days’ period for comment.  If no comments are 
received the position will be deemed approved.>>

The problem with this approach is that within the BC, members rarely, if 
ever, participate on the mailing list (this is one of the reasons that the BC 
refuses to publicly archive their list  -- they are embarrassed by the fact 
that almost no one in their constituency ever has anything to say (with the 
exception of Jefsey and Andy Duff), and they need to hide the fact that 
almost all decisions and positions are exclusively made by only three people, 
Phil, Marilyn and Grant, without the benefit of any other member input 

So, in short... Marilyn quickly drafted something to throw up on the 
website... as usual no one had anything to say... and that became the BC 

Spend some time and look at the document.  You will find that it is one of 
the most vaguest non-substantive pieces of paper produced by this almost 
useless constituency that can't be bothered to propose any specific solutions 
to our current set of problems.  All the more reason why the BC should be 
de-commissioned as a constituency in the restructured ICANN.  We don't need 
both this group and the IP lobby (just one will suffice, and these two appear 
to be no more than mirror images of each other anyway).

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