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[I-coordination] What is 1net to me?

John Curran jcurran at
Thu Dec 5 02:51:55 CET 2013

On Dec 5, 2013, at 8:56 AM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at> wrote:

> On Wed, Dec 04, 2013 at 10:15:45PM +0000, John Curran wrote:
>> The 1net Steering Committee could decide to focus on primarily administrative 
>> matters and facilitating the production of 1net outcomes by the participants 
>> at large on this list and other collaborative mechanisms (this would be taking 
>> 1net towards the "open" multistakeholderism approach) or alternatively it could 
>> focus on processes that emphasize the role of the 1net steering committee in 
>> the shaping and approval of 1net outcomes (i.e. taking a more "representative" 
>> multistakeholderism approach)
> The above illustrates almost perfectly why I am unconvinced that we
> need to "seat" (for some value of "we" and "seat") a steering
> committee.  Let those whose great efforts have got us this far
> continue in the same mode they've been operating, given their apparent
> attention to how people are reacting and the feedback loop provided by
> this list.  "Seating" a "steering committee" smacks, to me, of some
> kind of self-referential and self-granted "legitimacy".  A bunch of
> people saying, "Hey, I'll do that," on the basis of their reading of
> the concerns on a mailing list is less _nominally_ legit, but (I
> argue) more _actually_ legit.

That mode of operation works perfectly well, and reflects very much the IETF's
approach of generally allowing those of common interest to form working groups 
and develop solutions for various problems with the market deciding which serve
a purpose and thus get utilized (i.e. protocols are voluntarily adopted, so why
not let the market sort it out...)  A slightly higher level of organization is
called for when it comes to Internet registry operations, since those who wish
to use IP addresses or DNS names (which are globally coordinated to be unique)
do not have the same level of choice whether to make use of the policies used in 
registry management.  The general solution to this type of situation is to make
use of member-based organizations, so that the establishment of the required 
terms, conditions, and services have some degree of representation of those 
who are affected, i.e. the addition of structure is not capricious; it serves
an important need.

Move up into areas where you might have governments involved, and it's very
important to be clear on the degree of representation involved in producing
outcomes, and while support of "an significant mailing list" might be valued,
formal consideration by non-governmental organizations and institutions from
across society is often an essential step if we're to have valid outcomes which 
actually warrant consideration by those beyond just the technical community.

(Note - there are likely some on this mailing list that can enunciate all of 
these issues far better than I, but suffice to say that various representative
structures, such as ICANN's constituencies and IGF's Multistakeholder Advisory 
Group, have arose out of valid expressions of concern and not purely lack of 
understanding of the open participatory model of the IETF and the Regional 
Internet Registries.)

> Many of us are naturally organizers -- "process people".  We want to
> normalize.  But our current effort is a foundational activity, and I
> suggest that there's a lot of scrabbling in the dirt to do before it's
> time to lay more permanent foundations.  We have enthusiastic
> volunteers who are working on this stuff now.  We have a large engaged
> population that is watching the developments.  If we're going to take
> a run at the existing structure, we need to do it, I suggest, in the
> sort of completely decentralised, voluntarily-co-operative manner that
> the rest of the Net runs.

I support much of that approach, but also respect that it is not the only 
working model for producing outcomes.  If we're really trying to provide 
for community-wide efforts on an equal footing for all, we have to be 
receptive in our approaches to communities which have already organized 
via representative coalitions.  If this means establishing only "interim" 
foundations and revisiting incrementally based on lessons learned, then 
I'd suggest that we proceed accordingly.


Disclaimer: My views alone.

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