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[I-coordination] New: How do we dissect Internet governance? [Was: Europe at a tipping point?]

George Sadowsky george.sadowsky at
Tue Dec 17 18:24:32 CET 2013


I want to comment on your sentence "If the terminology does not fit well with the technical community's self-defined problem-space ..."

I speak as an individual wearing a number of hats.  By pigeon-holing my comments as a part of the technical community's self-defined problem space, you are asserting that I, as well as many members of the technical community, can't think outside a narrow technical box and have no interests in looking at the totality of the effects of the Internet.  This is totally unfair, and potentially the beginning of a slippery slope toward non-productive exchanges, as the history of the IGC list amply shows.

The call for a broad taxonomy is an attempt to get at issues and issue clusters so that they can be addressed individually, and to get away from representation by stakeholder prompted silos.  


I hope that there is still some room in the world, given all of the expertise that you mention below, for some contribution from thinking and common sense.   My concern is not so much a mater of defining governance (except if it gets in the say and confuses people which it seems to do here), but to get at underlying issues.

Now if you tell me that all issues are related, and we have to solve them all simultaneously, I despair of making progress.  Surely there is some separability between, say, to take two issues at opposite ends of a spectrum, packet routing policy and cybercrime.

I agree with your focus on "respective roles."  But then, lets talk about respective roles not only of a very few aggregate stakeholder groups, but also of sub-groups an maybe even of organizations.  The "stakeholder group" concept, strengthened visibly by WSIS, gets in the way of cross cutting issues, as I've argued before.


You say: "Do we really have nothing more important to be doing here at this point than redefining the wheel as just a round thingy?  I thought this list was supposed to be for coordination of multistakeholder dialogue on Sao Paulo and beyond, but it seems to alternate between being a troll paradise and the site of a lot of meandering debates on points that are generally being addressed more systematically elsewhere.  Or am I alone in this perception?"

I agree that we need to address points systematically.  Can you provide a list of systematic points (dare we call them issues?) that it would, in your view, be useful to discuss?



On Dec 17, 2013, at 11:29 AM, Milton L Mueller wrote:

> I agree with Jeremy. 
> Unless Brian and other IETF folks are going to take a crash course in international relations, political science, and institutional economics, their efforts to come up with a definition of 'governance' is likely to fall far short. 
> However, there is one aspect of the definition that badly needs to be revised. That is the reference to the "respective roles" of different stakeholder groups. As noted in my response to Adam, the division of stakeholders into "roles" was a reactionary modification of the definition insisted upon in the early stages of WSIS by a coalition of authoritarian and more conservative-thinking governments. We can and should revisit that part of the standard definition.  
> From: i-coordination-bounces at [i-coordination-bounces at] on behalf of Jeremy Malcolm [jeremy at]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 12:51 AM
> To: i-coordination at
> Subject: Re: [I-coordination] New: How do we dissect Internet governance? [Was: Europe at a tipping point?]
> On 17/12/13 08:45, George Sadowsky wrote:
>> The WGIG definition of Internet governance, the result of meetings in 2004-5, was the result of political compromise.  I think that it is not helping us here.  AS Brian says below, the notion of Internet governance mixes up too many things, and does not seem to be useful for addressing real issues.
>> Can we come up with a different vocabulary and a somewhat different structure that is much more consistent with our problem space, so that these different issues don't get confused (and yes, I understand that there may well be overlap between them)?
>> Brian, can you suggest some appropriate vocabulary and/or taxonomy?
> The wording of the WGIG definition of Internet governance is almost identical to a widely cited definition of an international regime that has a considerable body of theory behind it.  So I would hesitate to throw it out because it is unfamiliar or threatening to those who are more familiar with technical aspects of Internet governance.
> I also don't think that redefining the terms of the debate now, when governments and other stakeholders have already become comfortable with those terms and have been operating under them for years, is going to bring the stakeholders any closer together, if that is something that 1net is aiming to do.
> If the terminology does not fit well with the technical community's self-defined problem-space, or seems to extend to issues that you think are not "real issues", then maybe it is that that problem space is too narrow, rather than that the terminology is inappropriate or that those broader issues are not real.
> -- 
> Dr Jeremy Malcolm
> Senior Policy Officer
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