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    Highlights of the ICANNWatch Archive
    (June 1999 - March 2001)

    ICANN Staff and Structure Esther Dyson Issues a 'Constructive Challenge' to ICANN
    posted by michael on Friday March 15 2002, @02:44AM

    Esther Dyson had a clever idea, and posted it to the GA List: ICANN should hire Alexander Svensson to manage At-Large outreach for the next year. Anticipating the reply that ICANN is broke (those luxury hotels in far-away places don't come cheap), Ms. Dyson has pledged $10,000 of her own money towards his salary and called for matching funds. This is an awfully smart (and generous) move. Will the estimable Mr. Svensson interrupt his doctoral studies and say yes? If so, dare ICANN say no?

    Body text of the Dyson e-mail [To's stripped to save them some spam]:

    Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 05:30:04 -0500
    Subject: [icann-alsg] Substance over rhetoric - a constructive challenge

    [sorry for any double-postings]

    Substance over Rhetoric:

    A constructive challenge to the ICANN board, staff and other involved parties.

    Yesterday the board of ICANN approved continued work on an At-Large membership “mechanism” and stated that it “wishes to move forward with energy and enthusiasm to build a meaningful structure for informed participation by the full range of Internet users, and seeks avenues to achieve these objectives that are bottom-up, self-organized, and self-sustaining.”

    I would like to take these words at their face value and, before leaving Accra, make some concrete suggestions for moving forward. It’s obvious that ICANN itself has few resources (whatever its intentions) to move the ALM forward, and indeed the major activity needs to come bottom-up, from the community itself. There is no staff person with spare time to dedicate to this effort, and from the community side, there are feelings ranging from betrayal and hostility to indifference. How can we mend this situation?

    For starters, this message is an attempt at transparency and concreteness. Other than noncommittal discussions with Alexander Svensson (more below) and a couple of the ALSC members, I have not lined up support for these proposals. So these ideas are fresh and unvetted: I hope that those of you I am addressing directly will respond in kind, with ccs to all…

    The basic idea is to move forward in tangible ways with the formation of a coherent, tangible At-Large membership, supported by a fulltime, committed, paid individual staffer as well as volunteer efforts.

    It will require funding from a variety of parties (we cannot depend on ICANN alone) and some concrete actions. This does not require broad consensus, but rather the actions of a few parties who I hope can ultimately gather broad support for their efforts. The Board on its side is lukewarm/negative on elections, but willing for the most part to respond to evidence of a committed, transparent, issue-focused At-Large that could provide constructive input representing the public interest in ICANN policies (aside from its own role).

    I’d like to suggest the following:

    ICANN hires Alexander Svensson to manage At-Large outreach for the next year. This position will be funded (here’s the challenge!) by my $10,000 pledge, matched by institutions such as Harvard’s Berkman Center (which spent at least that much to send its own team to Ghana to observe the recent meeting), Markle, Bertelsmann, and the like, and a variety of interested companies who at least in principle have supported the notion of an At-large membership. And perhaps even ICANN can allocate a small sum with “energy and enthusiasm.”

    I have talked with Alexander. He is a PhD student from Hamburg, Germany, who is studying ICANN and is currently chairman of the DNSO General Assembly. With some encouragement from a few more people, I think he would be willing to serve. So far, he has demonstrated himself to be impartial and sensible and has the calm, unassuming personality that should enable him to do this job effectively. His first task would be to take over from Denise Michel (the executive director of the ALSC) all the communications, databases, lists of interested parties and other connections that will enable the transformation of the ALSC At-Large Study Committee into an At-Large Organizing effort. Denise has agreed to help with the transition.

    Once settled in, he should get in touch with all the individuals and organizations interested in furthering the At-Large and help them to self-organize. In addition, he will manage the online discussion (my suggestion is for one reference list, completely uncensored except for spam) and one or two moderated lists that ideally will focus on ICANN substance things such as name-registration policies and international domain names as well as on the role of the At-Large.

    Ideally, the At-Large discussion should be focused on ICANN policies rather than just winning a seat at the table. Alexander may choose to present a variety of topics, offering substance and questions for discussion (for example, how should new TLDs be chosen, if at all?), making the At-Large a forum for learning as well as expression of opinions.

    Alexander should also act as a liaison/staff to those ICANN Board members who wish to work with him, so that the At-Large can have an additional, active channel/advocate with the Board.

    What happens after that? A lot is still up in the air, with the board meeting in a private retreat in the next month or two, followed by the Bucharest board meeting at the end of June. At the same time, there will be actions and statements by a variety of other parties, including various governments, and responses to the Lynn “reform” proposal.

    An incipient At-Large membership should be part of that mix. The discussions moderated by Alexander should help determine where it all goes.

    So, I challenge all of you to support such an effort…or to come up with better or additional activities. Thank you for your attention.

    Please reply with any questions or constructive comments.

    Esther Dyson

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  • Alexander Svensson
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    Esther Dyson Issues a 'Constructive Challenge' to ICANN | Log in/Create an Account | Top | 5 comments | Search Discussion
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    Re: Esther Dyson Issues a 'Constructive Challenge'
    by joppenheimer on Friday March 15 2002, @08:49AM (#5317)
    User #5 Info | http://JudithOppenheimer.com
    ICANN abolishes Net democracy, but Esther steps in
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re: Esther Dyson Issues a 'Constructive Challenge'
    by fnord (groy2kNO@SPAMyahoo.com) on Friday March 15 2002, @10:37AM (#5319)
    User #2810 Info
    Karl Auerbach responds on the ALSC list. -g
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
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