I've been asking people what improvements are needed in ICANN, and here is a (non-exhaustive) list that includes comments that I have received as well as my own thoughts. Comments very welcome, here or via email. Obviously, these suggestions are not intended to, and do not, bind the Board in any way. This is merely a list.
1. Transparency [text in italic font comes from ICANN’s bylaws]
ICANN and its constituent bodies shall operate to the maximum extent feasible in an open and transparent manner and consistent with procedures designed to ensure fairness.
1.1 Detailed minutes (example: “SC agreed but listed the following concerns about status of MoU discussion that would need to be addressed publicly: 1, 2, 3 [details]”) to be published of Board conference calls within 5 business days of calls.
1.2 Web site must include “a docket of all pending policy development matters, including their schedule and current status”.
1.3 Web site must include “information on ICANN's budget, annual audit, financial contributors and the amount of their contributions, and related matters” (information is out of date)
1.4 Manager for Public Participation must be appointed. There shall be a staff position designated as Manager of Public Participation, or such other title as shall be determined by the President, that shall be responsible, under the direction of the President, for coordinating the various aspects of public participation in ICANN, including the Website and various other means of communicating with and receiving input from the general community of Internet users.
1.5 We need to make better tools available for policy development purposes.
1.6 We need to have all correspondence (not selected correspondence) to and from ICANN posted promptly online.
1.6.1 There should be a single point of contact at ICANN for all ICANN correspondence – a named staff member who is responsible for ensuring that letters get to the right entities/people within ICANN and are promptly posted.
1.6.2 All correspondence from ICANN that is closely related to ICANN’s policy development forum role (everything except, e.g., communications with meeting-services vendors) should be posted.
1.7 We need promptly to respond to correspondence. Both ALAC and GNSO have complained that they receive no acknowledgement for communications.
1.8 Bloggers and large-entity journalists should be treated equally when ICANN makes announcements of “press conferences.”
1.9 We need to publicly explain why ICANN runs a root server.
1.10 We need to post all reports given at meetings -- preferably before the meeting. In general, the "proceedings" of meetings should be provided online.
2.1 Web site must include information about availability of Independent Review. The current page, http://www.icann.org/committees/indreview/, doesn’t give this information. ICANN needs to post the procedures for Independent Review, information about the body with which it has made arrangements for Independent Review, and the policies that body has adopted. . The IRP operating procedures, and all petitions, claims, and declarations, shall be posted on the Website when they become available.
2.2 We need to formally consider whether the current Reconsideration and Independent Review procedures leave ICANN’s actions essentially unreviewed – as made clear in the recent fracas over the Reconsideration requests filed in connection with the VeriSign settlement.
3.1 We need to have a review of the ALAC, as they have requested.
3.2 We need to begin discussing changes to the structure of the GNSO, even before we hear back from the LSE. The GNSO’s views of its powers, and the power that the Bylaws give them, do not necessarily fit with ICANN’s actual structure.
3.3 The UDRP has never been reviewed.
4.1 The Public Forum may not be working well. A good format would be to have topics, and a panel of 3-5 staff or committee people associated with that topic, and an open microphone for the floor. Instead of a powerpoint by the staff, we could perhaps start with a staff-prepared discussion paper of no more than 10 pages, issued a week before, a short introduction by staff reviewing that paper and telling people where things stand and who is responsible for doing what, then open it up to floor, Board, staff.
4.2 We need to treat remote participants as equals – post all emails somewhere findable, have comments routinely read (not summarized).
4.3 We need to stop reading reports at meetings.
4.4 Consider committing to, as of 2008, alternating between Vancouver/Toronto and Amsterdam, or Singapore and Amsterdam – two predictable locations that are major airport hubs.
4.5 We need to have ICANN staff run standardized meeting arrangements, rather than relying on local hosts to take on the expense of making these arrangements themselves.
5. gTLD accreditation
5.1 We need to create an accreditation process for new gTLDs that (i) involves only the following elements and that (ii) can be made quickly operational:
1. adequate technical ability
2. adequate financial status
3. agreement to abide by future consensus policies
4. gating – only X new gTLDs per year
In my view, the current “beauty contest” approach has not served ICANN or the public well. .
6. Other policy/operational issues
6.1 IDNs (much to discuss here -- what's realistic?)
6.2 Excellence in IANA