I've given two examples where something backed by Esther Dyson make it into ICANN atlarge discussion as kewl apps that can be used. In neither case did she put them forward and say: I have no personal or financial interest in this, or I do have a personal or financial interest in this, which used to be the standard in the tech community, and thankfully still is in some backwaters. It's called full disclosure.|
Indeed, Esther didn't need to make this disclosure, it wasn't her putting these solutions before the public directly, in the first case it was Pindar Wong (who neglected to point out the Esther connection, it was pointed out by you as it happens). In the latter case the app was brought forward by you, so seeing as you're here, were you aware of the Esther connection? If so, why not mention it? If not, may I ask who brought it to your attention, or did you find it via a search, on AskJeeves for example, for, say: How do I meet up with ICANN at large people in real life? Nope, that can't be it, Jeeves tells me there is no life at atlarge.
Didn't Esther once suggest giving you an atlarge job (no doubt only after the same exhaustive employee search ICANN used to find Kent Crispin), and BTW what ever happened with that? Well, I guess that means you must be a bright lad but let me spell it out for you. Esther is using her position, whatever that amorphous position is at the moment, to reward friends, cronies, those with whom she has a financial interest. If the atlarge has a problem with meeting in person, or a problem with verifying voters, then there may well be various solutions. Now in a perfect world, or even the world that originally built this internet thing, if there was a problem various solutions could be put forward for evaluation, perhaps via a maillist or newsgroup or position papers or RFCs.
The community would then try to agree on what they considered the best solution and give it a try, that is: rough consensus and running code, and surprise, it worked, spectacularily. If someone proposed a solution in which they had a personal or financial interest it was fully disclosed so that others could evaluate the proposal including that self-interest. It isn't automatically wrong that someone puts forward a solution in which they have an interest, after all they are likely to know more about it than others, and it may actually objectively be the best solution. But the proposer needs to have their inherent bias factored out of the equation, and by others lacking bias, and heaven help that proposer if they didn't fully disclose that interest and it later came to light. Nothing they subsequently said could or would be trusted. Thankfully this was a situation which rarely occurred because we were lucky enough to have a lot of people with class. Or perhaps it was just that they had a grounding in science and understood that solutions to problems had to be divorced from hidden variables, but I remain the eternal optimist.
Compare and contrast that with the current ICANN. If the atlarge needs a solution the only one put forward is one in which Esther has an (undisclosed) interest. If ICANN needs a techie on staff, or to run an ICANN atlarge election, or an atlarge website, do they look for the best solution and fully disclose their self-interest? Does the applicant? When ICANN rolls out new TLDs do they fully disclose all the incestuous relationships of the winning major players (still being discovered and reported by others, almost by the hour, on the ICANN new TLD forum)? When ICANN rebids .org, does BoD Director Rob Blokzijl engage in full disclosure about his spouse? Do most of those who support, or oppose, the WLS engage in full disclosure? No, no, no, nil, nyet, nix, nada, no and no.
There you have it, laddies and germs. That is why ICANN continues to have problems and cannot find solutions. That is why there is, and can be, no trust. That is why corporate America is crashing. No-one ever bothers these days to AskJeeves about ethics, about class, about trust, let alone about altruism. Those dark places you speak of are due to unenlightened self-interest. I hope you brought your flashlight because the elevator of this mineshaft has its button stuck on Down and we're nowhere near the bottom... yet. -g