Stockholm Summary
Date: Tuesday June 05 2001, @05:23PM
Topic: ICANN Meetings

So, what happened in Stockholm? Not much on the surface other than the ccTLD revolt. Still, ICANN made a few decisions. Here's a quick, slightly opinionated, summary, plus some comments on ICANN's own PR spin of the meeting.


  • unanimously approved a motion by Jonathan Cohen to approve minutes for a previous meeting, only to discover that the minutes they had approved were never circulated. (See sec. IV.A here.) To his great credit, Andy Müller-Maguhn abstained, saying he hadn't read them; a few minutes later we learn no one else, including the proposer of the motion, had either. Kinda makes you wonder about the rest of these decisions...
  • "carefully considered the comments received" on the draft budget but ignored them and then went right ahead and approved a budget that has zero dollars for elections, and a hefty increase in staff and salaries and travel;
  • approved an additional fee to "accredit" registrars who are already accredited but want to offer more than TLD - even though this doesn't appear to actually take $500 worth of effort for anyone per registrar per TLD. Those little taxes do add up;
  • approved a resolution on new Regional Internet Registries that leaves some of the juicy details to be determined by the staff -- although Board members seemed to be aware of this issue, so it might not turn out to be a serious problem (we hope);
  • decided, contrary to its earlier stance during the VeriSign deal debate, that the fate of .org maybe is the kind of policy issue that the DNSO should have a say in, and referred the issue of .org's future to it;
  • created a "task force" for the "evaluation" of new TLDs to be formed and chaired by ICANNWatch reader M. Stuart Lynn "and consisting of members selected with the advice of the Names and Protocol Councils and the Chairs of the IETF, IAB, and ICANN DNS Root Server System Advisory Committee" (odd list: why not the DNSO, the ASO and the PSO?).
  • heard from a lot of grumpy people, not least the ccTLDs who want Board seats of their own (although the amount of time for live public comments continued to be small, and the reading of e-comments continued to be limited).
The real action may be elsewhere. News coverage was pretty mixed, verging on negative. And people keep calling me or e-mailing me and telling me they are mad about stuff. I expect more fireworks next meeeting, and especially in LA.

I'll give ICANN credit for one thing: by the time most people landed in Stockholm there was an actual agenda, and the text of several Board resolutions had been circulated. That's a lot better than last time, and I hope it represents a sign of the new management rather than a reflection that relatively little was at stake.

Even so, a couple of days notice still isn't nearly good enough. Barring emergencies, draft Board resolutions should be published 21 days before a meeting. Then they could be translated, people might actually be able to make informed decisions as to whether to attend, and Board members might be able to consult with people about the resolutions. Until and unless the Board requires this sort of notice from the staff, it can never really run things, and it might just as well carry on approving documents it has never seen. (Come to think of it, that's what it did with the new gTLD contracts the first time they came to the Board, and effectively what it did the second time.)

PR Watch: ICANN's press release/announcement emailed to the icann-announce list trumpeting the conclusion of the meeting is mostly smoke and mirrors. It has a nice puffy quote from ICANNWatch Reader Lynn about how great the meeting was ("The meeting was a great success...There was substantive discussion on some key issues"), refers to attendees as "delegates" as if there were some great representative event going on, and then says this--and only this!--about what was actually decided:

Board Action Taken At This Meeting:

* Passed the budget for the next financial year starting 1 July 2001
* Adopted a new fee structure for Registrars
* Launched a process to evaluate the new TLDs
* The Board also informally encouraged the President to complete and post his ICANN policy paper on a single authoritative root

Leaving aside the almost complete absence of evidence of this 'encouragement' from the scribe's notes of the meeting (maybe someone who was present or saw the Real Video can post an explanatory comment?), one has to ask exactly how one man's opinions have become an ICANN "policy paper", and whether a revealed "policy" of this sort is on track to become a "consensus policy" or some other sort?

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Policy or discussion draft?
by kodo ( on Wednesday June 06 2001, @11:43AM (#757)
User #21 Info |
Judith Oppenheimer had an excellent question during Lynn's report ("Presentation of Discussion Draft on a Unique Authoritative Root for the DNS").

(This was Judith's question but, I sent it in for her. There was a problem with the public comments submission form during the meeting. So, in the archives I am listed as the author.)

Policy or discussion draft? The document cannot be both, but as Mr. Lynn has stated during his presentation that his posting reflects ICANN policy, I'd like to know the citation for that ICANN policy.

This was an excellent question. Lynn referred to it as policy before it has even become policy! Could this be a foreshadowing of what to expect in Montevideo?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
The word masturbatory comes to mind.
by joppenheimer on Wednesday June 06 2001, @07:22AM (#753)
User #5 Info |
Re "I actually think he believes what he said. " in the comment above, see I think Stuart Lynn has displayed grotesque ignorance and/or dishonesty.

Also, I asked Vint Cerf on Monday, "What is the citation, the URL please!, for Stuart Lynn's repeated insistence that there is in existence a consensus ICANN policy on alt roots?"

He replied,

> the draft consensus policy is found at the ICANN home page,

With all due respect to Vint, the word masturbatory comes to mind.

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