Hot Doings in the ALSC Forum
Date: Wednesday September 26 2001, @11:08AM
Topic: Membership Issues

One of the things that makes serious ICANN-watching nearly impossible is that there are too many mailing lists. Only people paid by someone to do ICANN full time would be able to keep abreast of them all. So one might easily miss the fascinating debates being carried out on the relatively obscure ICANN At-Large Study Committee (ALSC) mailing list. There are a few don't miss items, and then quite a few more that may also be of interest. Chief among the don't miss items is a debate between Joe Sims, eminance gris of ICANN, and Donald Simon of Common Cause. But there's more too...

Joe Sims – speaking quite unofficially, of course – started it, by basically trashing the NAIS report in a posting entitled, Evaluation of NAIS and ALSC Reports. Sims has made a 3-year project of underming the deal forced on him by the US Department of Commerce. So far, he's gotten his way, and the ALSC represents a chance to cement the victory. ALSC good. NAIS bad.

This prompted a spirited response by Donald Simon, entitled NAIS report and Joe Sims. A sample: "Joe's analysis, however, contains so many mis-characterizations of our work that I can only conclude he either willfully distorted our arguments, or we just haven’t explained our reasoning with sufficient clarity." (As the formatting and type on the original email is messed up, you can read a cleaner copy here.)

Both well worth reading.

Also, while you are at it, check out the interesting comments by Alexander Svensson on Three Points of Disagreement. Also, don't miss Sims's followup, in which he admits that the US forced 50% representation on ICANN, but says that this shouldn't count as a consensus. In effect, Sims admits that he intended to undermine the agreement from the start – which is precisely what he and the self-appointed Board members then did.

Real ICANN-wallowers may also be interested in a thread in which people fight over ICANN's pre-history. One of the key early moments in ICANN history was the destruction of the IFWP process which left the field largely clear for ICANN. Having been to the initial and very chaotic IFWP meeting, I've always had some sympathy for the account that the very democratic and disorganized process fell of its own weight. But there's also been a consistent counter-story, in which people claim Mike Roberts engineered its downfall by strategic sabotage – armed with the secret knowledge that he would be the CEO of ICANN if the IFWP failed. Not having been present at any of the key events, I cannot speak to the accuracy of either version. Another critical issue is what significance to read into the fact that ICANN initially proposed a scheme with minimal user representation, but the US Dept. of Commerce made it agree to have 9 seats on the board (half) reserved for end-user representatives. ICANN says this has no lasting significance, and can be ignored. Others say a deal is a deal.

Hans Klien recently offered one account of the early history in his Cyber-Federalist article. Now comes Mike Roberts with a typically forceful account of how he saw it, or wishes us to see it. Hans Klien replied as did Karl Auerbach. Then there are additional interesting comments by Mike Roberts, Hans Klien, and Mike Roberts. (Alas, the original threads also have a lot of the noise and chaff which you might expect - these are just the highlights.)

Bottom line is that Mike Roberts, like Joe Sims, thinks ICANN never promised anything regarding the membership or representation, except to do something "appropriate" (by its own judgment). Others think ICANN promised more, or had more forced on it as a condition of formal recognition, and then did the old bait-and-switch.

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Re: Hot Doings in the ALSC Forum
by joppenheimer on Friday September 28 2001, @02:02PM (#2628)
User #5 Info |
In case anyone was unclear on the prospect for further @Large elections:

3. Finally, just a point of clarification. The existing bylaws of ICANN make no provision for further At Large elections; this was the result of the Cairo Compromise, in which the Board agreed to direct elections of five directors for two years, during which time the ALSC would conduct a "clean sheet" study. Thus, any new elections require the amendment of the bylaws to insert in Article II the criteria and procedures for any such elections. So the fact is that "clean sheet" means just that -- the ICANN bylaws are a blank sheet on this subject, and any further At Large elections will require a 2/3 vote of the ICANN Board to write on that "clean sheet."
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