More on Berkman Center Will Not Webcast ICANN's Accra Meetings
Date: Saturday February 16 2002, @06:03AM
Topic: ICANN Meetings

erony writes "The notification that the Berkman Center will not be providing webcasting support for the ICANN meeting in Accra is worrisome. I fear this signals a reduction in virtual access and may be the camel's nose under the remote participation tent."

Arranging for the technical infrastructure and backup systems that such webcasts require is certainly no simple feat and one unlikely to transition seamlessly to a different operator. With no details about remote participation on its Accra meeting page, will ICANN announce that some webcast features have been curtailed? A faceless stream of words? An uncertain future for archives of that meeting?

Retaining only the audio component may be cheaper than a videocast, better than nothing at all, some might explain. Also better than being poked in the eye with a sharp stick. It is often impossible to track speakers when there is no accompanying visual and more difficult to judge the mood or response of the board through its body language during the discussion. How do those listening remotely to the meeting without viewing the speakers know to whom to respond?

Is this termination of Berkman Center's services a budget issue, the convenient whimper of "funds unavailable"? Perhaps ICANN can explain where else has the corporation reined in expenditures? What priorities does President Lynn apply in determining where to position the proverbial cost-cutting ax? Shouldn't facilitating the "open and transparent" proceedings we were originally promised deserve a higher priority than, say, maintaining a full-time PR professional on staff?

What is really needed is an examination of whether this quarterly ICANN world tour is effective. Options include a) the simplest: reduce the number of meetings to three a year; b) hold simultaneous virtual town-hall meetings with board members remaining in their own locales; c) examine whether regional participation at each meeting justifies the choices of locale and production costs.

As to c), I suspect a review of the attendee lists would reveal that 65% are core ICANN a"ssociates" who have sponsors, deep pockets, professional obligations and a pressing agenda that allows them to follow ICANN around the world --registry administrators, registrar owners, media, industry pundits and leaders. Possibly 20% are new people who attend because they have acquired a stake in ICANN's activities and must be there protect their interests. That leaves 15% who attend because of the proximity of the meeting. To get the biggest bang for the buck, perhaps the money would be better spent on developing localized infrastructure to support quarterly town hall environments all over the globe rather than pricey, temporal accommodations for a four-day appearance in a four-star hotel.

FWIW, participants (physical/remote) according to pre-registration records of people who consented to be listed (caveat: these figures do not represent actual attendees)

In 2001:

  • MDR01: 778 (physical) 112 (remote)
  • Montevideo: 474 (physical) 143 (remote)
  • Stockholm: 633 (physical) 118 (remote)
  • Melbourne: 921 (physical) 165 (remote)

Pre-registrants to date for Accra, only three weeks away: 128

It should be obvious that attendance will be reduced when a prerequisite is a series of vaccination shots for yellow fever, beginning 8 weeks prior to the meeting. All the more reason that people who cannot physically follow ICANN on its world tour of exotic locales should have the opportunity to monitor the events virtually and participate in the forum as if they were sitting in the audience.

Ellen Rony
Co-author, The Domain Name Handbook: High Stakes and Strategies in Cyberspace

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Improvement to Ellen's remote participation statis
by BenEdelman on Sunday February 17 2002, @08:05PM (#4910)
User #3219 Info |
One quick note on Ellen's comments --

It seems that Ellen has calculated the number of remote participation participants by finding the day of each series of ICANN meetings with maximum participation, and reporting the number of distinct non-anonymous participants who accessed the remote participation system on that day.

For example, reports that 66 distinct individuals participated remotely on November 12, 2001, 93 on Nov 13, 53 on Nov 14, and 112 on Nov 15. (See the four links entitled "Remote Participant List" under the headings for the corresponding days. Note the count of signups at the bottom of each list.) Notice that 112 is the max of these four numbers, and it's also the number Ellen reported above. A quick perusal of the other recent meeting archives suggests that Ellen followed the same procedure for the other meetings she lists above.

However, to the extent that some remote participants participate on one day but not others, Ellen's method is in error, and the true remote participation numbers are therefore higher. I haven't previously sat down to determine the number of total distinct non-anonymous remote participants per meeting, but that's certainly a statistic that can readiliy be calculated using the data publicly posted online. Alternatively, the links entitled "Remote Participants by Geographic Region" (within each Meeting Archive) provide related summary information. (See , for example.)

In short: There previously have been more remote participants than Ellen suggests -- and, I think, likely "substantially" more.
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Vint Cerf says the resolutions will be webcast
by fnord ( on Tuesday February 19 2002, @12:38AM (#4965)
User #2810 Info
In a note to the GA list, Vint Cerf says in total:
the meeting will be webcast.

I believe provision is being made for online questions during the meetings - ICANN staff will need to confirm.

The agenda should be firmer by the beginning of next week.

So was it much ado about nothing? We'll still have to wait. If it's ICANN staff minding the online questions, that's a recipe for disaster. Will also have to see if there's a realtime scribe and remote participant chat. Neither of those should break the budget, in their absence they could even be done by those without official ICANN accreditation via IRC. -g

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Re: More on Berkman Center Will Not Webcast ICANN'
by fnord ( on Sunday February 17 2002, @09:34AM (#4904)
User #2810 Info
Yes, you win a dancing iGhana. Alas, being Anon you are facially invalid so the prize cannot be delivered. The judges (following the French judge having been sent home under a cloud of suspicion) have now decided to award you a consolation prize. You can pick it up here. And remember, it's not whether you win or lose, its how you game to win. Thanks for playing. -g
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