[CCWG-ACCT] An implication of accountability models being discussed

Steve DelBianco sdelbianco at netchoice.org
Mon Jul 13 18:47:47 UTC 2015

George and Steve may want to delve into past accountability problems, but I agree with Jonathan Zuck’s forward-looking perspective.

When we designed Stress Tests for this transition, we deliberately avoided re-visiting incidents from the past. That’s because any recitation of a particular accountability incident will inevitably generate objections about how we describe what happened.   You can just hear people commenting, “That’s not exactly what happened.” or “there were other factors at work.” etc.

Instead of reliving history, the Stress Test team designed plausible scenarios that would test whether our proposal(s) would let the AC/SO community challenge the corporation for its decisions, actions or inactions, and hold the corporation accountable.

That said, it’s easy to see that some of the stress test scenarios are modeled on incidents that have occurred in the recent past.   But by generalizing with future scenarios, we get the benefit of stress testing — without the baggage of arguing over what actually happened in the past.


From: <accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org<mailto:accountability-cross-community-bounces at icann.org>> on behalf of Steve Crocker
Date: Monday, July 13, 2015 at 2:32 PM
To: George Sadowsky
Cc: Accountability Cross Community
Subject: Re: [CCWG-ACCT] An implication of accountability models being discussed

[George’s note and this note were not coordinated in advance nor have he and I had this discussion.]


I very much like your proposed approach.  I suspect the first step is actually quite hard and contentious.  For each of the incidents of concern, I suspect different people have strongly different views on what happened.  It may require getting some neutral people to listen carefully to the competing views, gather the facts and present them in a balanced form.  I am not happy having to say this, but I think that’s the environment we’re working in.  Many of the people have strong ideas as to whether the right thing or the wrong thing was done, and their presentations frequently support their conclusions.


On Jul 13, 2015, at 12:49 PM, George Sadowsky <george.sadowsky at gmail.com<mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com>> wrote:


[These are my personal opinions, and in no way are they meant to represent the opinions of anyone else or of any organization.]

Thank you for this note.  I believe that it provides a balanced perspective from which to discuss issues of accountability.

I'd like to suggest a next step in the direction of due diligence.  For each of the alleged misbehaviors, in Jonathan Zuck's or any others' lists, I suggest that the ideal way to proceed would be to:

1. Reach a common understanding of what the facts are and what really happened.

2. Characterize why the alleged misbehavior violated community norms or bylaws, or was inappropriate in any other way.

3. Discuss and decide what would/could have happened if any one of the several accountability models currently being discussed had been in force.

4. Discuss whether the proposed changes would be overkill, with respect to this specific incident only, i.e. judging whether the response is proportional to the alleged misbehavior.

I know that this is not possible in the large, but I think that it would be instructive, certainly for me, to choose some examples and work them through.

This suggestion is not meant to sidetrack the issue of developing an appropriate accountability structure for its own sake. As Malcolm notes, "accountability is
desirable per se, and improvements should be put in place because they are
desirable in their own right."  That's an important part of the equation also.

I seek serious conversations on this subject in Paris.   Anyone else?


On Jul 13, 2015, at 6:48 AM, Malcolm Hutty <malcolm at linx.net<mailto:malcolm at linx.net>> wrote:

On 2015-07-13 04:48, George Sadowsky wrote:
But I would like to push back on your belief that past practice, while
interesting, is not relevant to our discussion.  I believe that it is
relevant, if only to agree with George Santayana's statement that
people who do not understand history are doomed to repeat it.
But it should also help the CCWG, in that where there is factually
verified and agreed upon evidence of out of bounds behavior by the
Board (or for that matter any other organization in the ICANN orbit),
one of your "stress  tests"should be to discuss what kind of reaction
that behavior would produce if one or more of your accountability
models had been in place at the time.  I would think that this is a
necessary test of any new accountability proposal.  Wouldn't not doing
this be a failure of due diligence?

Generally I agree with Jonathan when he says that accountability is
desirable per se, and improvements should be put in place because they are
desirable in their own right, and should not have to be justified by
reference to some past misdemeanour they are intended to correct.

On the other hand, the advice I quote above from George is also compelling:
if we fail to address identifiable problems that have arisen before, then
that would be delinquency on our part.

So it seems to me that the question of past issues is not symmetrical:
evidence of past problems is relevant input to justify a proposed accountability
improvement, but a lack of evidence of past misbehaviour is not relevant
input as to why a proposed accountability improvement is not necessary.

          Malcolm Hutty | tel: +44 20 7645 3523

George Sadowsky                     Residence tel: +1.802.457.3370
119 Birch Way                          GSM mobile: +1.202.415.1933
Woodstock, VT  05091-7986  USA         SMS: 2024151933 at txt.att.net<mailto:2024151933 at txt.att.net>
george.sadowsky at gmail.com<mailto:george.sadowsky at gmail.com>           http://www.georgesadowsky.org/
Skype: sadowsky                           twitter: @georgesadowsky

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