[bc-gnso] Changes to the ICANN Public Forum format

Steve DelBianco sdelbianco at netchoice.org
Mon Apr 8 09:57:20 UTC 2013

Note that ICANN is changing the format for Public Forum comments, starting this week in Beijing. (see post from the Chairman below).

Topics for public forum have not yet been posted but should appear here<http://beijing46.icann.org/node/37211> soon.

Changes to the Public Forum


As we go into the Beijing meeting, I am struck by the manner in which ICANN meetings are defined by the open exchange of ideas.

In no small way, the meetings form the foundation for discussion, agreement and often-respectful disagreement. It is not merely an opportunity to speak; it is also a chance to listen, to hear different voices that carry a multitude of opinions. Even in this era of instant Internet-facilitated communication, I still believe there is great value in our interpersonal exchanges.

The Public Forum session at our meetings affords an opportunity for Board members to listen and engage the community face to face. The session always has been, and will remain, a defining example of transparent dialog.

In that context, we will make some changes to the Public Forum session in Beijing (scheduled for Thursday, 11 April), so we can hear from as many community members as possible and also to encourage new members to speak freely.

Here are the changes:

  *   During that portion of the Public Forum where we address a specific subject for a specific amount of time, we will have the Board member who chairs the appropriate Board committee, or the member with the greatest subject expertise, moderate that specific discussion.
  *   Each speaker will get two chances to address the specific issue as it is discussed.
     *   Two minutes to make initial remarks (just like what occurred during the Toronto meeting).
     *   Two minutes later in the queue for any possible follow-up remarks.
  *   Following the subject-specific portion of the session, we will have a more-relaxed open-microphone portion to discuss other business.
     *   Any subject may be discussed.
     *   Speakers will be limited to two two-minute opportunities.

Our hope is that these new guidelines will open the Public Forum to more voices and avoid the trap of hearing the same voices over and over again.

For me, those unheard voices are the ones that concern me most.

Again, the Public Forum is intended to encourage dialogue. It is not designed to be a venue for lobbying or pontification. Questions are preferable to comments, and both are preferable to elongated statements.

I welcome, and strongly encourage, those with new ideas, questions or concerns to engage the Board during the Public Forum. We have established an email address where you can send questions and/or suggestions as to which topics you feel deserve dedicated time-slots during the Public Forum session in Beijing. The address is public_forum at icann.org<mailto:public_forum at icann.org>.

Finally, if during the Public Forum, someone makes your point, please consider the option of silence, over that of time-consuming repetition. In doing so, you could be giving new voices the opportunity to be heard.

I look forward to seeing you, and listening to you, in Beijing!

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