[gnso-rpm-wg] Message from the Co-Chairs Regarding Email List Management

Mary Wong mary.wong at icann.org
Fri May 5 16:34:13 UTC 2017

Dear all,

Please see the message below from all the three Co-Chairs of this Working Group.

Last week we learned that the Co-Chair of another PDP Working Group had placed a temporary halt on ongoing discussions because the volume of emails had grown so large, and the discussion so diffuse, that no one could any longer keep up with the dialogue or identify the main focus of discussion.

While your Co-Chairs have not yet felt the need to impose a similar moratorium, we are aware that certain discussion strings have of late totaled dozens of emails, and have occasionally wandered significantly afield from the main topic. We are also concerned that several WG members recently changed to observer status, citing an inability to keep up with the volume of emails as well as, in some cases, concerns about the caustic tone of some communications.

In regard to the tone of our online discussions, the Co-Chairs have noted a recent decline in personal remarks and more serious and well-reasoned debate on the issues before us. Let’s keep it up.

In order to assure that we all make the most efficient use of our limited time, and increase the quality while decreasing the quantity of this WG’s email traffic, we propose the following for your consideration:

1.       Please refrain from sending an email that lacks any new content and/or simply repeats positions heard from other WG members. In particular, if you feel compelled to send a “+1” or “Agree” message please just hit “Reply” and not “Reply All”. That way the sender of the original message will know of your support without the other 150-plus members of the WG having to take time away from their other work. Of course, if you want to add additional facts and arguments concerning why you agree or disagree with another member’s statement please go ahead as we welcome such substantive contributions.

2.       Please be civil to your fellow members and try to focus any criticisms on the substance of a proposal or assertion and not on the person who made it. Reasonable people can disagree, and none of us have a monopoly on the truth. Remarks that question a person’s intelligence or motives, or that are caustic in tone, tend to polarize ongoing discussions and impede our work. As the PDP process requires significant consensus to advance change, pleased focus on identifying common ground and widening it.

Those are our thoughts, and we share them with you not because we think this WG is going off the rails but because we believe it would be advantageous to consider how we can best use our email list to advance our work in the most efficient way, especially as the volume and importance of our work increases.

We welcome your responses, and in particular your suggestions for how we can narrow our discussion points at any given time and encourage members to stay focused on the main point under discussion -- while also accommodating the fact that there is some substantial interdependency between the issues we are grappling with.

Thank you and best regards,
J Scott

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