[GTLD-WG] [CPWG] [registration-issues-wg] Discussion: End-users definition from At-large perspective

Evan Leibovitch evan at telly.org
Fri Aug 9 10:49:25 UTC 2019

> It has been a long and hard fought battle by former ALAC chairs and
> members to establish the At Large and we should not begin to whittle away
> the responsibility of being stewards.

This is not so much an issue of "whittling away" as it is about gaining
focus, respect and credibility.

I guess subtlety is wasted, so...

I travel in a few interesting circles, some behind closed doors. To the
rest of ICANN, At-Large is a laughing stock, to be generally tolerated so
long as it stays in its corner and chatters to itself. Its outputs are
heard and occasionally followed if they cause no significant change to the
status quo. Money spent on ALAC is seen as a sunk cost of doing business,
so to provide a superficial sheen of public participation. This is why
funding is such a struggle; look at what ATLAS 3 had to go through. We're
seen as a charity case, with just enough funding to keep participants
complacent and under the illusion that ALAC can effect real change. Those
who were with me in the initial work on Applicant Support will recall that
the Board and the rest of ICANN completely rejected us until we gained the
support of the GAC.

I am saying all this -- imploring that ALAC refocus its outputs and better
understand its constituency -- because I honestly believe that ALAC is in
crisis whether it knows it or not. It has nearly no credibility, mainly
because it redundantly speaks on behalf of the interests of stakeholders
already served by other ICANN registrant constituent groups (notably the BC
and NCUC), while spending nearly no effort actually determining the views
of its particular mandate. As a result, it provides little of the unique
perspective that would be expected of the only group in ICANN mandated to
convey the needs of non-registrant end users. Rather than surveys or R&D to
determine the actual needs of individual end users, ALAC spends its
outreach resources to groom more elites. (Isn't that now the main purpose
of ATLAS III?) It is a burden on ICANN that provides so little return that
it will surely be a target of future austerity programs.

Sala, I was as much of that long fought battle as anyone before I stepped
outside the bubble and saw how ALAC is perceived by its peers. That battle
is far from over. I want an ALAC that is listened to and not laughed at.
Getting there demands a hard rethink of what it exists to do and how it
does it. The only known is that the status quo will not sustain.

- Evan
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