[IANAtransition] Consumer Constituencies Re: [] [] New acronym IFABDFI ; -)

Barry Shein bzs at world.std.com
Thu Apr 3 17:40:38 UTC 2014

On April 3, 2014 at 00:24 avri at acm.org (Avri Doria) wrote:
 > NCSG has had a candidate non commercial consumer constituency for 
 > several years, and this is represented on the NCSG executive and policy 
 > committees by Dorothy Gordon. The candidate constituency has, however, 
 > been remarkably inactive.

This thought has come up twice this week:

Usenet is/was a huge collection of online discussion groups with
little central administraton (see wikipedia), hundreds of thousands of
hierarchical topics, millions of users at its height in the late 80s.

One issue was developing a policy on creating new topical groups.

For example today someone might decide there should be a group to
discuss flight MH370 or raising weasels and begin championing the idea.
Of course there were groups for discussing group creation.

The rule of thumb based on a lot of experience was that creating a new
group, category, topic, did not, in general, cause discussion on that
topic to appear.

What tended to be successful was suggesting interested parties conduct
discussion in a like-minded, more general group, perhaps "airline
disasters" for MH370 or "animal husbandry" for weasel raising, and if
a significant amount of discussion occurred on that topic (statistics
could be compiled easily) only then fork that discussion off to a new


The best explanation probably is that if you just create a new group
nobody knows about it.

But an established, more general group already has a (seemingly)
like-minded audience.

People will look in a long standing "airline disasters" group for talk
about MH370 and if discussion of sufficient volume ensues you can tell
those people (in that more general group) we are creating a new group
specifically for MH370, it has reached some critical threshold of

I think that might apply to this "consumer" and similar stakeholder

That is, rather than trying to create a new SG out of thin air and
hoping people show up to the party instead you just begin organizing
an interest section within an existing group.

I think there's a bigger lesson here which amounts to Midas ordering
the tide not to come in. Or perhaps "Field of Dreams" is a better
analogy (I never actually saw that movie.)

One imagines in their mind's eye that all one has to do is create,
legitimize, command the existence of, a new group and they will come.

Sometimes that works, probably because the potential stakeholders were
already operating in other groups, heard about this new one, and ran
down the hall to join up.

But in general I think it tells us that other than perhaps a few
highly motivated self-starters (e.g., registrars/registries) it would
be better to incubate a concept within an existing group and see if it
really has traction.

Otherwise we're just playing Field Of Dreams which is attractive
(again, in the mind's eye) because it's of course much easier to try
to gain audience with The King -- create the group! give it a name!
and a budget! -- than with its currently non-existant membership.

Executive Summary: Just because a SG seems like a good idea it doesn't
mean you can command it into existence. /Vide supra/.

        -Barry Shein

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