[ianatransition] separation and accountability

Andrew Sullivan ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
Sat Aug 2 01:28:31 UTC 2014


On Sat, Aug 02, 2014 at 01:31:56AM +0200, Avri Doria wrote:
> I don't know it sound like the only recourse the IETF has for problems
> is to wait until they get bad enough for the nuclear option.

With respect, that's a parody of the argument I've been making.
Surely the point of a situation where you have a "final out" like that
is that it ensures people will negotiate so that the worst doesn't
come to pass?

> Personally I think it is better to have intermediate solutions like
> independent appeals panles and independent audits.

Quite frankly, I look at the arrangement that the IETF has, which is
free of these independent panels (but not audits, note -- we actually
rely on those); and I look at the panel- and committee-heavy
arrangements that ICANN has.  I'm having a hard time seeing how the
latter has served the relevant community well.  (It is not alone in
this.  I can think of international agreements I've paid attention to
that have all these supposedly neutral dispute resolution panels.
They don't seem to be better than the arrangement in which parties to
the agreement argue directly with one another in the case of disputes.)

I think I've said this often enough, so this is the last time I'll
repeat it: I do not see what the benefit is supposed to be of these
external parties, which would have to be made up and constituted and
argued about.  I still don't think I've seen an argument where someone
says, "That's better than direct negotiation because …".  The argument
is, in every case I can so far recall (I'm happy to be corrected) one
of two types.  

The first is that these outside bodies are somehow more legitimate, or
that they're somehow more likely to work, but I can't for the life of
me figure out how except for in the case of ICANN-as-policy-body to
ICANN-as-IANA.  For that reason, I continue to claim that, while there
may indeed be a problem for names, there is not a problem in general;
and that therefore the names community has an internal problem that it
has to sort out.

The second is that negotiation between the directly-dealing parties
(IETF, RIRs, ICANN-as-policy) is insufficient, because there's no
representation of "everyone else".  This argument strikes me as having
seriously misplaced the burden of proof.  Each of those parties has an
open process -- one in which anyone interested can participate.
"Everyone else" could simply join in the policy debates in the
relevant community.  So this argument either reduces to, "I want
influence for those who don't care about any of this," or else, "I
don't like the way those procedures work, and rather than attempting
to make that argument I want to create a new body where I can argue
for a different procedure."  It seems to me that someone has
transparently argued for the first of these, though how the interests
of people who don't care about something (perhaps because they don't
know about it) are to be represented is mysterious to me.  As near as
I can tell, nobody has argued the second way, though I sometimes
wonder whether that might be the actual spring behind an argument.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at anvilwalrusden.com

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