[Internal-cg] Consensus building process

Milton L Mueller mueller at syr.edu
Fri Aug 29 18:36:48 UTC 2014


> -----Original Message-----
> I would be fine to replace “small minority” with “minority.” That is, if a
> minority of any size — from 1 to 14 ICG reps — cannot have its objections
> accommodated after extended discussion, those objections should be
> documented and the group should move on. I would resist defining “small”
> in any other way, since again our numeric representation in the group is
> arbitrary and has unclear meaning of its own.

I have real trouble with this. 

First of all, it is self-contradictory. If numeric representation is arbitrary, then the concept of a majority is also meaningless; in other words you have defeated the basis for ANY kind of preponderance of opinion among the group. So out goes the definition of "minority"

More fundamentally, the idea that a group that was formed on the basis of providing a consensus outcome now suddenly declares that a bare numerical majority can overrule others and move on is an invitation to abuse. I think we do have to define "small" and I think we do have to avoid outcomes where an entire group category (e.g., GNSO people, or tech community people) is opposed. 

> But if your request is that the ICG cannot progress a document that has an
> objection from any minority, or from an operational community minority —
> that, I believe, is not workable. That allows 1 or more ICG reps to prevent the
> ICG’s work from going forward. Specifically, it puts us in a situation where

I don't think one rep should be able to hold us up. I don't think two should be able to, either. 
I think the sweet spot is around 4 or 5. Not derived through mathematical science, but not entirely arbitrary either. 

Milton L Mueller
Laura J and L. Douglas Meredith Professor 
Syracuse University School of Information Studies

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