[CCWG-ACCT] The GAC made me do it

Seun Ojedeji seun.ojedeji at gmail.com
Sat Feb 20 19:54:02 UTC 2016

On 20 Feb 2016 5:37 p.m., "Andrew Sullivan" <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:
> Hi Steve,
> On Sat, Feb 20, 2016 at 10:23:27AM -0500, Steve Crocker wrote:
> >
> > With respect, this is not the right way to frame the issue.
> I don't understand why, and you haven't actually made an argument as
> to why.  If some potential participant -- GNSO, ccNSO, ALAC, GAC, or
> Council of Martians and Other Planet-dwellers -- decides not to be
> part of the Empowered Community, that changes the number of
> participants and changes the way that majorities need to be
> calculated.  For instance, suppose that both the GAC and the ALAC
> tomorrow announce that they don't want to be part of the Empowered
> Community after all.  In that case, surely you wouldn't still require
> four SOs and ACs for action against the Board, because the threshold
> could never be met.
SO: With respect I don't buy this argument. The fact is there should be a
minimum threshold to spill the board with the current community structure.
The "if" scenario you posit is not a practical scenario we should be using
at the moment because that is not what we are faced right now.

When the number of "empowered community" participating in decision making
becomes lesser than the required threshold to exercise any of the community
powers (or if it's more than the current 5 that was used to set the current
threshold), the proposal allows for the community to come together to
review the required threshold to exercise the various community powers,
including that of board spill.

> > It is based on the request of the GAC
> that their unusual function in ICANN discussions be maintained. The
> GAC wants to be able to inject its observations at a point in the
> process different to any other SO or AC.
SO: AC by design gives advice and SO by design makes policy. None of the SO
or AC has the current 7 powers that has been proposed by the CCWG so these
are new roles that IMO have been over connected to the existing roles.

If it wants to use that
> power, it implicitly decides that it isn't like everyone else, and so
> it doesn't get treated like everyone else.  If the GAC wants to be
> treated like everyone else, it gets to choose to do that, too.

SO: The new community powers has been introduced to empower the community.
It is just normal to conclude that it empowers each SO/AC with the ability
to take their views/cause forward, just that it makes sure that those views
are shared by multiple SO/AC.

During the few years of my participation within ICANN, I have observed that
there is so much diversity of views that could at times make it challenging
for the board to ascertain what the community wants and so determine way
forward on issues. Getting a collective view of the SO/AC would really help
the board in determining the direction/interest of the community and I
think that is one of what will be achieved with these new community powers.


> > As the recent IRP ruling made clear, the Board cannot justify an
> >action by pointing to the GAC and  saying, in effect, the GAC made me
> >do it.
> Of course, but that has nothing to do with how the GAC's participation
> in the Empowered Community mechanism.  The choice about whether to do
> that lies entirely with the GAC.
> > To say it more compactly, if there is a reason to spill the Board, it
has to be because of what the Board has or has not done, not because of
anything the GAC did or did not do.
> >
> Correct; but that's not what's at issue here.  What is at issue is who
> participates in determining that reason.  The GAC is offered a choice
> as to whether it wants to participate, or whether it wants its views
> to be treated in an extraordinary way.
> > But what about the GAC’s special role, you might ask?  Well, to
> > start with there is really less to its special role than it might
> > seem.  As I said, the obligation on the Board is to engage in
> > meaningful discussion.  That’s perfectly reasonable
> It is indeed perfectly reasonable, but as you acknowledge it is in
> fact different than the way the other ACs are treated.  Much of the
> community is arguing that, if the GAC wants to be treated differently,
> then its participation needs to change too.
> > , and, if we want
> > to explore how to level the playing field, perhaps the right thing
> > is for the Board to treat the other advisory organizations with the
> > same deference.  I’m not suggesting we attempt to make that change
> > at this particular moment, but I am suggesting we separate the
> > issues.
> But we're not building a process about how some _other_ arrangement
> would work.  We're talking about how to handle things given the
> current roles of SOs and ACs.  If ICANN wants to reorganize itself in
> the future (there's a whole work stream coming up, I understand) and
> change the arrangements then, it would then be worth talking about how
> to adjust these rules too.  For instance, if other ACs get to give
> special-consideration advice to the Board, I'd expect them also to be
> excluded from the decision-making process later.
> Right now, the goal is to come up with a stable, practical, and
> legitimate process given the _current_ roles of the SOs and ACs.
> That's what the unamended proposal does.
> > the ills we deal with is the accumulation of special cases and
> > inconsistencies.  This serves no one and is simply poor governance.
> I agree; and yet the current proposal from the Board would create a
> special case, because it would treat different kinds of actors the
> same except in some circumstances.  It seems to me that the simplest
> arrangement is one under which, if an SO or AC wants to participate,
> it participates on an equal footing as all the others.  That makes it
> easy to know who might be in and who might be out.  Why isn't that the
> right way to frame this issue?
> Best regards,
> A
> --
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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