[CCWG-ACCT] Clarification

Burr, Becky Becky.Burr at neustar.biz
Sun Feb 21 16:15:25 UTC 2016

+++ 1

Sent from my iPad

> On Feb 19, 2016, at 9:16 PM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> I'd like to propose another way of framing this issue.  
> I think people are speaking about this as though the threshold is
> changing.  But it may be that what is changing is the number of
> possible actors.
> The only case we are talking about is the one where the GAC -- not
> the community or anyone else -- has decided in effect to remove itself
> from the Empowered Community.  If the GAC wishes to act in the mode in
> which it gets to give special advice to the Board, and in which the
> Board must then engage with the GAC (and not everyone else) directly,
> then in effect the GAC takes itself out of the Empowered Community and
> acts in its specal GAC-advice role.
> In that case, the number of possible community participants in the
> process is a total of four.  At the moment, there are seven total
> logically-possible participants.  Two of them have already excluded
> themselves.  That leaves a total possible number of five.  But if the
> GAC decides that it wants special access to give advice to the board,
> then the "carve out" says that the GAC doesn't get to participate in
> the Empowered Community on that issue.
> This is a choice entirely within the GAC's power.  It must choose.  If
> it chooses to be board-advisor-GAC, then it is in effect choosing that
> it prefers that mode of operation to being part of the wider Empowered
> Community mechanism.  In effect, a GAC choice can reduce the possible
> actors in the Empowered Community to four.  Otherwise, the GAC is in a
> position to insist on advice it gave being considered first by the
> board, and then that the GAC can also participate in the judgement of
> the Board's actions.  That's the very "two bites" problem that we were
> trying to solve.  I believe that in most organizations (including many
> governments), it would be regarded as surprising that a participant in
> the to-be-judged action also gets to be one of the judges.
> Now, I believe there's been a long-standing principle that unanimity
> of the community not be required to exercise the community powers.
> Therefore, the only possible number of SOs and ACs left as the number
> for action is three.
> Viewed this way, it makes no difference at all whether there is an
> IRP, whether one is possible, whether anyone claims there is a
> violation of the mission, or anything else, because there are only
> four possible actors.  One fewer than four is three, and that's how we
> get to a threshold of three.  
> I understand why people are uncomfortable with such a small number of
> participating SOs and ACs making such a serious decision -- I am too
> -- but it is a consequence of the way this community has decided to
> organize itself, and the decisions of some ACs as to whether they
> participate in the Empowered Community.  Once we accept that model of
> organization, it's very hard for me to see how the threshold we're
> talking about is not a logical consequence.  And after all, the many
> practical barriers to action and rather long process for removing the
> board are there precisely to allow rational discussion and negotiation
> of settlements to happen.
> Those who complain that the GAC is somehow being singled out are, in
> my opinion, making an argument that does not stand up even to casual
> scrutiny.  If the GAC wants to participate in the same way as every
> other SO and AC, then there is no difference whatever in how it will
> be treated.  The GAC has instead asked that its historic ability to
> give certain kinds of priority advice to the board be maintained.  And
> so it is, but with the rule that if the GAC wants to be special then
> it has to be special in other ways too.  The "unfair treatment"
> argument is basically one that the GAC ought to be special all the
> time.  I'm sorry, but that's not how community-driven organizations
> work.
> Moreover, if the situation is really the corner-case of a corner-case
> that many seem to be arguing, then the practical consequences are not
> significant anyway; and we are having an argument that might upend
> everything we have worked so hard to achieve even though there is no
> real problem to solve.  I don't really care how this is resolved, to
> be honest, because I'm way more interested in getting _something_
> everyone can live with.  Still, I'm having a hard time constructing a
> reasonable argument for the board's position.  I think it is time to
> end this seeming-unending discussion, and move ahead with the
> admittedly imperfect compromises that have been hammered out over many
> months.
> Finally, I must note that the IANA transition is waiting on us, and we
> are way past the time when we can be debating these substantive
> issues.  If we blow the transition because some people want special
> treatment all the time, I fear very much for the legitimacy of ICANN's
> claims (as a community) to be a responsible steward of IANA functions.
> For me, it is very hard to predict what might happen if the transition
> fails.  But I hope it is crystal clear that the _status quo ante_ may
> not be what comes of such a failure.
> Best regards,
> A
> PS: As usual, I'm speaking in my individual capacity; but I think it
> important to emphasise it in this case.
> -- 
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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