[council] On the use of 'fairness'

Avri Doria avri at acm.org
Fri Aug 26 10:08:37 UTC 2005

On 26 aug 2005, at 11.15, Philip Sheppard wrote:

> So the question of fairness becomes:
> What is the relevance of fairness to effectiveness?

Well it might also have relevance to the first question.  In order to  
know whether GNSO has a purpose, one must be able to define that  
purpose.  And whether it is a body capable of fairness and is a  
component of overall ICANN fairness would seem, to me, to be  
pertinent questions.

In terms of effectiveness, I think fairness is something that always  
must temper effectiveness.  By some definitions of effectiveness one  
could be very effective yet unfair.  This, it seems to me, would not  
be a good thing.  So when we are looking for ways to judge, or to  
increase effectiveness, we must take the fairness of the process into  
account.  E.g. it would be very efficient, and hence effective by  
some definitions, for the GNSO council chair to make all decisions  
unilaterally and to pass them on to the board. But would that have  
been fair to the constituencies and the rest of the community?  Now,  
one could use a different definition of effectiveness, and argue that  
these decisions might not be effective because they would be  
challenged by those who had been left out of the process, ie. those  
who thought the process to have been unfair - so in this case  
fairness may be defined as an essential ingredient for true  
effectiveness.  Likewise if it comes time to consider a new  
constituency, the notion of fairness would enter the discussion in  
terms of deciding whether this population was unable to participate  
due to its lack of a represented constituency. i.e whether they had a  
fair opportunity to participate in the decision making process.

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