[council] Draft Call for papers, new gTLD PDP

Ross Rader ross at tucows.com
Thu Jan 5 15:22:46 UTC 2006

Marilyn Cade wrote:
> Hmmm, well, I am not convinced.
> It seems "simple" to "scale down" a policy issue, but really, some policy
> issues don't lend themselves to "modularization". I think of IDNs as an
> example, or the recent .com settlement agreement. 
> Can we really miniaturize these issues into modules, that can only be
> considered in sequence? I doubt that. 

Neither the .com settlement agreement, nor IDN's - as you've expressed 
them - are policy issues per se. Both of these are issues of huge 
importance to the community, and each carries with them a multitude of 
possible policy requirements, but let's not confuse the two. For 
instance, the question of whether or not it is desirable to grant a gTLD 
registry a perpetual right of renewal *is* a policy issue. Whether or 
not it is appropriate to proceed with IDN.IDN delegations and the 
timeframe in which to do so, or not - is a policy issue. The subject 
area of IDN's unto itself is not a policy issue.

A policy is nothing more than a guidance system - formalized and agreed 
to rules and practices that we implement to manage various behaviors. 
This is what I was getting at in the earlier post that Phillip responded 
to. Our PDP is nothing more than a process to develop policy. In order 
to instantiate it, we should have a pretty good idea what policy we want 
developed. In order to gain this understanding, we first need to know 
which behaviour(s) we want to manage.

With transfers, this was very simple. The community had a widely-held 
view that domain name portability (the behavior) was valuable. This made 
defining the policy development goals relatively easy - create some 
rules that ensure domain portability.

My point is this - unless we set some concrete goals up front, our PDPs 
will always be nebulous, unending and mostly ineffective - at least this 
is what I've learned from the past few years of policy development work. 
The policy development work has been large, ill-defined and mostly 
unending. After six years on whois, I'm still not clear what the 
community goals are on that issue. At least w/ IDN the policy objectives 
are relatively well-defined - its just that the goal is pretty 
substantial. So, in this case, I would agree - we will need a lot of 
time to work through the issues necessary to develop the policies. But, 
we are talking about a number of policies related to IDNs, so perhaps 
there is a way to effectively modularize them.

I doubt this is the case with the .com settlement agreement, but nor do 
I believe that the policy objectives are so large that we can't 
effectively deal with them in a shorter time frame without leaving the 
timelines open-ended.

> The .com settlement issue raises several policy issues; they will  need to
> be considered as a package. We can't break them into separate distinct
> modules that have no relevance or interaction with each other. That would be
> "ignorant" on our part, as councilors. I know that is a strong word, but I
> use it intentionally. 
> Developing policy requires us to step above individual constituency or
> company "votes" and think for the good of the Internet/as the gNSO affects
> it. That is our challenge, our charter, and our obligation.
> That is why we are elected. 

Actually - I and others are explicitly elected to represent the 
interests of our constituencies.

Some of the responsibilities of Registrar Constituency Council Members, 
under the direction of the constituency executive committee, are:

" Act as Registrar Constituency representatives and not as 
those of their respective entities or organizations. As far as it is 
practical, GNSO Council representatives shall consult on all relevant 
matters and decisions with the Registrar Constituency; Represent the interests and position(s) of the Constituency in 
various task forces, working groups and industry forum as specified by 
and per guidance from the Executive Committee; Consult with the Members on an ongoing basis to ensure that 
the consensus views of the Constituency Members are appropriately tabled 
for consideration by the task force, working group or forum;"

I would hope that our constituency position is entirely consistent with 
the needs of the many and perhaps sometimes, even with that of the 
entire population of internet users. However, when I speak, I do so on 
only behalf of a very small special interest group.


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