Bruce Tonkin Bruce.Tonkin at melbourneit.com.au
Fri Nov 30 10:20:10 UTC 2012

Hello Jeff,

>>    Perhaps rather than coming out with a document from "staff", you solicit a few volunteers from the community to help staff in the preparation of this initial cut of the paper.  For too long the community is forced into a reactive mode once staff in isolation comes up with its position (which may or may not be reflective of the community's thoughts).  Then staff traditionally is in a position to "defend" its position and the community feels like it is too late to have an impact.  I do not believe that is the right way to proceed.  If you get a small group together that works on this initial paper with you, staff does not have to take on this burden alone and the community can feel like it has made a contribution.

This paper was produced at the direction of the Board Governance Committee (BGC), in response to the ATRT recommendation 6 that stated:

" The Board should clarify, ....  the distinction between issues that are properly subject to ICANN's policy development processes and those matters that are properly within the executive functions performed by the ICANN staff and Board and, as soon as practicable, develop complementary mechanisms for consultation in appropriate circumstances with the relevant SOs and ACs on administrative and executive issues that will be addressed at Board level."

The paper - pointed out the clear cut cases of topics that go through a routine public comment process (e.g on the operating plan), and topics that go through the full PDP (e.g the new gTLD policy).

However we recognized that many areas were falling in between the two situations, and that the processes were very ad-hoc.   Examples include the process of consultation on vertical integration, additional trademark protections (IRT team, and GNSO STI team, and most recently the various consultations on the trademark clearinghouse design and yet more proposals for additional trademark protections.

The paper stated:

	" This raises the question whether it would be beneficial to develop a more formalized process for requesting and developing community advice or 	input that does not require the implementation of a formal PDP and for which the public comment mechanism is not sufficient.

	As the frequency of use of this function increases, ICANN is now initiating conversation among the community to help formalize this process. A 	workshop is scheduled at the ICANN Meeting in Toronto to inform this work."

The BGC was disappointed about the lack of discussion of this important area in Toronto (I think there were less than 10 people in the room, and about half were Board directors).   See the attached slides that pose open questions for the community.   However I understand the issue around scheduling problems, and the lack of awareness that the session was discussing the issues you raise.

We certainly agree with you that it is an important topic and a source of tension between various parts of the community due to the lack of predictability in the process.

I am more than willing to consider other ways to have the conversation.  I think the BGC would be happy to have a dialog with a smaller group, or the GNSO could even form a working group to begin discussing this.  Basically I am open to ideas from members of the GNSO community for how best to take this forward.

Note that I was part of the original "small group" that designed the original PDP within about 30 days with a few teleconferences.  The process seems to be right but the timelines have consistently not worked, and there are issues when one or more parties seek  to deliberately delay the process rather than focussing on the discussion of content.   The deliberately stalling of the PDP process or the lack of genuine willingness to find a compromise is one of the reasons many seek to create ad-hoc mechanisms to go around it.

Bruce Tonkin
Chair, Board Governance Committee

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