[Gnso-newgtld-wg] Response to Alan on "Recommendations" (long note)

Jeff Neuman jeff at jjnsolutions.com
Wed Dec 23 21:11:22 UTC 2020


I think the issue here between our view and yours is that you believe our role (as the working group) is limited to just “Consensus Policies” as stated in your email. But the role of the working group is not limited to consensus policies, but rather is “policy development.”  Yes, certain thresholds are required for PDPs to have binding impact on existing contracted parties, but that does not apply here.

I understand your concerns, but those concerns should be addressed by the Council and/or through a process to review and/or change the Guidelines.  But it is not our responsibility to change our way of working in order to address your concerns with the way the Council has treated recommendations in the past.

Our job is to accurate reflect the work of the group.  And that is exactly what we are doing.

I am going to ask that we cut off this discussion and focus on the substance of what is before the group. You all have the final report and are expected to respond to the Consensus call.

Given the incredibly hard work the entire group has done over the many years, i would expect that most of the report should have either Consensus or full Consensus. Also, please make sure you review the comment documents again to see all of the comments that we got to support the language as written or to support the language even if not ideal.  We have tried to address all of the commenters that said they could not support.   All of this is to say that we would expect most items to have Consensus or Strong Support.



Best regards,

JJN Solutions
Jeffrey J Neuman
(202) 549-5079
Jeff at jjnsolutions.com
From: Alan Greenberg <alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>
Sent: Wednesday, December 23, 2020 3:12:41 PM
To: Jeff Neuman <jeff at jjnsolutions.com>; gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org <gnso-newgtld-wg at icann.org>
Subject: Re: [Gnso-newgtld-wg] Response to Alan on "Recommendations" (long note)

Jeff, your quoting of the guidelines is correct, but in my mind, that was in recognition of the Council not ratifying recommendations such as those that are "Divergent".  That is no longer the case, and my belief is that our methodolo9gy needs to accommodate that, or at least VERY CLEARLY state it to the Council.

I believe that the "accommodation" I mention *IS* within our purview because it exactly matches our methodology throughout the PDP. If we understood during the discussion that a proposed recommendation had divergent views among the WG members, or over that there were strong, we would certainly not have drafted it as a recommendation. Even those with some strong support (as some of the positions regarding auctions or closed generics did not make it to the recommendation level for that reason.

The bottom line is that it makes little sense to me to propose a "CONSENSUS POLICY" (which is what a PDP does) based on concepts that do not have clear CONSENSUS within the PDP WG.

Your position is noted and presuming it doesn't change, I will raise the issue with the ALAC and the ALAC may choose to raise the issue in its minority report and any further communications with the GNSO Council and the Board. I presume that other groups may act accordingly.


At 2020-12-23 12:40 PM, Jeff Neuman wrote:


In an effort to be as transparent as possible, I am providing the rationale as to our decision to keep the wording in the Final Report “As-is” regardless of the levels of support / non-support as a result of the Consensus Call.  But please note we will be equally as transparent as to what levels of support that they have (or don’t have) as required by the Working Group Guidelines AND our charter.

The Working Group has been working for more than 5 years on this Final Report and developing “Recommendations” and “Implementation Guidance.”  We do appreciate your feedback, but at this point the Leadership has decided that the Final Report will not change.  We will be including the language “Recommendation”, “Affirmation” and “Implementation Guidance” as they are in the Final Report AND indicate their levels of support just as has been done with every recent PDP and like they are required in the Operating Guidelines.

Alan’s comments (and those supporting Alan’s comments) are not in line with the Working Group Guidelines in our view nor are they in line with past practice.

  1.  Language of the Guidelines:  Section 3.6 (which is included in our charter) states: “3.6 Standard Methodology for Making Decisions The Chair will be responsible for designating each position as having one of the following designations:
     *   Full consensus - when no one in the group speaks against the recommendation in its last readings. This is also sometimes referred to as Unanimous Consensus.
     *   Consensus - a position where only a small minority disagrees, but most agree.
     *   Strong support but significant opposition - a position where, while most of the group supports a recommendation, there are a significant number of those who do not support it.
     *   Divergence (also referred to as No Consensus) - a position where there isn't strong support for any particular position, but many different points of view. Sometimes this is due to irreconcilable differences of opinion and sometimes it is due to the fact that no one has a particularly strong or convincing viewpoint, but the members of the group agree that it is worth listing the issue in the report nonetheless.
     *   Minority View - refers to a proposal where a small number of people support the recommendation. This can happen in response to a Consensus, Strong support but significant opposition, and No Consensus; or, it can happen in cases where there is neither support nor opposition to a suggestion made by a small number of individuals.

Further, the PDP Manual<https://gnso.icann.org/sites/default/files/file/field-file-attach/annex-2-pdp-manual-24oct19-en.pdf> also states: “Each recommendation in the Final Report should be accompanied by the appropriate consensus level designation (see section 3.6 – Standard Methodology for Making Decisions in the GNSO Working Group Guidelines)”

Leadership’s view is that deleting all recommendations (as recommendations) that do not have “Consensus” or “Full Consensus” would render Section 3.6 meaningless.  Why would there be a provision in the Guidelines that requires us to differentiate between Consensus, Strong Support, Divergence, etc., if we deleted all of those positions that did not have Consensus.

We are providing a Report to the Council on our activities.  What the Council decides to do with the recommendations/implementation guidance that does not have Consensus is the Council’s decision and not ours.  To fail to include these would simply be censoring our own work, which is not something we wish to do.  A “Recommendation” is still a “Recommendation” even with “Strong Support”.  The issue is not what we call it, but rather what the Council and the Board does with it.   Some people may not like what Council has done with “Recommendations” that have not had Consensus support, but that is an issue with the Council.  And we will follow the Guidelines.

     *   Past Examples
        *   ePDP Phase 2 Final Report:  All of the Recommendations were included as “Recommendations” even if they did not get a Consensus.  See for example “Recommendation #8” which got Strong Support, but Significant Opposition and even “Recommendation #6” which was labeled as “Divergence”.  ( https://gnso.icann.org/sites/default/files/file/field-file-attach/epdp-phase-2-temp-spec-gtld-registration-data-2-31jul20-en.pdf )
        *   ePDP Phase 2 Final Report:  Again, all of the Recommendations were included in the Final Report.  This includes Recommendations 2 and 16 which had “Divergence.”

        *   Lets take an example, let’s take the first Affirmation: 1.1: The Working Group recommends that the existing policy contained in the 2012 Applicant Guidebook, that a “systematized manner of applying for gTLDs be developed in the long term,” be maintained.

        *   Now let’s suppose that there are 50 members of the Working Group that Support this Affirmation coming from the 50 most active members of the Working Group (those that have been with us for all 5 years, those that have attended a majority of the calls, responded on mailing lists, participated in compromise discussions).
        *   Now suppose for argument’s sake that there are 20 members of the Working Group that for one reason or another say they do NOT support this Affirmation.  And lets suppose that most of these members joined after the Work Tracks competed their work and the Initial Report was done.  Lets also assume that most of them did not attend any calls, nor did they actively participate on the mailing list.  But they are nonetheless “Members” of the Working Group and have the right under the Guidelines to support or not support.  Lets also assume that some are members are registries, some are from the BC, some from the ALAC and some from the registrars.
        *   In this case, Leadership may have some difficulty in finding “Consensus” and may have to classify it as “Strong Support / significant opposition”.

Applying Alan’s new rule would mean that we could not call this an “affirmation” in the Final Report.  It would essentially mean that the Affirmation that holds this program together could not be included.  To Leadership, that does not make sense.

Finally, the ICANN Board will have to make a decision on each and every one of these items regardless of whether there was consensus or not.  For example, take the Recommendation that states all applications should be done in rounds.  Assume there is Strong Support (but not Consensus).  The Board will still have to decide whether applications should be done in rounds.  Shouldn’t the Board know that there was Strong Support for this Recommendation when it considers this question?  Shouldn’t it know that there was Strong Support within the Working Group for the “Recommendation” (even if not Consensus)?

At the end of the day, we want to represent the report as a reflection of all of the work we have done and in compliance with the Working Group Guidelines and our Charter.  The GNSO Council and the ICANN Board will understand that if a “Recommendation” is labeled as “Divergence” that it is not truly a recommendation endorsed by the Working Group.  We have to assume that everyone up the chain will take their responsibilities seriously, read the report, and act on what is presented.    We cannot and should not change our responsibilities under the Working Group Guidelines because we are concerned about what the Council may or may not do with our work.

Please have a happy holidays and hopefully we will see each other soon to celebrate the tremendous work we have almost completed.


Jeff (sent on behalf of the Leadership team).


Jeffrey J. Neuman

Founder & CEO

JJN Solutions, LLC

p: +1.202.549.5079

E: jeff at jjnsolutions.com<mailto:jeff at jjnsolutions.com>


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