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Re: [council] Council work

  • To: Council GNSO <council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Re: [council] Council work
  • From: Avri Doria <avri@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 3 Jan 2008 08:57:06 -0500
  • In-reply-to: <002f01c84de3$86a62710$e601a8c0@PSEVO>
  • List-id: council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • References: <002f01c84de3$86a62710$e601a8c0@PSEVO>
  • Sender: owner-council@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Thanks for the thought provoking post. I will respond to a few of the issues with my personal and do hope others will join in the discussion as it does have something to do with how we see ourselves as a group. And on how we do our work.

On 3 Jan 2008, at 03:34, Philip Sheppard wrote:

Avri, fellow Council members

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the bureaucratisation of Council work.

As I understand bureaucratization it is involves the creations of layers of staffers who build a complex system whereby they can make the decisions instead of the elected representatives. While I do believe we are talking about details, and process more, I am not sure I understand where we have created extra bureaus. I also would agree that e, Chuck and I, have tried to regularize some of our procedures and perhaps this is similar to bureaucratization.

We seem to have slipped into Council meetings every 14 days whereas since Council's inception under Bruce and previous chairman, we always managed calls every month.

I would prefer meeting monthly. However, after the LA meeting, it looked like we had a lot of issues to work through in a short time. So I suggested that we meet every 2 weeks through the shortened period between LA and ND to try and get as much done as possible during a short time that was dotted with holidays. While I would say we were excited about the possibility, the council did agree.

Do we have a significantly increased workload now than before ? No

I believe the answer to this is yes. I certainly believe we have more issues on the table then at any time since I joined the council.

Are we producing more output and more implemented policy than before ? No.

This remains to be seen. We have sent a few things along to board. I am not sure how much implemented policy there is relative to the past and the reasons for the amount of time it takes for thing to go from the council to the implementation stage. We have only been doing the 2 meetings a month for a few months now so I would not expect to see a great deal implemented yet. I do think we are moving along on some of our tasks.

Instead I fear we are wasting time on calls with work that should be done on the list and
adding unnecessary duplication.
- talking through the agenda at the start of the call - surely we can all read ?

This take a few minutes at best. Perhaps I go into too much detail when walking through it. It is really meant to make sure that we all have the same view of what we are going to spend time on. And to give everyone the ability to suggest a change.

- talking through the work plan at the end of each call - surely this admin item is best
left as a web page ?

This is possible. I think of of walking through the list as a way to keep us on track on all the work we are doing. I put it at the end, and on those occasions when there are no issues with it, we can go through it quite rapidly. And when we run out of time we often skip it.

- seeing multiple motions on the same issue - surely the job of an efficient chair is to resolve these issues before a call, and present one motion to Council that has a good chance
of success?

But there is needs to be a balance between efficiency gained by having a chair doing more back channel work and open participation where the council view the range of possibilities and makes decisions as the representative body. I have opted for a method that allows more open discussion on the various possibilities.

My hope, is that in seeing the motions and on discussing them on the list and by suggesting edits we would eventually, by working directly and openly arrive at a motion we can all agree with. When I created the motions page on google it was meant to be a experiment to see if we could learn to work this way. Well that and as a means of having a 'whiteboard' visible to all of us during the meeting.

- voting on motions that fail - again more background work is needed

I believe that is is important to know what is decided against. And that a failed motion has almost as much content as a successful motion. It is a definite declaration of what the council does not wish to do. The other possibility is to let things that do not have support drop quietly on the floor. In this case there is often an uncertainty in those who depend on the council and its work on the council position on these issues. while I believe we should talk things out completely, once al of the viewpoints have been stated, we should decide whether to go ahead with something or not.

- voting on procedural motions - eg the time line for the WHOIS study - in the past this would have been proposed by the Chair on list and acted upon unless there was opposition -

We made a specific decision that all schedule changes would be explicit and would be voted on by council. This was a way to keep us responsible for our schedules and to try and control some of the perpetual slippage in schedules that was our past tradition.

I certainly have no problem with the council accepting such a scheduling motion by consensus (if not one has objections), then of actually holding a vote. I do think that if it is to be real schedule, it needs to be have explicit buy in from the council as the schedule should have some degree of commitment from us.

- confusing Council with multiple duplicate mailings before a call - in the past this coordination was done off list between the chair and secretariat, and then one clear mail sent to the list by the secretariat with all proposed motions in full text.

My reason for doing this was to give us the ability to start a discussion email thread on each of the motions separately, which I tend to find less confusing in the long run. If others find it more confusing, I can certainly do as yo suggest.

- use of non ICANN work spaces like Google - what is the value of this above a list e-mail (
I cannot edit it on Google) ?

ICANN does not have such a capability. I checked and if they had had such a capability, I would have used it.

In terms of google docs you should be able to edit it. Any council member can go to docs.google.com, log in with their email address and edit any of the motions, add motions etc... The url I send out is only the one used by the anyone to read the motions.

If anyone of the council can't access and edit these motions in google, please check with me to make sure I have subscribed the correct mail address.

- discussion on admin matters such as establishing a new group to discuss an issue - surely
this is best done on list ?

I agree and if we did discuss these things on the list, we could just glance through them quickly in the meetings.
Do you have an suggestions on the issues currently before the council:

- the design team for drafting the proxy voting motion? (incidentally, the discussion of the memo is the primary agenda item)

In short, more focus on output than process, more focus on policy than admin and
consequently calls every 30 days would be welcome.


Again, thank you for our thought provoking note. I do believe it is important that the GSNO council members be comfortable with and approve of the the processes we use.


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