[bestbits] Civil Society Letter on IANA Transition

John Curran jcurran at istaff.org
Mon May 30 08:37:03 EDT 2016

On May 25, 2016, at 11:05 AM, Deirdre Williams <williams.deirdre at gmail.com> wrote:
> Dear All,
> My reason for concern about the word "community" is that it is a very loaded word - it carries extra connotations of shared interests, agreement, togetherness. I'm not sure how far non first language English speakers would be aware of this. Therefore when I (as a remote participant) heard a female ICANN employee (I'm sorry I've forgotten her name) refer to "the community" in a presentation that was part of the launching of the new gtlds in London (2012) I asked which community she was referring to. She replied "Oh the ICANN community" as if this were perfectly obvious. Perhaps some of you were "there" in the chat and may remember.

Deirdre -

The meaning of the term “community” often varies based on the context in 
which it is used.   With respect to ICANN, there are actually several different
communities, each composed of the parties (of all shapes and sizes) that are
affected by a specific set of Internet identifiers, aka 'directly affected parties’
(as noted in the NTIA Intent to Transition Key Internet Domain Name Functions)
<https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions <https://www.ntia.doc.gov/press-release/2014/ntia-announces-intent-transition-key-internet-domain-name-functions>>

This “affected community” concept is also reflected the accountability principle 
provided in RFC 7500, "Principles for Operation of Internet Assigned Numbers 
Authority (IANA) Registries <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc7500.txt <https://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc7500.txt>> - 
"Accountable:  Registry policy development and registry operations need to 
 be accountable to the affected community.”    It must be possible for any party 
which claims to be affected by an Internet identifier system to speak and be 
heard regarding the merits of various policy and operational decisions in the 
administration of those Internet identifiers.   (In the ideal world, we would 
establish a clear process such that Internet identifier registry systems be 
periodically reviewed for their compliance to the principles in RFC7500, 
and (via some framework that provides for empowered and coordinated 
action) that the structures representing the various affected communities 
would be certain to conduct such reviews publicly and routinely.) 

The phrase “ICANN community” is often used to refer to all of those parties that
participate in the various aspects of DNS policy development.   It is sometimes 
used to mean all those participating in the ICANN processes of any type, e.g. 
ICANN overall governance processes.  Thus confusion in meaning is inevitable 
given that the DNS community is not organized distinctly from ICANN, as opposed
some defect inherent in the term “community”...


Disclaimers:  my thoughts alone - do not impinge on the good reputation any 
other person or organization by misattribution of these inchoate musings…

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