[bestbits] On the future of Best Bits and the pre-IGF meeting

Sheetal Kumar sheetal at gp-digital.org
Wed Jul 26 12:53:50 EDT 2017

Dear Jeremy, all,

Thanks for this discussion and reflection, which is much welcome at this
5-year junction!

I completely concur with the sentiments expressed so far about the value of
Bestbits as a platform to support and coordinate global CS action and share
information. Bestbits also seems to have the added or unique value of not
only being able to produce tangible actions or inputs but also in doing
this across a wider set of policy issues than other similar networks and
facilitating a broader group of voices to input into discussions (like ITU,
WSIS etc where its provided a stronger/more united and yet diverse CS voice
than would otherwise have existed). At this point, I agree we should be
aiming to not only replicate previous successes in that regard but improve
and achieve more.

As has been pointed out the attempt to do this though with a more
formalised structure like a SC and set of rules descended into discussions
that were counterproductive to the achievement of bestbits objectives.
Before re-instituting that structure, it'd be interesting to hear more
reflections on why that was counterproductive previously. For example, the
points made by others earlier about the need for clearer identification of
purpose/more focused mission around what we're trying to achieve (beyond
the general, common objectives listed) make sense. How would this be done?
Via a strategy? And if so, how would that be developed/buy-in for that be
achieved?/who or how would the leadership for that to happen be provided?

Again, I really welcome this discussion and opportunity to reflect on how
we can leverage the existing strengths & successes of this platform in the
future. Interested in hearing others thoughts!



On 26 July 2017 at 13:16, Judith Hellerstein <judith at jhellerstein.com>

> Hi Jeremy,
> I concur with Renata and Poncelet and choose Option 2.  I also agree with
> Michael but I agree that we are duplicating resources but not sure anything
> can be done about this as each group has different views and I think people
> have tried and failed to put the two together but it has not worked.
> However, the steering group can help focus the mission of the group more
> and differentiate it from the other groups
> Best,
> Judith
> _________________________________________________________________________
> Judith Hellerstein, Founder & CEO
> Hellerstein & Associates
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> Opening Telecom & Technology Opportunities Worldwide
> On 7/26/2017 7:29 AM, Michael Oghia wrote:
> Hi all,
> Thanks for this Jeremy and your work with the group. While I prefer option
> 2 in general, I must admit that I am slightly confused at times about which
> group is best for what -- for instance, if there's a civil society-related
> link, should it be sent to this list, the IG Caucus list, CSCG list, or
> another?
> While the example is seemingly trivial, the point is that it seems that
> there is a lot of unnecessary overlap in these resources, so perhaps a bit
> more centralization would be helpful (as far as the lists are concerned at
> least, not necessarily the leadership). If we go with option 2, then I also
> suggest we think about focusing the mission/mandate of this group, and also
> differentiating it from the other civil society-focused IG groups.
> Best,
> -Michael
> On Wed, Jul 26, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Poncelet Ileleji <pileleji at ymca.gm>
> wrote:
>> Dear Jeremy,
>> Thanks for your email, I definitely concur and support Renata and will go
>> with Option #2, I look forward too in working with others towards this
>> process.
>> Kind Regards
>> Poncelet
>> On 25 July 2017 at 23:26, Renata Aquino Ribeiro <raquino at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Hi Jeremy
>>> It is good to see the longevity of Bestbits, in its 5 year-old run.
>>> This is a space which has done a lot for civil society and it will
>>> certainly continue to do so.
>>> There are many new groups and activists in civil society looking forward
>>> to learn from the steps taken here and to collaborate.
>>> I would like to help bring together the experienced and the new
>>> participants here.
>>> So my option would be #2 and I'd be glad to work with others interested
>>> in thinking of new ways for Bestbits.
>>> I believe rebuilding the Steering Committee (3 years old) is important
>>> but also to bring in new voices who have ideas for the shape of the
>>> platform and who are interested in participating of internet governance
>>> communities.
>>> If we can broaden this search for new members and collaborators among
>>> ISOC Ambassadors, ICANN fellows, Youth IG movements, grassroots internet
>>> freedom initiatives, it would be great.
>>> Best,
>>> Renata
>>> On Tue, Jul 25, 2017 at 7:23 PM, Jeremy Malcolm <jmalcolm at eff.org>
>>> wrote:
>>>> 15 new members have joined this list since last week, and a new sign-on
>>>> statement has been posted on our website, both of which mark an uptick in
>>>> interest in this civil society network on Internet policy.  So I thought it
>>>> would be a good time to gather your thoughts on future directions for Best
>>>> Bits.
>>>> For those who are new, this group was originally formed in 2012
>>>> primarily to provide an action-oriented network of CSOs that could share
>>>> information and coordinate their response to various current Internet
>>>> threats, most notably at that time various proposals for the ITU World
>>>> Conference on International Telecommunications.
>>>> Since then it has been used as a platform for communication (mainly
>>>> through this list, there have been others from time to time but none remain
>>>> active), joint actions such as the sign-on statements that we host,
>>>> coordination between people involved in similar activities, and an annual
>>>> meeting held prior to the IGF.
>>>> Around 2014 calls for greater accountability in the operation of what
>>>> had, until then, been a fairly loosely and informally organised group, led
>>>> to the establishment of a steering committee
>>>> <https://bestbits.net/about/steering-committee/> and agreement on a
>>>> set of rules <https://bestbits.net/wiki/main/procedures/>.  But that
>>>> turned out to be counterproductive and so we have regressed to being ad hoc
>>>> and informal again.
>>>> This is fine, except that it means that it's difficult to raise funding
>>>> for events, and that you have to rely on a benevolent dictator (which is,
>>>> by default, me) to moderate the list and and keep the server ticking over.
>>>> For now I'm OK with doing this, and our server remains functional and
>>>> funded for the near future.
>>>> Last year we turned over our regular pre-IGF meeting to co-ownership
>>>> with the other major civil society networks working in Internet policy
>>>> spaces, viz. the groups that are under the umbrella of the Internet
>>>> Governance Civil Society Coordination Group
>>>> <http://internetgov-cs.org/>.  That went pretty well, marking
>>>> something of a return to the original Best Bits vision.
>>>> At this point, I don't have a clear personal vision for Best Bits going
>>>> forward, so I would like to turn this question over to you, the
>>>> participants to find out what you want to be done.  To break it down into a
>>>> simple choice between two options, we should collectively choose between
>>>> either one of these:
>>>>    1. Maintain the current low-key status quo, and remove the
>>>>    currently unused or underused features of our web such as our joint event
>>>>    calendar (which currently doesn't have anyone to maintain it), along with
>>>>    most of the resources under the "Tools" menu on our website.  Rely on other
>>>>    groups to pitch in on an annual meeting.
>>>>    2. Conversely, seek to reestablish a steering committee of people
>>>>    with time, energy and vision to reinvigorate Best Bits and re-establish a
>>>>    program of activities, which could include actively organizing and raising
>>>>    funds for a broad annual civil society meeting, and/or drafting joint
>>>>    statements, supporting fluid working groups, etc.
>>>> I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
>>>> --
>>>> Jeremy Malcolm
>>>> Senior Global Policy Analyst
>>>> Electronic Frontier Foundationhttps://eff.orgjmalcolm@eff.org
>>>> Tel: 415.436.9333 ext 161 <(415)%20436-9333>
>>>> :: Defending Your Rights in the Digital World ::
>>>> Public key: https://www.eff.org/files/2016/11/27/key_jmalcolm.txt
>>>> PGP fingerprint: 75D2 4C0D 35EA EA2F 8CA8 8F79 4911 EC4A EDDF 1122
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>> --
>> Poncelet O. Ileleji MBCS
>> Coordinator
>> The Gambia YMCAs Computer Training Centre & Digital Studio
>> MDI Road Kanifing South
>> P. O. Box 421 Banjul
>> The Gambia, West Africa
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>> Skype: pons_utd
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>> www,insistglobal.com <http://www.itag.gm> www.npoc.org
>> <http://www.npoc.org> http://www.wsa-mobile.org/node/753
>> <http://www.wsa-mobile.org/node/753> *www.diplointernetgovernance.org
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*Sheetal Kumar*
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