[governance] RALO

Jeanette Hofmann jeanette at wz-berlin.de
Tue Jan 24 14:10:10 EST 2006

Hi Vittorio,

>>3.	What I miss totally in the proposed draft is a chapter which
>>defines the aims and principles of an European RALO.  Para. 3 in
>>Chapter II says only that the purpose of the EU-RALO is to provide a
>>"channel for participation by the European individual Internet users
>>into the activities of ICANN". This is only a formal and procedural

I agree with Wolfgang. The draft deals extensively with all sorts of 
structural issues but is more or less silent on substantial matters.
> That's exactly the point. The EURALO is just an umbrella mechanism to
> select representatives in ICANN, and create a "network of
> relationships", as Bret rightfully pointed out. It's not meant to become
> an "Internet party" - it might release positions on substantive issues,
> but only if its members agree and want to use the EURALO as a
> coordinating point. It's not a competitor to coalitions like EDRI or
> umbrellas like ISOC-ECC, nor it wants to be.

This raises the question why any individual would feel attracted and be 
tempted to join this umbrella mechanism. While I see reasons why ISOC 
chapters or other organizations would see a benefit in affiliating, I 
cannot see any good reason for an individual to do so. If I understand 
correctly the proposed structure, you are adding just another layer of 
>>4.	While I fully support to have two categories of members -
>>institutional and individual - I do not see a right balance between
>>the two categories in the proposed draft. As it stands now,
>>individuals are rather marginalized in the proposed "Executive
>>Board" (EC). What will be the outcome if the EU-RALO would be
>>established now? We have now 8 (or 9) ALS that means each would get
>>one seat in the EC. With the low level of outreach so far I would be
>>surprised to see more than 20 or 30 individual members within the next
>>three months. With other words, the EC would have ten members, nine
>>from the accredited ALS.
> But pardon me, if on one side you have ten organizations with a total of
> ~1000 members, and on the other you have 20 individuals, why should they
> have the same weight? 

If you follow this logic, you have to weigh participation rights 
according to the size of organizations. Are really sure you want to 
follow this path?

I look forward to involving hundreds or thousands
> of individuals, but no one needs generals without armies. If people
> believe in direct individual participation and want a channel for it,
> that's fine, but then it has to actually happen (and I'm confident it
> will, much more than you seem to be).
>>This looks like a closed club which does not like "foreign members"
>>but want to give the impression that they are "open". Such a structure
>>is exclusive, not inclusive. It keeps people out and decourages
>>individuals to join. 

I agree with Wolfgang.
> On the contrary: there is a strong incentive to join and bring more
> people in, because the more people join, the biggest their role becomes.

In what exactly? Electing an executive committee that in turn elects 
some officers? This is not a democratic procedure.

> If individuals had (as you propose) five reps no matter how they are, it
> would be sufficient to have 20 friends sign up and then flame everyone
> else away, to capture half of the EURALO forever.

It seems the EURALO structure is driven by the fear of capture. This is 
the wrong approach since it prevents meaninful participation. This whole 
debate reminds me very much of the early discussion about the At Large 
structure. Read again the papers written by Izumi and others. They gave 
all the arguments why a structure like the one you are proposing will 
never fly.

I also agree with Wolfgang's last point recommending that you withdraw 
the draft and start again. In any case, I would not join the EURALO as 
currently planned.


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