[governance] IGC All members should opine: this is important

William Drake william.drake at graduateinstitute.ch
Sat Dec 12 05:28:20 EST 2009


On Dec 12, 2009, at 5:46 AM, Lee W McKnight wrote:

> My opinion & recollection:
> This is deja vu all over again.   
> We went through a lot of discussion on this list on the issue of incorporating a couple years ago with the bottom line conclusion being that the cost of incorporating IGC and getting on the fund-raising treadmill outweighed benefits.

Yes, we've established a tradition of redoing previous debates without drawing on the prior iterations and points of consensus.  Maybe this is inevitable given almost seven years of existence, changing casts of characters, changing external conditions, the lack of organized institutional memory (expecting people to go dig through list archives being unreasonable), etc.

> It's reasonable to ask the question again, but at moment I don't see answer being different.

On the one hand, there's always the risk that the pursuit of funding, and all the institutional machinations this could imply, would take over the process and preclude or at least squeeze attention to developing substantive policy positions etc. Could also make the handling/distribution of any funds received a point of contention. We've probably all seen these sorts of thing happen before in other CS coalitions.

On the other hand, if a subgroup of folks wants to go off and try to iron out a focused proposal for consideration, maybe the process could be managed in a way that's not overly disruptive to the main objectives.  As Siva notes, there are no 'projects' requiring funding.  But funds might be well spent on some foundational mechanics, e.g. things we've talked about in years past like pulling together all the caucus statements and other documents (both those now at www.net-gov.org and www.igcaucus.org and those nobody ever got around to posting); building a site with collaborative tools, e.g. social networking and wiki; disseminating outputs more widely; and so on.  Of course these things could be done on a volunteer basis too, but since nobody's ever shown an inclination paying, someone a little could be sensible.  As Carlos notes, there'd have to be an institutional base; incorporating IGC would be hard since it's a distributed network rather than an organization, but supporting IGC could be legally a project of some serious existing entity that enjoys credibility and trust in this space (one comes to mind, but I don't want to put anyone on the spot...).  

On the latter, Carlos and Janna asked about Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility.  Having served as its president for a few years during WSIS, I wish I could recommend CPSR as a project home, but I don't think it's sensible.  As far as I can tell the organization has gone pretty moribund in the past few years, which is a pity given that it was a reasonably prominent part of the US public interest ICT policy landscape for about 25 years, has multi-issue scope, and is something individuals can actually join (in contrast to staff-based NGOs etc).  Moreover, despite having paid members in like 25 countries and been active in WSIS, most of the membership was and probably still is more concerned with the US domestic scene than international institutions and issues.  That said, the IGC list was established by CPSR, and that's why still we're on NPO Groups.  Were the caucus to reorganize and consolidate its electronic resources, it could make sense to move the list and archive accordingly.  Not pressing, but might make sense in the context of a larger regrouping.



William J. Drake
Senior Associate
Centre for International Governance
Graduate Institute of International and
 Development Studies
Geneva, Switzerland
william.drake at graduateinstitute.ch

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