22 November, 2010

Cartagena Theme: we will be ignoring you

An editorial.

Never before have I witnessed so many different ICANN communities all expressing the same single complaint -- namely, that they are being totally ignored by ICANN Staff.

Whether it's from members of the BC, the ALAC, the NCUC, the GAC... or from members of the working groups (JAS, MAPO), or from the trade associations (ICA, COA), or from the breadth and gamut of the intellectual property community, or from major corporate players (BITS, Microsoft, AT&T, Time Warner, Adobe, Coca-Cola, etc.), the refrain is constant.

Never before have so many good people been so pissed off by actions of the ICANN Staff.  Just have a read through the latest transcript of the Business Constituency meeting, or go ahead and review the latest draft ALAC Guidebook Statement to get a sense of the festering anger that is boiling up and is ready to explode.

This is not a healthy development.  There indeed is a serious problem at ICANN.  ... and to what can we attribute this ongoing Staff inclination to ignore/reject the community will? 

As I see it, the core of the problem resides within a Staff culture that has come to only accord due deference to ICANN's contracted parties (their customers). 

With registrars and registries salivating and drooling at the prospect of new merchandise for their shelves, ICANN Staff has been complicit in doing its utmost to ramp up policy implementation efforts so that an overly ambitious and arbitrary timetable can be met -- and that means that issues of importance to many segments of the community are by design routinely being ignored rather than being properly fixed. 

This orchestrated push for new product is assuredly responsible for the mess that we are in, and we all know that there are those on the Board who would rather bludgeon their way though community concerns than properly attend to them -- as one board member stated:  "What we can’t have is the hold up of the entire process until this is resolved".

... and that is our point of disagreement.  Consensus means working to resolve differences; it means ensuring that all parties are "reasonably" satisfied with the approach being adopted -- it doesn't mean employing a strategy of deliberately ignoring widespread community concerns just to satiate the greed of a few.

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