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Re: [Membership] Re: [IFWP] Is Nesson right on the objective? And, how do we reach it?

At 20:06 13/02/99 -0500, Jonathan Zittrain wrote:
>At 05:36 PM 2/13/99 , Eric Weisberg wrote:
>>I agree that "design against capture" should be a primary
>>objective. Do we have consensus on that?  Do we need to poll
>Yes, though I've come to believe that people have different ideas about
>capture: a non-captured membership might be thought to be one that happens
>to balance among different active self-identified constituencies.

Very true. For some, preventing capture (by the majority will) means enshrining special interest Rights for powerful minorities.

I have not heard JZ's story about Ataturk, but we have a very stark example of a new country that started out with pre-defined and pre-weighted constituencies: the Lebanon.
Oh, in the beginning it went all dandy, because the guaranteed seats in parliament and guaranteed positions in the executive for Maronite Christians reflected not only the demography, but also the real power they wielded.
When the demography changed, the tension built up until a spark from the neighbours finally triggered the explosion.
The net demography will change a lot faster than Lebanon changed in the first 35 years of its existence.
If we build constituencies in the structure, like was done in the Lebanese constitution, we set ICANN up for civil war.

But many
>want ICANN to respond to the interests of those not inclined or aware
>enough to be members, people whose own views and interests aren't reflected
>proportionately by the more active constituencies.  If a single entity,
>through a noisy campaign, manages to sign up a bunch (indeed, a large
>majority) of members to advance candidates with that interest's policies in
>mind, and those who might be opposed indifferently don't even sign up, is
>the resulting landslide for the entity a just desert earned by the sweat of
>the brow or an example of capture?  I mean, if you're populating the FCC,
>would you want it to be selected by a "membership" of cable, TV, telephone
>and radio interests (with the public at large not opting to participate),
>or some other way?
Democracy in the West started with self-government of those classes that already had some privilege. The free citizens (men) in Ancient Greece, the middle class (men of property) after the French and American Revolutions. It was not dispensed from above, but it was not universal either.

Democracy in ICANN is ideally should start as self-government of those who have Names and Adresses. It cannot be dispensed by those who register the Names and Adresses.

>>As a matter of simultaneous discussion, I propose that the best
>>way to lessen the likelihood of capture is to maximize the number
>>and diversity of interests on the board through proportionate
My question to Eric here is, proportionate to what? Proportional representation is a battle cry for people who have been divided into voting districts , which can result in the election of unrepresentative representatives. (with an FPP system)
If we don't slice up our voting members in any way, proportionality does not come into the picture.

The present bylaws give us a built-in diversity of the Board already. This already prevents capture by anyone  but the "powers that be".
The at large directors can campaign for the vote of all members equally.
All we need is a large number of individual members.
I agree with Daniel that we may get caught in the capture-through-apathy trap, if we don't go out and pro-actively recruit members.
How do we make it attractive for a DN registrant to tick that box?


>>and requiring
>>super-majority votes for decisions affecting the fundamental
>>aspects of our relationship.
>That sounds right--along with, perhaps, sunset/sunrise provisions that
>don't etch a given membership structure in stone until it bears out in
>practice what the consensus thinks will happen (or not happen) in theory.
>The problem--who would be in the right position to decide whether the given
>structure has succeeded or not?  (The directors elected by it?)  ...JZ
This problem can only be solved by not giving anyone the chance to etch a "membership structure" in stone, not at any time.
If the membership remains unstructured, parties and factions will form and elections will only reflect the (temporary) popularity of people and platforms.
No tension can build up about any perceived unfairness in the structure.