Meeting of the Membership Advisory Committee
22 December 1998


22 December 1998

Summary of Conference Call Prepared by Molly Shaffer Van Houweling, Committee Staff


Izumi Aizu
Diane Cabell
George Conrades (chairman)
Greg Crew
Pavan Duggal
Kanchana Kanchanasut
Daniel Kaplan
Siegfried Langenbach
Nii Quaynor
Dan Steinberg
Jonathan Zittrain (Berkman Center liason)
Molly Shaffer Van Houweling (staff)

George Conrades, Committee Chair, opened the call by thanking the committee members for their willingness to serve on the committee and to participate in this call.

He started a discussion of committee procedures by proposing putting one possible set of procedures on the table: a combination of an internal email list for committee members (with summaries posted periodically on the MAC section of the ICANN web site) and a public, email-based list.

Several committee members asked how, given the proposed scheme, committee members would be expected to communicate with individuals outside of the committee about the committee’s work. Conrades suggested that committee members should feel free to communicate, on behalf of themselves, as they see fit—including commenting about their individual impressions regarding the contents of the summaries of the committee discussions. He and others stressed, however, the desirability of committee member participation in the public email list (instead of in individual email exchanges). To this end, there was general consensus on the call that the committee should encourage members of the public to communicate about membership issues via this method as well (instead of via email messages to individual committee members).

Molly Shaffer Van Houweling asked the committee what, if any, rules should be imposed for participation in the public email list—listing, as examples, a limitation on the number of messages posted per day, a prohibition of cross-posting, and a requirement that participants stick to the topic of membership.

Several committee members had questions and concerns about how such rules would be enforced (and whether, if not enforced, they would do any good). Others commented that a strict limitation on cross-posting would be too broad. Conrades tasked Van Houweling with drafting (with assistance from Cabell and Steinberg) a draft list charter, setting out rules and enforcement mechanisms, for further discussion by the committee.

Conrades next turned to the question of the timing of conference calls. Everyone on the call agreed that the timing of this call was convenient, as long as Crew could agree to it (which he did).

Conrades then turned the conversation to the substance of the committee’s mission, which he suggested boiled down to addressing two questions: Who will be the members of the corporation? And what will the members do?

Committee member suggestions and comments included:

  • Might first focus on the question of who, then turn to what.
  • Should consider the possibility that anyone who is online is a member with a vote
  • Perhaps define "anyone who is online" as anyone with a unique email address
  • Should consider letting groups vote instead of members (possible advantages are that groups might take responsibility for authenticating individuals, collecting fees, and other administration)
  • Should consider whether there is anything other than electing at-large Board members that members will do other than elect at-large board members
  • Should consider whether giving everyone online a vote squares with goal (and bylaws requirement) of geographic representation (given that some regions have many more users than others)
  • Need to determine what legal obligations of members are under California law
  • Should consider the mechanisms of how members will do what they do (automated voting, etc.)

Finally, the committee discussed whether the committee time-line is realistic. Conrades suggested that attempting to accomplish the ambitious time-line will help the committee get a lot done, and that if they have to keep working they will.

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