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Re: [Membership] Is Karl describing a different part of the elephant?

At 03:51 PM 3/13/99 -0600, Eric wrote:
>Karl Auerbach wrote:
>> > Does this imply "proportional representation" with all seats filled at
>> > each election?  Or, are there other ways of attaining such objectives
>> > such as Joop's proposal <http://www.democracy.org.nz/model.html> or by
>> > cumulative, "approval" or "rational" voting mechanisms discussed in
>> > sec.  5.8.5 of the MAC report
>> > <http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/rcs/prelim.html#Method>?
>> To me, there is no "proportional representation".
>I agree and disagree with Karl, but I am not schizophrenic about it.   This is
>simply a question of semantics.   I focus on "proportional" mechanisms and
>Karl is (here, but not elsewhere) discussing "representation" in the limited
>sense of defined constituencies.  We are using the same words to describe
>different parts of the elephant.
>Karl is correct in the sense that there may not be "proportional"
>representation of discrete interests under a proportional representation
>scheme;  proportional representation of defined constituencies may not reflect
>the divisions which exist within those constituencies;  and, given a choice,
>voters may balance multiple criteria and concerns with each vote and the
>product may not be the straight line proportionality you get from single
>interest decisions.  But, the results can still be proportional (or not)
>simply by the nature of the mechanism for electing the board.  It just may not
>accurately reflect the relative proportions of defined constituencies.
>In the context of ICANN (an organization with limited functions and an
>informed electorate with understood and strong views), people are likely to
>vote according to self-identified but real interests and concerns.   In such
>case, the results should tend to be more issue oriented--reflecting our
>divisions on what is of real current concern.  And, the results can  be value
>oriented--focusing on concerns such as competition, privacy, openness, or
>resistance to "managerial" or governmental control.
>However, because the range of views and interests in the community is greater
>than the number of seats available, it is impossible to devise a system which
>affords representation to all interests on every board.  Therefore, we must
>seek a system which allows a large and changing array of  interests to be
>represented as a proportionate reflection of community support for the various
>choices presented at each election.

Eric, Karl and all,

Back online again. An unusual experience, to be forcibly cut off for a week.
Sorry for dropping into this discussion.
 I am glad Eric has clarified the proportional bee in his bonnet. To me,
like to Karl, proportionality in the at-large board selection is automatic
as long as we have a one-person one vote system. The problems of
gerrymandered districts, as opposed to pure proportional representation
simply are not there.
Unless we would create them via that PC "geographic representation".

Sure, we may have only 9 seats to fill and dozens of disparate interests to
represent among the at-large voters.
So the proportionality in the representation of these interests will be a
matter of what the candidates stand for. What have their pronouncements been
on the diverse issues prior to election?
Is every candidate going to try to be everything to all people? In that case
it becomes a popularity contest.
Is every candidate going to seek a specific, issue based constituency?  It
that case you will see some proportionality in the elected representation on
the Board. 
But proportionality in issues is a non-starter. Issues lead their own life.
When they are addressed, they die. They have a priority ranking that can be
discongruent with voter interest and proportionality.
Candidates will gain votes on the basis of how they deal with issues.

The reality of candidates' stances will be somewhere in between. Some
candidates will have appeal across issue-based boundaries, others not.

>Thus, while a system of "proportional representation" may not shake out
>representatives according to clearly defined categories, it should mechanize
>(if not maximize) the chance for representation of divergent interests on the
>governing board and give all legitimate interests (including geographic
>interests) a reasonable reflection on the board over time, and accurately
>reflect the proportionate support for each candidate in that election.

Eric, you seem to think that political representation has to be a mechanical
I'm afraid the at-large half of the Board  isn't.
The mechanical part is more in the half with the privileged constituencies ,
the SO's.
The at large part is much more likely to be based on personality politics.
But this time rational personality politics, not baby-kissing before the
Each popular candidate may strive to reflect the proportionality of issues
with her total political stance. We seek representation by multi-faceted
humans, not robots.

>> Indeed there is no
>> "representation" -- rather, people vote directly in accordance with [what]
>> they
>> believe is the right thing to do (emphasis added).
>No matter what you call it, this rose smells sweet.  If the board does not
>represent the community in accord with our consensus, it will stink.  So,  how
>do we grow a rose?
>We want a system which not only allows us to vote for candidates who
>"represent" or govern in accord with what we think is right (something which
>can also occur under disproportionate representation schemes), but also elect
>them in a reasonable proportion to their community support (the real

Why "the real objective", Eric? Do we first have to define "communities"
within the at-large voter group? Quantify them? Create boundaries?
Just think of one large Agora, where all the interested voters stand
together, selecting the 9 who will represent them.
Trust them to use their own selection criteria.

>> Cumulative or STV voting mechanisms *do* come into play when there are
>> multiple seats up for election.  But that would be true regardless whether
>> we had formalized "constituencies" or voting by individuals.
>But, what of the reciprocal?  How do you get diversity without proportional
>representation?  And, what kind of diversity do you get from "head-to-head"
>winner take all elections?  Which is more conducive to capture?  Which less?

Are you afraid that the 9 Board members are going to be a monolithic voting
block? Maybe that will be so, but only in accordance with the wishes of the
The diversity is guaranteed by the "other" voters, the SO's.

>Lets get concrete about our choices and compare them against agreed criteria.
>We are killing other people's "straw men" in this "debate,"  but not measuring
>them against alternatives under consideration.
By all means. I think we are all pretty much on the same wavelenght, once we
have released the bees in our respective bonnets.
We want democratic voting, resulting in representation that reflects the
will of the majority. Don't we?

>Are we moving toward something we have not publicly discussed nor adequately
>analyzed?  What do you propose instead of  proportional representation?

Sorry, if I'm answering for Karl.
It is not a matter of "instead of". When our Agora votes for it's board members,
the result will be a proportional representation. Period.
Not perfectly, mechanically, proportional to quantified "communities". But
trying to do that would create more problems than it's worth.

>I think our real problem is elsewhere.  There is deep-seated fear of
>democracy.   We are afraid of any form of general representation, not to
>mention proportional representation. We all (or most) want capture by our
>interests and are hiding behind rhetoric to squelch schemes which fail to
>accomplish our ends.  As a result,  none of us will be represented.  Capture
>will be by others and we will continue to be on the outside trying to look in.
Sure there is a deep seated fear of democracy. Just go back to my
discussions with Kent, Roeland and William X.Walsh.
But the at-large directors are meant to be the check and balance, built into
the Board.
The ones with the schemes and the rethoric will have to work through the SO's.

Capture (and failure of ICANN) will occur if we fail to create a large
enough membership. That is the key issue.  Proportionality is the straw man.