[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [Membership] The People's Republic of ICANN?

Ken Freed <kenfreed@media-visions.com> wrote:

>Eric Weisberg says the mass of folks on earth will not vote in ICANN
>elections, even if asked, so he proposes going instead with public
>interest organizations having a say in the process. His notions have
>merit, yet notice the assumption that public apathy will prevail. I
>am not convinced this will always be the case. Think long term.

To reiterate, I think that involving the public by opening up the
discussions to them and giving them a chance to participate is a good
idea.  I however share Eric Weisberg's and others' concerns that not
much of the public will participate.

There is at present a general level of apathy (in the US anyway) with
regards to issues like "governance."  About half the US population
does not vote in the public elections, for example.  This could
change, perhaps, if the public felt as if their participation would
make significant difference.

However, I think there are other reasons that there will not be much
participation by the public in these matters.  As I've said before,
these mailing lists are very much "underground" when compared to what
the "masses" generally see when they access the Internet.  While the
existence of these mailing lists is certainly public record, these
lists are generally not "publicized" in such a way that many Internet
users will check them out to see what is discussed.  If you have an
inclination towards technology and policy, you might find the lists in
your journeys through the net.

Furthermore, because there are so many lists, newsgroups, etc., with
so much traffic, it is very hard to keep up and to digest all of the
information.  You can't follow everything unless you spend all day
reading the forums, and most Internet users just won't have the time.
People who are new-come to the discussions will be looking for capsule
summaries of the issues, and have difficulty finding them.  Lots of
people who might otherwise get involved will just feel swamped, or
will not come away with a full picture of what's happening.

Finally, due to the highly topically segmented nature of Internet
discussion forums, it's difficult to reach the people who are
(generally speaking) activists, because they're all in their
individual forums debating their concerns.

It is interesting to see what media scholars think about these
problems.  Occasionally I watch C-SPAN, where media scholars lecture
on emerging media.  The chief concern I have heard expressed with the
Internet is that much of what is here is not presented with context.
I would tend to agree.