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

	I'll cast another vote for the proposition that avoiding capture should be
a primary goal.  Along those lines, I want to stress my view that the
*worst* thing we could do would be to structure the at-large seats on the
Board as a set of single-member constituencies, each to be elected by
majority vote of the population as a whole.  That could easily give us a
situation in which the electorate fragments into a variety of voting
groups, and the largest faction (which nonetheless falls far short of a
majority) is able to sweep each of the seats.  That seems neither
representative, nor likely to result in good policy.  A better approach, as
Eric and Mike Norris suggest, would be to use some sort of proportional
representation plan designed to ensure that all interests with substantial
support are represented and that a minority of voters cannot gain a
majority of seats.

	That won't take care of the problem of representing those not active
enough to join and vote, but I'm not sure that any scheme will.  (I do
remember that in the pre-Green Paper days, when folks in the US government
were tossing around different ideas as to how an IANA successor would work,
there was sentiment for giving Board seats to something like a PSO,
expressly building in representation for the Internet geek contingent, on
the theory that those folk, besides being technically expert, were as
likely to represent the undifferentiated "public interest" as anyone.)

	Joop points out that it's problematic to grant voting rights to
pre-defined constituencies, Lebanon-style.  Nobody's proposing doing this
with the at-large membership, though.  The proposal isn't to identify, in
advance of the vote, who should get representation; it's to establish a
neutral voting structure that ensures that interests who get substantial
voting support in the election end up on the Board in proportion to their
support, whoever they turn out to be.

	I've two questions about supermajority requirements.  (1) Would the effect
of such a requirement be to lock in whatever policy determinations are made
by the *interim* board, which has no such limitations?  Witness the current
controversy over the proposed registrar accreditation rules.  (2) In a lot
of ways, the biggest short-to-medium-term issue before the Board is the
addition of new gTLDs.  There aren't going to be new gTLDs in the generally
accepted root servers except on terms determined by the ICANN Board; any
failure to take action maintains the status quo.  Would a supermajority
requirement bias ICANN's decisionmaking structure in favor of the go-slow
contingent, and against the addition of (very many, or indeed any) new gTLDs?


Jon Weinberg

At 08:06 PM 2/13/99 -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.  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?
>>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
>I've probably missed it amidst the sea of list emails and announcements; do
>you have a particular "single transferable vote" proposal and description
>up anywhere?
>>electing all seats at the same time;
>I'd worry that this could be worse than a three-at-a-time replacement--a
>single "captured" electorate (imagine a bunch of last-minute registrations
>thanks to an intense membership sign-up and voting drive by a single
>interest) could replace the whole at-large half of the board in one swoop,
>>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