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[Membership] The real reason language is not the issue
Esther Dyson wrote:
> Other comments, especially from those non-native-English speakers (who of
> course are not the non-ENglish speakers who are not on this list)?
The question is whether the IFWP (list, attendees at meetings and
anyone else who cares to join) should form the nucleus of ICANN's
membership (a "jump start"), not whether we should communicate in
other languages than English. There is no connection between
these issues, other than the fact that the IFWP list profile may
have been skewed in favor of English speakers (which must be dealt
with through active outreach to the non-English speaking world).
I do not want to minimize the concern. Not everyone is fluent in
English and the language barrier discriminates to varying extents
against those for whom English is not the native tongue. Thus,
ICANN must at least consider translating minutes of meetings (if
not posts to the list) into major languages. And, it may consider
regional sub-organizations (something which has not recieved much
support in the past).
There are, of course, some countervailing phenomena. We did meet
in the four corners of the earth, attracting members in each
geographic region--an investment ICANN will have difficulty
duplicating. And, English has been the common denominator in many
international lists (such as firstname.lastname@example.org) and for
But, these are side issues. No matter how we deal with them,
ICANN can ill afford and would be ill advised to squander the IFWP
effort and its resulting membership, consensus and good will.