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Re: <nettime> 'IANA' to revoke .su ccTLD?
t byfield on Tue, 22 Oct 2002 18:38:23 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> 'IANA' to revoke .su ccTLD?

morlockelloi {AT} yahoo.com (Mon 10/21/02 at 10:55 AM -0700):

> While I (more or less) agree with the three points below, they still don't
> support anti-ICANNism. ICANN does exactly what a *single* *global* dictionary
> editor would do. Sooner will your constructive critique of a pig make it fly
> than ICANN will change due to your anti-ICANN efforts.

over the last ~4 years, it was hardly clear that ICANN would succeed as
well as it has. though, since we don't have a control group in a paral-
lel universe, it's hard to say what 'would have happened' had ICANN's
critics behaved differently; so one can't flatly state that they've had
no effect -- unless, of course, one is intent on flogging defeatism on
the basis of a priori assumptions, which seems to be what you're up to.
it's been my impression on and off that ICANN's critics have seriously
changed the organization and the debates within and surrounding it, but 
the rule about lacking a comparison applies equally in that regard: we
can't know.

and while i think it's fair to say that most of ICANN's critics sought
to change its course, there were other issues as well -- for example, 
educating people on some of the issues surrounding technical-standards-
setting bodies and their ilk. i won't pretend to be an expert on the 
subject now, let alone pretend that i was one when i started writing 
about ICANN -- or even that i could have formulated that thought nearly 
so clearly. the willingness to admist such things is one of the many
benefits of forgoing defeatism and the retrospective omniscience that
is its handmaiden.

> So I conclude that banging against the wall promotes the banger rather 
> than the wall's collapse.

and i conclude that when you're weak on details, you'll settle for a 
cheap shot.

but on a more useful note:

areflagan {AT} artpanorama.com (Mon 10/21/02 at 01:20 PM -0400):

> / andy mueller-maghun's comments at h2k2 in july offered numerous examples
> of how ICANN renders its at-large members at-large by strategic committee
> work; keep forming and dismantling working groups internally until the right
> recommendation arrives. And karl auerbach has remained on the sidelines
> during much of his tenure due to the drawn out legal proceedings; he has
> been unable to work with(in) ICANN to the extent his position would,
> theoretically, mandate. Something should tell everyone that eloquence and
> arguments, originating at-large, will always be drowned and silenced in an
> autocratic bureaucracy that, in turn, officially passes for a representative
> and democratic process. At-large is simply an insider joke at ICANN. And
> that's sadly your internet for you...

ICANN's at-large were marginalized as soon as they demonstrated that
they posed a real threat. that was apparent at the berkman-sponsored 
'pressing issues 2' session at ICANN's november 2000 meeting in mari-
na del rey, when ICANN's own Mission Creep andrew mclaughlin bent him-
self into an N-dimensional pretzel arguing that the organization's by-
laws provided only for one election. had the at-large elected picked
a bunch of somnolent stooges, i suspect things would have panned out
very differently. the ease with which some of the other people elec-
ted by the at-large -- people who were, uh, far more flexible -- have
settled in shows, i think, that the problems were more 'personal' than

and i can't say that i agree with you that karl's been sidelined by 
his lawsuit -- it happened well before that, and his suit was only a
last-ditch (and *very* reluctant) effort to make a silk purse out of
a sow's ear. ICANN's true believers had worked themselves up into a
frenzy over the staff-originated claim that he was hell-bent on pub-
lishing every document they ended up having to give him. he said that
he wouldn't, and he hasn't; and, oddly enough, some of these selfsame
true believers have since found that they can actually cope with work-
ing with him.

but more important than these personal details is the fact -- imo --
that karl's *success* in his suit brought to fruition one of the main
concerns that attended ICANN's early phase: namely, that as a US-based
corporation, it would fall prey to the litigation for which the US is
famous. not only did that happen, but it was one of ICANN's own *dir-
ectors* that sued it. ICANN's shrill PR in response made clear that
the organization's staff was incapable of performing its duties in an
equitable or even-handed manner. 

in the long term, i think that took a huge toll on ICANN's 'legitimacy' 
on the international level, particularly with the ccTLDs. and that's 
very important, because they offer, in the balance, a viable alterna-
tive for most of the world's net users. ICANN's been ransacking the US 
'space,' handing out .us and .org to its cronies as fast as it could, 
but the ccTLDs and RIRs are still bitterly (and effectively) opposed to 
ICANN's attempts to subordinate them.

and to return to morlock's point, it's my sense that ICANN's critics
have played a crucial role in publicizing issues that benefitted the
ccTLDs -- and, in effect, insulating people outside of the US 'space'
against ICANN's efforts to use DNS as a vehicle for globalizing IPR.


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