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Judyth and all stakeholders or other interested parties and members,

espresso@e-scape.net wrote:

> At 09:35 +0100 2002/10/31, Vittorio Bertola wrote:
> >On the other hand, a wide majority of our members didn't even care to
> >vote for the election of the panel, let alone voting once or twice a
> >week on specific issues.
> Nobody has suggested voting once or twice a week as a modus operandi for the organization we will become but that voting is necessary *now* to determine what the organization's aims and rules will be.
> We should probably remember, too, that becoming a "member" of this group is a matter of filling in a simple Web form which commits one to nothing at all. Not even a core vision, let alone active involvement in the "scutwork" of setting up a new organization and building its membership and credibility in the long term.
> As for voting for the Panel members, how strong is the desire to vote if you don't known one candidate from another and have no idea what policies they actually advocate?

  You find out this information about a potential candidate by asking questions,
Judyth.  If the candidate, in personor not, does not answer the question or
questions posed, than you have at least that lack of information to aid
you in how to vote...  IMHO, unresponsive candidates are not good
candidates and should not be voted for...  This of course goes to
accountability and transparency...

> In this kind of group, the best a newcomer can hope for is a strong sense of whom they don't want running things and enough postings from the others to get an idea of how the others think.

  We have archives of most of the active members comments, positions,
and other odd or unstructured ideas that all of us have stated or otherwise
put forth.  Therefore is seem reasonable to me, that each member, new
or already existing would benefit from reviewing the archives every week
at least.  I do!  >;)

> >So I think we need a reasonable compromise between the need of keeping
> >our decision process open, so to avoid that the panel acts in
> >directions that the membership wouldn't approve, and the need of
> >building an organization which will hopefully have thousands of
> >members, most of which will only want to elect their representatives
> >and forget about the matter until the next panel elections, unless for
> >extraordinary issues (such as the change of name, or bylaws
> >amendments).
> In fact, though, we can expect a very low turnout for votes of all kinds -- except those which actually matter to the voters. Voting for a domain name is hardly the same thing as voting to incorporate an organization which will do X, Y or Z.
> For most people on the planet, there is nothing more boring than reading (let alone writing) stuff like
> The designation of the country or state of the corporation's principal office may be changed by amendment of these Bylaws. The Board of Directors may change the principal office from one location to another in the named country by noting the changed address and effective date below, and such changes of address shall not be deemed, nor require and amendment of these Bylaws."
> That being said, somebody really does have to do it, and the whole membership has to vote on it for the results to have any validity. Once it's done and approved, there is no further need for arguments about what the Board can do on its own and what requires an amendment to the bylaws by a 2/3 majority of members.
> Also, begging your pardon, Vittorio, in some kinds of non-profit organizations it is perfectly normal to have a large number of members who want certain things to be done but have no intention of doing anything about them except maybe mail a cheque. In others, such as any organization which seeks to represent a wider constituency and is just trying to get off the ground, the "I'll sign up and see what they can do for me" people who want only to vote once a year and say they're members really aren't much help. People who care that little about what the organization will or won't do can't be the target-group for the organization -- they're just as happy to let ICANN or its appointees make the decisions as they would be to have our Board of Directors do it.

  I don't find this sort of stuff boring.  Rather as a informed members,
I tend to think of this "Stuff" as you put it, as central to the identity
of this or any organization or corporation...  Hence a attentive and
knowledgeable member would be wise and helpful to themselves as
well as their fellow members to pay attention to this "Stuff"...

  THerefore every member here, including you Judyth, should be
positively encouraging to any and all members to keep themselves
abreast of the bylaws and other "Stuff" that is central to this
fledgling organization in stead of sluffing it off as boring...

> >So the important thing that needs to be settled as soon as possible is
> >the balance between what should be decided by the panel and what
> >should need consultation of the membership, and the related checks. I
> >understand and share the desire for openness and involvement, but
> >after all, if everything had to be brought to the vote of the whole
> >membership, then why should we elect a panel?
> That brings me to an important point I haven't raised directly before:
> - Top-down organizations are structured such that the Board of Directors makes the policies and membership essentially means you get to attend an annual meeting (with refreshments if you're lucky) at which you get to elect the candidates the Board has allowed to run, rubber-stamp-approve the financial statements of the preceding year, and confirm reappointment of the auditors.

  As a stock holder in a number of companies as well as having been a member
of a number of other organizations, I don't find this to be the norm Judyth.
In fact just today I participated in two stockholder company phone
conferences alone.  I am often requested or informed to participate
in may such DoB meetings with Phone or internet video meetings
or conferences.

> The membership will most likely be consulted only when the bylaws say explicitly that the membership must make the decision (in some organizations, not even then!); otherwise, the Board and management staff make all the decisions and merely report what they've done -- from time to time and to the extent that they feel like it, unless the bylaws specifically demand that their minutes and resolutions be published.

  I think you are envisioning how ICANN does things.  They are not by
any measure the norm.  Nor in my experience is this true for most publicly
held companies or non-profit organizations that have a membership.  In some
state legal statues for instance that have a membership or stockholders
in the case of publicly held corporations, are required to notify and
allow for the open participation of those members or stockholders,
respectively of any and all meetings where decisions are to be made
that may effect those members or stockholders respectively.
California is one such state BTW for a Non-profit corp.

> - Bottom-up organizations are those where the real decision-making power rests with the membership. Usually, the group they elect is called an Executive Council rather than a Board of Directors, reflecting the fact that those elected are charged with executing the will of the membership. Policies may be drafted by the Executive Council or particular committees but are not to be implemented until approved by the membership. Here is a fairly typical clause for a bottom-up organization:
> The supreme legislative authority to shape the direction and deeds of the corporation rests with the membership, which is hereby empowered to exert and express its collective will on all matters of corporation business at an Annual or Special General Meeting. This includes but is not limited to the power to adopt, amend or repeal these Bylaws by a two-thirds majority of those voting at a General Meeting or by other means."
> To the best of my knowledge, after reading the available material and all these discussions, this group's Panel was elected as an interim Executive Council, not a policy-making Board. That is, for there to be an organization, somebody has to assume responsibility for doing the organizing, drafting agendas, timetables, budgets, calling for nominations or volunteers for specific tasks that need doing, etc. (Nowhere does it say this Panel was elected with an unlimited mandate or that its decisions are binding on the membership.)
> However, although Joanna Lane tried to structure this group along those lines, the process was soon sidetracked by debates over the domain name, legal liability of (non-)directors, etc. Since then, the Panel has not even attempted to "call the meeting to order" or address the question of how the concerns of the membership can be dealt with in a civilized fashion.
> There have been repeated efforts to get a response from the Panel on how this group is to proceed from chaos to order to organization. There have been repeated reminders to our Panelists that the past election did not authorize those elected to act unilaterally -- not as a collective, and still less as individuals -- and that all Panel members should be working together to advance this group along a chosen path ... as soon as we're allowed to have a mechanism for choosing that path.
> I believe it is *extremely* important that this group be allowed to
> - debate its mission and the objectives along the way to achieving it,
> - define the mandates of Panelists, working groups, representatives to ICANN or other bodies, etc.,
> - define a mechanism whereby there can be "motions from the floor" as well as resolutions within the Panel, and (at least in broad terms) the methods by which further decisions of various types will be taken,
> - define the terms of office for Panel members, WG Chairs, and other elected representatives (if we choose to have them)
> - set a timetable for itself and for the membership by which we can make orderly progress towards the goal.

  There are a number of good examples that could be used or adopted that
have been discussed at some length on the DNSO GA list archives.

> Without these things and effective chairmanship of this discussion as well as of the Panel and WGs, I think this group dooms itself to achieve nothing but aimless discussion and (possibly) the opportunity for some people to claim they represent a constituency which they in fact have no desire to represent to the extent of finding out what they actually want. There is nothing wrong with representative democracy but one needs the democracy first!

  Agreed.  However a direct democracy is far superior to a representative one.

> Regards,
> Judyth
> ##########################################################
> Judyth Mermelstein     "cogito ergo lego ergo cogito..."
> Montreal, QC           <espresso@e-scape.net>
> ##########################################################
> "A word to the wise is sufficient. For others, use more."
> ##########################################################

Jeffrey A. Williams
Spokesman for INEGroup - (Over 127k members/stakeholders strong!)
CEO/DIR. Internet Network Eng/SR. Java/CORBA Development Eng.
Information Network Eng. Group. INEG. INC.
E-Mail jwkckid1@ix.netcom.com
Contact Number: 214-244-4827 or 972-244-3801
Address: 5 East Kirkwood Blvd. Grapevine Texas 75208

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