[discuss] /1net Steering/Coordination Commitee

Stephen Farrell stephen.farrell at cs.tcd.ie
Sat Dec 21 09:20:03 UTC 2013

Work on improving how government types interact with the
technical community is something that'd be worth trying.
Its not something that could possibly be solved in the
next few months, but, if the right kinds of people were
willing, then its possible that useful progress could be

I *think* government types might be able to discuss
that (meta-)topic on a mailing list for example.

I suspect that the longer-term answer may involve
some new kind of civil service role with which the
formal part of government decision-making is less
associated. But even in the shorter term there may
be things that could be done that'd reduce friction
and help understanding.


PS: Someone should probably change the subject
line. I would have, but I'm not sure what I'd call
the proposed thing;-)

On 12/21/2013 08:22 AM, Mawaki Chango wrote:
> On Sat, Dec 21, 2013 at 4:58 AM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com>wrote:
>>> Few governments work on mailing lists.
>> Indeed, because they claim sovereignty and therefore cannot possibly
>> negotiate with any other non-sovereigns. This is a serious and tricky
>> problem of (diplomatic) protocol, and I don't dismiss it. If we are to
>> be successful, we need to face it. I'd be extremely enthusiastic to
>> learn of a group (I'm tempted to say "working group") organising to
>> confront that problem, and I would contribute to it. But it would need
>> diplomats and people who have worked as civil servants to be part of
>> the group.  Do you think we can attract such people?
> I think it would, but that might take some work to be able to convince a
> wide enough variety of civil servants (eg, from every continent). At any
> rate, I would be interested in taking part in this effort, too, although I
> never worked in a government/public administration (except around them at
> international/intergovernmental organization level).
> We also have to understand that this is not simply arrogance or an
> irrepressible desire to be in charge, although some of that may be in play.
> We have to recognize the fact that we are in the middle of an important
> cultural and historical transition/change for entities like nation-state
> governments. The administrative protocol challenge is real whether it stems
> from multi-century old bureaucratic or diplomatic culture and practices.
> There's some tension/contradiction in saying civil servants would be
> participating in their individual capacity and still consider them as
> government elements. On the other hand if they were to participate as
> government, their employer has to approve and allocate time to this effort
> on their work time as civil servant. Plus there is such thing as "devoir de
> reserve" (duty of reservation?) especially in an international/global
> setting or simply in public. Civil servants can't always (or rather, rarely
> can), without risk, publicly take off-the-cuff positions in the absence of
> written rules or instructions/ established tradition or corpus of similar
> decisions/positions, etc. etc. So it would be interesting to be able to
> form a global working group including civil servants and diplomats (even in
> their persona capacity) plus other interested parties/individuals to come
> up with some useful insights on how to make that transition more feasible
> and a little smoother.
> Mawaki
> --
>> Andrew Sullivan
>> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
>> _______________________________________________
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>> http://1net.org/mailman/listinfo/discuss
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