[discuss] /1net Steering/Coordination Commitee

Jeremy Malcolm jeremy at ciroap.org
Sat Dec 21 10:11:54 UTC 2013

On 21 Dec 2013, at 12:58 pm, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:

> 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?

If he's willing I would nominate Andrea Glorioso from the European Commission (who lurks on this list, and sometimes posts on some of the other lists).

>> People without a technical background, but who have important
>> insights from other disciplines to contribute to technical
>> discussions, do not work on technical mailing lists.
> I have some experience to suggest this is false, actually. I spent
> several years working on open source software lists, and requirements
> gathering was one of the things I tried hard to do. That involved
> soliciting input from people who otherwise would _not_ be
> contributors.

But that was really my point - you have to actively solicit it.  When this happens - and you give a good example - that's great.

>> So, having a mailing list that is open is not adequate to ensure the
>> inclusiveness of a process, or that any concern that hasn't been
>> voiced on that list are "not an important concern". To do that, much
>> more proactive outreach and capacity building is needed. 
> Of course. Despite SM's slightly flip formulation, I don't think he
> meant to suggest that every concern not already expressed is thereby
> not important. I would say, however, that the whole _point_ of doing
> this sort of thing in public is to try to ensure that alternative
> views come up somehow.  And there's no way to promise, after all that,
> that the group won't have missed something.  But I'm not sure that
> well-funded groups with claims to legitimacy (governments, anyone?) do
> much better in ensuring that all views are taken seriously.

I agree, and have been advocating for some time that governments and intergovernmental organisations need to take some responsibility for funding the participation of civil society representatives, when they draw part of the legitimacy of their work from claims that it is multi-stakeholder.

Dr Jeremy Malcolm
Senior Policy Officer
Consumers International | the global campaigning voice for consumers
Office for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East
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