[discuss] /1net Steering/Coordination Commitee

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Mon Dec 30 06:54:18 UTC 2013

Thanks Jeremy,


Just a few points of clarification

1.       While the CC:CS group may represent "a large majority of known
civil society organisations participating in Internet governance
discussions", the continuing point of most of my interventions in the CS
space over the 8 or 9 years in which I've been involved and which increased
significantly in intensity over the last couple of months as Snowden and
other issues have rapidly come to the surface, is precisely to attempt to
broaden the base of those discussions to include groups and
organizations/networks (of course including CI) not currently "participating
in IG discussions"-unless of course you think that your current list of
"known civil society organizations" is sufficient for all purposes

2.       I have already commented more than enough on CC:CS's internal

3.       I'm interested to see both the list of "criteria" that you have
included in your note and Ian's call (on the BB list) for discussion on
criteria and would only comment in response to Ian, "well it is about time"
and to you Jeremy, this seems to me to be the third list of such criteria
that you have provided and with almost no overlap between them and no
evident justification, beyond their being pulled out of thin air, for any of
them. And as a matter of fact I have no problem with the most recent set
that you have provided. As to whether or not the CI group matched any of the
sets of criteria that you have presented I have yet to see anything beyond
gossip and vague statements of the nature of "some existing members in the
coordination group felt that Michael's group did not meet the draft
criteria" as justification for the rebuff of any of my/our initiatives in
relation to CC:CS

4.       I'm surprised at your characterization of the CI network since I
have no idea what your interaction with it might have been.  Be for
proceeding, It would probably have been a good idea to consult with Anriette
who has been part of at least one significant activity area of our community
for roughly 10 years, Anja who has been a lurker in another area for a
couple of years and some of the other people in the various networks such as
APC who have had various levels of engagement with CI over the years. (I can
give you a list if you want.)  To better inform yourself of the range of
interests and activities of the network I would point you to 

a.       the open and key word searchable 12 year archives of the main CI
list http://vancouvercommunity.net/lists/arc/ciresearchers perhaps we could
have a similar pointer to the archives of the other networks involved in the
CC:CS grouping.

b.      the archives of the Journal of Community Informatics (which is
sponsored by the network) and can be found at
http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej The journal is fully peer reviewed, has
been listed as an "A" or "B" journal in a variety of journal ranking schemes
and is indexed in several of the leading international academic indexes.  It
might be of interest that the Journal has since the current count was begun
in 2006, had some 1,171,479 individual article downloads
<http://ci-journal.net/reports/>  (yes, that is 1.17 million!). Besides the
upcoming special issue of the JoCI on Community Informatics in Southern
Africa we have recently published special issues on Community Informatics
and Older Persons, <http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/33>
Community Informatics and Open Government Data
<http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/41> , Community Informatics
and Health <http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/40>  and of
course on Telecentres <http://ci-journal.net/index.php/ciej/issue/view/15>
(which you might be interested to learn is an extremely important element in
development programs particularly in rural areas in Pakistan, Bangladesh,
South Africa, and even in your backyard Malaysia).

c.       The CI network conference in Prato,
<http://cirn.wikispaces.com/Conference+Call+2013>  Italy now entering its
10th year I believe, last year co-sponsored by the U. of California and with
a thematic focus on Community Informatics and archives.

d.      (your really should do your homework Jeremy.

5.       I'm personally delighted to learn that "There are many other civil
society organisations that work with marginalised communities" already
active in the IG space and I look forward to collaborating with them on
joint initiatives to raise the profile of these communities as these
discussions move forward. We would not be sufficiently presumptuous to claim
any sort of monopoly in this area but nor are we willing to accept the
purported monopoly  of the CC:CG group or any of its constituent members
either in the IG CS space or within any component part of that space. The
Community Informatics community believes that it has a useful role to play
in bringing certain currently under-represented voices and issues into the
IG space, it further believes that it has a very substantial basis of
experience, knowledge and skill in its area of interest and it intends to
make that available to the degree possible even over the resistance of those
seemingly unreasonably protective of their existing "turf".




From: Jeremy Malcolm [mailto:jeremy at ciroap.org] 
Sent: Monday, December 30, 2013 10:11 AM
To: michael gurstein
Cc: Suzanne Woolf; discuss at 1net.org
Subject: Re: [discuss] /1net Steering/Coordination Commitee


On 30 Dec 2013, at 8:39 am, michael gurstein <gurstein at gmail.com> wrote:

Thanks Suzanne and perhaps I should add some additional information at this


As I made the community aware, that element of CS constituted under the
framework of the "CS Coordinating Committee" (CC:CS) chose to proceed in
relation to Inet and elsewhere in exclusion of the Community Informatics
community (CI); in processes without transparency or accountability; and
with some question as to the appropriateness of the outcomes of their
internal nomination and other processes.


It is a shame that Michael's disagreement with the core civil society groups
and networks involved in Internet governance has come to this, because his
contribution in the past has been rather valuable.  I also note that others
have already intervened to correct falsehoods that Michael had posted.  But
to avoid people being further misled, I think it is worth intervening again
to set a few facts straight.  I'm not posting this message on behalf of
anyone but myself, and in particular I will defer to Ian Peter who is the
chair of the coordination group if he can correct any of this.


1.	The civil society IG coordination group came into existence out of a
need for civil society groups to work together to nominate representatives
for various forums; originally for 1net and Brazil events, but certainly
with thoughts of IGF MAG as well in the future.
2.	It comprises liaisons from all the major civil society coalitions
and networks that together include a large majority of known civil society
organisations participating in Internet governance discussions.  Currently
included (in no particular order) are the Association for Progressive
Communications (APC), Diplo Foundation, Best Bits, the Non-Commercial
Stakeholder Group of ICANN (NCSG), and (pending new coordinator elections)
the Civil Society Internet Governance Caucus (IGC).
3.	The way in which the coordination group works may be loose and
informal, but this is because it works by trying to develop consensus,
rather than through voting.  As all we are trying to do is to gather input
from our constituent networks and reach a selection that is consensually
agreeable to most, this involves quite different mechanisms of transparency
and accountability than if a voting process were used.  Although Michael may
not like this, on that point he is a noisy minority.
4.	The coordination group has been reaching out to other civil society
networks that could expand the group with their own liaisons, if they fulfil
a basic set of criteria. These criteria themselves remain open for
discussion, but as a working draft the following factors had been proposed:

1.	Is a coalition which is globally representative - all regions
2.	Is it non-commercial and public interest oriented (as opposed to
3.	Would it more properly fit under technical community, business or
government in its categorization?
4.	Is a large part of this coalition's members already covered by one
of the existing  members?
5.	The internal governance of the coalition is adequately transparent
and accountable to its members.

5.	Michael Gurstein has been participating in at least two of the
existing member networks (IGC and Best Bits) and channelling his suggestions
to the coordination group in that way.  There has been no evidence or
allegation that his input has ever been disregarded or overruled. On this
basis, some existing members in the coordination group felt that Michael's
group did not meet the draft criteria.
6.	Nevertheless Michael's community informatics network was invited to
to express its interest in joining the coordination group and Michael did so
on 22 December in an email that contained the following language: "I think
that it is not unreasonable to assume that any delay after COB tomorrow GMT
is a "no" and I will be informing the CI community and others of your
decision after that time.
We may or may not be making a similar approach to the academic community but
that has no bearing on this matter here.
These are, BTW not issues of collegiality or of personality but of very
serious politics and the decision that you folks make will have quite
serious ramifications both for yourselves, for CS in IG, and perhaps even
for IG itself. 
>From what I understand the CI community in its significant diversity, scope
and ultimately I think depth is now quite focused behind the Declaration and
whether or not you folks act appropriately and responsibly, CI and the
Internet Justice movement is not going to go away."
7.	Ian's response to this hardly-veiled threat stated "We do not think
it is appropriate to make such a decision without due consideration,
including considering a number of other organisations who would have equal
and perhaps better cases to make as regards joining a co-ordination group
which must be kept to a manageable size.
Accordingly, and because any decisions we make here can have substantial
ramifications, we have decided to delay any decisions on expansion of
membership of the co ordination group until they can be considered properly.
In the current circumstances of limited availability for many people, that
will be after we have completed the Brazil committee nomination processes in
mid January".
8.	The community informatics network is essentially the remnants of a
network of telecentres that is itself divided across a couple of mailing
lists, and has mainly a local focus.  It is incorrect to state that only
through the community informatics network can the interests of marginalised
communities be represented in the coordinating group.  There are many other
civil society organisations that work with marginalised communities, for
example through APC and others of the coordinating group members, that are
not part of the community informatics network.
9.	As well as opposing the coordination group process, Michael was also
one of a few members who similarly attempted to disrupt the Best Bits
network by demanding that it adopt a formal representational organisational
structure that most participants had indicated that they did not want.
10.	1net, which does not even have a steering group yet, is not in a
position to determine how civil society should self-select its
representatives.  Although we do not claim it to be perfect, nevertheless
there is an overall rough consensus within the core civil society groups
involved in Internet governance discussions to support the coordinating
group process as the vehicle for selection of representatives.  1net has no
basis to second-guess this by affording Michael Gurstein an extra place at
the table, just because he doesn't like the coordinating group process.



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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