[discuss] What is MSism?

Norbert Bollow nb at bollow.ch
Fri Apr 18 11:44:15 UTC 2014

Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:

> The problem with this way of casting things (with which I don't
> exactly disagree, by the way) is twofold. First, I think in much of
> the discussion so far we've been using "multistakeholder" and cognates
> partly as shorthand for, "not centralised, top-down, and closed."

This is a very good point.

It is of course easy to get a broad consensus on "not centralised,
top-down, and closed."

Whether any actual concrete attempt to implement "not centralised,
top-down, and closed" actually achieves that is a different question.

The answer to this question will often depend on one's perspective:

Even if from one social grouping's perspective (for example those who
are currently driving the "NETmundial" process) something appears to be
"not centralised, top-down, and closed", the same thing must look very
different from the perspectives of those who tried to get personally
involved but were summarily rejected (I'm thinking here specifically
about the "Community Informatics" community), and those who provided
substantive inputs about important concerns that seem to be getting
totally ignored by the drafting process for the outcome document (as
seems to be the case in regard to the contributions of the Just Net

> We can, I suppose, try to introduce nuance into that, but I can't say
> I'm optimistic.

Well NETmundial seems to have evolved into an attempt to create a kind
of constitutional moment for Internet governance, in which
"multistakeholder" is enshrined as its fundamental constitutional

In that kind of context, shouldn't it be considered absolutely
essential to have nuance and clarity on what exactly is proposed?

> Second, I think part of what people have been valuing (at
> least I have) in the loose meaning of "multistakeholder" is that it
> values inclusion of individual contributors. [..]

Lots of good thoughts in that second part of the posting. Whether under
the "multistakeholder" heading or in some other way, this good aspect
of the IETF type of processes deserves recognition. Further, it seems
to be not nearly widely enough known yet how harmful stakeholder-group
silo oriented mulstakeholderism can be in this regard.


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