[discuss] My current understanding of scope and why

Jorge Amodio jmamodio at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 10:33:57 UTC 2014

Andrew thanks for taking the time and patience to put together this great summary.

I will just add that as "why" is important the other question that we have been asking repeated times for which I've only seen lengthy statements, some of them full of non-sense, and that still remains is "what problems require fixing?"

Just a concrete and short list will help to focus some discussions in the right direction.


> On Jan 6, 2014, at 5:59 PM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:
> Dear colleagues,
> Over the past couple weeks I have made rather a nuisance of myself, I
> think, in pressing certain questions like a crazed 5 year old asking,
> "Why?"  I want to thank you for your indulgence as I tried to
> understand. 
> In this note, I want to outline what I now believe to be the goal of
> this effort.  (You may have your own pictures of the goal of our
> activity.  This is mine.)  Absent corrections of this outline, I plan
> to use these principles for understanding what we are trying to do,
> how I (at least) should respond to certain kinds of questions, and
> what limits I should expect to be placed on the scope of activities
> from this group.  I welcome replies and comments, of course.  I gather
> there is some concern about the volume of mail to the list, so if you
> want to send me a response off list, I am prepared later to summarise
> such responses for the list.  If you want your remarks in that case
> _not_ to be acknowledged, please tell me.  Otherwise, I'll assume you
> want to be acknowledged.
> As always, I speak for myself; I'm participating here as an individual
> and not an IAB member or a representative of my employer.  I will, of
> course, use my own lens (outlined here) in discussion with my IAB
> colleagues and my employer when focussing on these topics, but they're
> wise enough to ignore me (or tell me I'm wrong) when I speak to them
> foolishly.
> 1.  The goal of this activity
>    The goal of 1net is not necessarily to create new institutions,
>    nor even to create the founding conditions for any new
>    institution.  It is instead to provide a forum in which the
>    interplay of various institutional relationships may happen.  One
>    result of this is possibly the discovery of a scope for new
>    institutional relationships.  This could take the form of
>    determining that a given topic correctly belongs in the scope of
>    some existing institution we have, or could take the form of
>    determining that a new institution of some sort is in fact
>    necessary.
> 2.  On the meaning of Internet governance
>    "Internet governance" is an enormous topic that links together
>    diverse topics, which may not in themselves obviously fit in the
>    same discussion.  What links them is the technical impingement of
>    the Internet upon them.  To those who are technically minded, this
>    may seem to be a hodgepodge category, because it is plain that
>    the technical implications of (say) international trade in child
>    pornography and (say) the details of how ranges of addresses are
>    allocated to RIRs are at best distantly related.  Nevertheless, if
>    only by virtue of these topics having been treated under the same
>    rubric for some time, it is necessary to engage across all these
>    issues.  At the same time, it is beneficial to make clear,
>    well-delineated distinctions as we go, in order not to muddle
>    topics that can properly be treated distinctly.  By way of
>    analogy, local schools and the department of national defence may
>    both be "government activities", but they are plainly different
>    divisions.
>    Governance need not entail a new overarching role for governments,
>    and the thing to be governed need not be controversial.  For
>    instance, the mere fact of decision-making about IP address
>    allocations to RIRs is a kind of governance.  It is small and it
>    really only needs some reasonably fair if possibly arbitrary
>    convention to which everyone can subscribe.  This is not like a
>    large and controversial topic (such as, say, child protection on
>    the Internet), which may also involve a kind of "governance".
>    Many of these simpler cases may in fact ne adequately governed
>    already, and the main need may be to communicate what that
>    governance is and show it is adequate.  Of course, in such
>    discussions, we may discover that such governance actually is
>    inadequate after all.
> 3.  On the need for this exploration
>    There are three reasons that existing forums and institutions are
>    inadequate to the purposes of our activity.  One is that it is
>    nearly impossible for someone unfamiliar with the various topics
>    to learn how they relate to each other or even where a given topic
>    may already be treated.  We can function as a clearing house for
>    such questions, hooking interested parties into existing
>    structures that already treat the issue of interest.
>    A second is that trust in both the technology and in the good
>    faith of existing institutions has been shaken by some reported
>    actions in recent history.  Only by facing such behaviour and
>    discussing what can be done can any trust be restored.  When
>    facing those facts, we must acknowledge that the answer might be,
>    "Nothing can be done.  To make this better would require that no
>    bad people exist, that perfect knowledge was universal, and that
>    sovereign states will have to give up chunks of sovereignty."  It
>    is the discussion in an open forum of many actors that is at least
>    as important as the outcome.
>    A third is that everyone acknowledges that there have been "orphan
>    issues" even in the narrowest meaning of Internet governance.
>    This activity provides an opportunity to uncover these gaps and
>    either identify where those orphans fit, or to identify new
>    institutions that should be created.  
>    In general, we could say that our activity functions as a
>    facilitator for the "tussle" necessary for continued global
>    scaling of the Internet, without the creation of global or local
>    hegemons, and in service of the minimization of any perceived
>    existing threat from hegemony.  In the end, we hope to converge on
>    something that most people, including people of very different
>    backgrounds and interests, will agree is legitimate even if
>    imperfect.  We do not seek merely something that is effective.  We
>    do not aspire to universal happiness, but we do aspire to wide
>    acceptance across different types of interests and experiences.
> Acknowledgements
>    I particularly want to thank Brian Carpenter, John Curran, Avri
>    Doria, Jeremy Malcolm, Milton Mueller, Suzanne Woolf, and some
>    people who contacted me only off-list (and who, I therefore
>    assume, don't want to be associated with the public debate) for
>    detailed remarks that helped inform my thinking.
> Best regards,
> A
> -- 
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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