[discuss] My current understanding of scope and why

Seth Johnson seth.p.johnson at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 16:32:41 UTC 2014

You'd do better to talk about the rest of my message.  The conception
of distinguishing "more technical" at all, works as a misdirection
that encourages people to think that one set of issues should be
addressed in a new way, while what we've been doing heretofore
ostensibly applies to "more technical" issues.  But it isn't the
technical-or-not nature of the issues that's the problem.  It's that
they seemed "more technical" because the context we had let us work
that way.

But you addressed the misguided concept of the problem, not the
important point to make about the nature of the situation (a point which I
clarified in a parenthetical note, to be sure).

Also, *very* important (and especially as long as we keep acting like
certain issues are distinct and require a special approach that's not
so "more technical") is that it's not at all clear that "the Internet"
is really the common denominator on this notional continuum/"connected
spectrum."  There are clear signs that WSIS is not about that, but
about other kinds of networks!  :-)


On Tue, Jan 7, 2014 at 10:45 AM, Andrew Sullivan <ajs at anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 07, 2014 at 10:05:36AM -0500, Seth Johnson wrote:
>> I think it important to incorporate specific stipulation that a
>> supposedly clear distinction between "more technical" and "other"
>> categories of issues can't be treated as tenable.
> Well, yes, but I want to be careful not to fall into the bald man
> fallacy[1] too (which is the other end of that same problem).  Lots of
> people seem to believe that because, "How to we make sure IPv6
> allocation is done neutrally and fairly?" and, "How do we tackle the
> problem of international identity fraud and its implications for
> banking systems?" are both Internet governance topics (according to
> what we just said), therefore there's no important distinction to be
> made.  That's just as false as, "There's a hard separation here."
> The point I was trying to make is that these issues lie along a
> connected spectrum, having "the Internet" in common but possibly not
> much else.
> Best regards,
> A
> [1] For people unfamiliar: the bald man fallacy goes like this.
> Consider a series of days: day n, day n+1, . . . day n+m.  On day n, I
> am not bald.  On day n+1, did I lose enough hair to become bald?
> Except in unusual medical circumstances or where I shaved my head, the
> answer is "obviously not".  The fallacious conclusion is, "Therefore,
> I will never be bald."  There is no moment in time at which I pass the
> threshold from "hairy" to "bald", and yet there is surely a point at
> which I become bald.  (That day is apparently approaching for me,
> judging from my hairline.)
> --
> Andrew Sullivan
> ajs at anvilwalrusden.com
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