[discuss] [bestbits] Representative Multistakeholder model validity (was: Re: Selection RE: 1Net, Brazil and other RE: BR meeting site launched)

michael gurstein gurstein at gmail.com
Sat Jan 18 17:56:31 UTC 2014

Ah... John, 


If, as you say “this list has quite a few technical folks on it, and they tend to be of analytic mindset which deconstructs, examines, hypothesizes, and test that which is proposed”, then presumably they know better than anyone and particularly us non-technical artsy fartsy folks that science/knowledge proceeds not by attempting to prove positives i.e. as for example the “validity” of this or that, but rather by demonstrating the “invalidity” (falsifiability*) of this or that… 


So in this instance the burden of proof surely falls not on those who are demonstrating that the “multistakeholder model” doesn’t provide an appropriate approach to governance but rather on those who are attempting to assert that it does…


If the manner in which the manifestly illegitimate “multistakeholder” selection processes have been conducted in this instance by 1net do not qualify as a “black swan**” (i.e. as a direct falsification of the validity of the approach by which various folks are attempting to bury democracy) then I have no idea what might…




*q.v. Karl Popper and “Falsifiability” as the basis of scientific knowledge: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability


** Black swans: “For example, by the problem of induction <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction> , no number of confirming observations can verify a universal generalization <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumerative_induction> , such as All swans are white, yet it is logically possible to falsify it by observing a single black swan. Thus, the term falsifiability is sometimes synonymous to testability. Some statements, such as It will be raining here in one million years, are falsifiable in principle, but not in practice.” (  ^ <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability#cite_ref-2>  Popper, K. R. (1994). "Zwei Bedeutungen von Falsifizierbarkeit [Two meanings of falsifiability]". In Seiffert, H.; Radnitzky, G. Handlexikon der Wissenschaftstheorie. München: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag. pp. 82–85. ISBN <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Standard_Book_Number>  3-423-04586-8 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:BookSources/3-423-04586-8> ) as quoted in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability. 


From: bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net [mailto:bestbits-request at lists.bestbits.net] On Behalf Of John Curran
Sent: Saturday, January 18, 2014 9:10 AM
To: parminder
Cc: 1Net List; governance at lists.igcaucus.org; &lt,bestbits at lists.bestbits.net&gt,
Subject: [bestbits] Representative Multistakeholder model validity (was: Re: [discuss] Selection RE: 1Net, Brazil and other RE: BR meeting site launched)


On Jan 17, 2014, at 6:06 PM, parminder <parminder at itforchange.net> wrote:


You cannot in this manner post facto technical-ize an essentially political issue... And if indeed everything is so simple why did not the reps of the 4 groups in the CS CC just not allow the Community Informatics Network (CIN) rep also be a part of the selection panel? Do you think that it is a fake group...   

Denying political space and role to different groups, and the corresponding claims of those so denied, are both highly political acts... And they are best treated as such... It is not quite right that those who participate actively in such political acts, and obtain political roles (quite a legitimate thing to do), then hold forth on how people should not aspire for such spaces/positions... No personal offence implied, but lets not side step serious issues. Some claims may be weightier than others, and that is fine. Some kind of sorting out would need to be done as part of a political process.  One can discuss that. It is entirely possible that Diplo Foundation and its alumuni brings better and more effective (both criteria being important) representation of what is normally considered civil society interests than the Community Informatics Network (CIN) does. It is also entirely possible that NCUC deals with issues more salient to general people (civil society) than does CIN. All of this is quite possible. But such should be the bases, or not, for some group being in there and other not being there. All this is entirely political, as IG is political. Those who dont think it is political, can as well step out of the space and let those who consider it is political represent them...

The primary purpose of my comment is just to speak out against technicalizing issues of representation. Can you say with confidence that you and other members of the concerned committee or whatever will, say, push the perspectives in the CI's Internet declaration as you would the position i have heard you articulate. Or others in these committees will do so vis a vis the positions I have seen them so strongly advocate, and also strategize so actively around. Lets be real. We need diversity in the people who represent and not just the views that they claim they will pick up and push with equal force..  

Also, is it not interesting that reps of four CS groups who are a part of the selection process selected 5 persons for the 1Net committee, all of which belong to the management structures of these four CS groups.. Indeed, quite a diversity seeking exercise! Could they not find one person from outside, from the whole universe of civil society! Is this not a high degree of insularity. And now these homilies, on being good and nice people...

Before advice pours in to take such issues off this list, I must add that civil society is always about a bit of a chaos.... Les our friends from outside civil society learn the culture. 


Parminder - 


    You do not hear me recommending that such issues be taken of the 1net list;  to the contrary, I 

    believe that the discussion of representative vs open multistakeholder models is a fundamental 

    and important topic for discussion regarding Internet governance.


    However, I will also note that this list has quite a few technical folks on it, and they tend to be of 

    analytic mindset which deconstructs, examines, hypothesizes, and test that which is proposed.   


    In this case, the question that has been raised is "validity" of a given set of representatives per

    the "Representative MultiStakeholder model"  Until someone can explain what makes for valid 

    representation, it is not possible to assess the validity of any set of representatives.   It is clear 

    that any given set of representatives are going to be a subset of the possible representatives, 

    so how does one determine which representatives are to be chosen to construct the best 

    "representative" stakeholder group?   If the "Representative MS model" is truly is a valid model 

    (and not just a catchphrase), then should it not be possible for different folks to follow the 

    representative MS model to choose 3, 5, or 10 representatives from a given list of names and 

    come up with similar choices for optimum representation in each case?


    This is not to "technical-ize an essentially political issue"; it is simply the application of the 

    known rational/scientific method to the problem space.  The alternative is to assert that a  

    rational method is inapplicable to representative multistakeholder selection; if that's the case, 

    so be it, but recognize then that your laments about any given selection may fall on deaf ears 

    (as you have given us no yardstick by which to measure validity.)





Disclaimer:  My views alone.  Hopefully, they will be seen by the value (or lack thereof ;-) that they

                    represent to the discussion, rather than the result of my "representing" (or not) others...



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