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

Norbert Bollow nb at bollow.ch
Sat Jan 18 21:01:46 UTC 2014

John Curran <jcurran at istaff.org> wrote:

> I understand how an _open_ multistakeholder approach allows for
> everyone (who wishes) to present their views on a given topic, have
> those views considered based on their merits, and allow all to ponder
> and revise their understanding based on the information exchanged.
> I fail to understand how an _representative_ multistakeholder
> approach fairly provides for the "represented" to have their
> positions considered in a manner that allows for all participating to
> revise their views based on the discussion that occurs, and if this
> does not occur than one may argue that there isn't actual
> deliberative consideration going but simply a dance of posturing and
> negotiation.

In my view, representative multistakeholder approaches are not about
creating a broad discourse, but about populating, in a reasonably fair
and balanced manner, committees and the like which for practical
reasons have only a quite limited number of seats.

I posit that a reasonable way to implement a process for selecting
representatives is for each stakeholder category to organize a
randomly selected NomCom process, with each NomCom being tasked to
seek to choose a set of representatives who jointly represent the
breadth of perspectives of that stakeholder category as well as
is possible under the circumstances.

Individuals who are close to one of the unavoidably fuzzy boundaries
between stakeholder categories would get to choose which one of
the stakeholder category that are on offer in that particular context
fits them best.

I don't claim that this kind of approach would yield perfect
representation, but at least the imperfections would be random rather
than systematic, and any bias in the pool of people who tend to
volunteer for serving on NomComs can be addressed by the very
democratic process that anyone who is concerned about such bias is free
to seek to convince other qualified people (who don't have that bias)
to volunteer for future NomCom pools.


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