[discuss] A plea to refocus our efforts

Victor Ndonnang ndonnang at nvconsulting.biz
Wed Mar 26 12:14:04 UTC 2014

Dear George,


Thank you very much for always take your time to redirect the discussions on
this list and helping it remained focused on the mission or purpose (The
Open Internet Governance, yesterday, today and tomorrow). I really
appreciate it and would like to express my admiration for your open
“problems solving” mind.


I subscribed to this list in order to learn from more experienced people on
Internet Governance issues and proposed solutions or ideas on how to handle
I was about to unsubscribe due to what you presented in your
observations but some good posts were keeping me “on” until your excellent
post arrived. Thank you!

I support guidelines you proposed for the list etiquette and hope very soon
the list will retake the right direction.

Thank you once again.

Best regards,

Victor Ndonnang

Ps: English is my third language. I hope you and others understand me and I
apologize for any misunderstanding. 



De : discuss-bounces at 1net.org [mailto:discuss-bounces at 1net.org] De la part
de George Sadowsky
Envoyé : Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:20 AM
À : discuss at 1net.org List
Objet : [discuss] A plea to refocus our efforts




I have real concern regarding the future of this list.  


There have now been more than 2,000 posts to the list.  I’m sure that they
have been useful for a number of proposes, including edition for people who
read the list, presentation of approaches to =Internet governance,
clarification of views, definitions of problems, and approaches to solving


Yet for all of its richness for time to time, the ratio of signal to noise
on the list has been quite low, and there has not been (in my opinion) any
significant movement to defining and solving problems in internet
governance.  I have observed the following:


- some detailed description of some historical periods in Internet


- significant theoretical discussion of issues in political science


- a schism between people who want to live with the current Internet and
others who argue for a very different approach


- substantial circular arguments regarding political systems that appear to
have as the goal the comparison and potential resolution of two particular
people’s points of view 


- a great deal of negative feeling (both subtle and overt) directed at some
people who post


- ad hominem, disdainful, impolite and destructive attacks with no stated
basis of fact


- substantial ignorance of the Internet coupled with a lack of willingness
to learn from other posts


The combined effect of these issue has been to paralyze the list’s ability
from time to time to address real problems in Internet governance.  The
negative behavior and the lack of serious postings have caused a significant
number of people to unsubscribe, when they could have contributed to the
various discussions.


In short, we need to do better or this list will degenerate, much as similar
lists have done in the past.   There seems to be a kind of Gresham’s law
(bad money drives out good money) operating here, where 'bad posts' drive
out people who are interested in making ‘good’ posts.


This list has promise, and Internet governance needs help.   At present, we
are wasting the opportunity that this list offers.


NTIA has asked ICANN to coordinate the search for a transfer of
responsibility for the IANA functions away from the US Government to a new
environment.  The search should involve a much larger community that just
ICANN.  ICANN has said that the content of the 1net list will be a definite
contribution to this search.  Therefore anyone with an Internet connection,
regardless of time or place, can contribute to this conversation.  


That’s the potential value of this list.  Let’s exploit it. 




Based upon experience so far with this list, I’d like to suggest some
possible guidelines for list use.


1. The list has a purpose: it is an open, global online forum about Internet
governance.  It encourages multiple stakeholder discussion regarding issues
of Internet governance, with a view to finding solutions for the myriad of
Internet governance issues that now exist.  


2. Posts to the list should be consistent with the objective of the list.
Ideally, most threads should start with an issue, and subsequent posts
should move the thread toward a solution (whether a solution is ultimately
reached or not).


3. Everyone on this list has a right to be heard, by posting on this list.


4. When posting on the list, it’s important to be respectful of the opinions
of others, and to be as constructive as possible when offering your


5. Successful posts use vocabulary that is simple and whose meaning is
well-understood by readers of the list.  Successful posts are formatted
with some care so that they are easily readable by others.


6. Subject lines should clearly reflect the subject of the post. When posts
diverge, the subject line should be changed.


7. List readers have some obligation to review posts to the list, i.e. to
listen, and to determine by themselves the value of the information posted.


8. List readers have the right to _not_ listen to or respond to repeated
posts with common themes that have already been posted, perhaps many times.


9. If there are no responses to a post, posters should not assume that the
material they have posted has been agreed to by readers.  People on the list
generally have busy lives, and often will not respond to posts.  Statements
such as “no one on the list has refuted my statement yet" should not lead to
the assumption that others agree with it.  It is equally likely that the
post is judged to be incorrect or irrelevant. Readers have no obligation to
correct erroneous material that has been posted to the list by others.


10. When there are clearly divergent views on a subject that appear to be
irreconcilable, then little is accomplished by continuing the conversation.
It may be better for those participants to continue their discussion on
separate lists.  Sometimes It’s useful to do an approximate cluster analysis
of the participants and their positions in order to identify like-minded
groups that may be better off continuing their various discussions




I would very much like to see some constructive responses to this post.  In
the next day or so, I’ll post an updated problem for possible discussion.
To the extent that it generates discussion, I very much hope that it will be
constructive and offer ideas that have relevance for attacking current
issues in Internet governance. 


Thank you for reading this post. 


George Sadowsky     


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