[discuss] What is MSism?

Stephen Farrell stephen.farrell at cs.tcd.ie
Fri Mar 28 14:10:14 UTC 2014

On 03/28/2014 02:02 PM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> I have been a little frustrated by these threads about what "MSism"
> is, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this is because it isn't one
> thing.  For instance, many people think ICANN, the IETF, and the RIRs
> are multistakholder organizations.  To the extent that is true, it's
> revealing, because they work in very different ways.  Most of the RIRs
> have some notion of membership, usually relating to whether one holds
> allocations from the region.  Moreover, the RIRs are already
> implicitly tied to geography (itself a problematic notion on the
> Internet).  ICANN has constituencies, and one nominally works through
> those consituencies, though of course public comment is widely
> welcome.  The IETF does not have formal consituencies or membership,
> and anyone is welcome to comment on anything on the mailing list, but
> one tends to be ignored if one's arguments don't get support or at
> least acknowledgement from others.
> What seems to me to be a common thread among these things, however, is
> that the mechanisms are different adaptations to trying to get as many
> relevant and informed opinions into the "tussle" about tricky
> problems.  In this sense, the precise definition is less important, I
> think, than the style of working.  So,
>> > Those MS processes aren't about power, but largely about which ideas
>> > are better than others […].
> I think this is where we should concentrate.

I agree with the above and also note that talking about
the pros and cons and (im)perfections of the multistakeholder
approaches of specific organisations tends to be tractable
and seems to lead to sensible discussion, whereas as soon
as we talk about MSism in the abstract we're quickly off
into the weeds.

So I'd suggest: let's not do that:-)


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