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They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

  • To: alac-final-2008@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
  • From: Danny Younger <dannyyounger@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 18:37:10 -0700 (PDT)

Living in a nation currently embroiled in an ongoing war in Iraq, I am 
sensitive to the need for "exit strategies".  It is now time for us to 
establish a suitable exit plan for the ALAC so that this suffering beast may 
humanely be put out of its misery.  In this matter, we are best guided by 

When ICANN retired the Protocol Supporting Organization (PSO), it did so in a 
manner that compacted a large entity into a tiny handful of participants:  the 
ICANN Technical Liason Group.

The IAB, together with the European Telecommunications Standards Institute 
(ETSI), the International Telecommunications Union's Telecommunication 
Standardization Sector (ITU-T), and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), are 
now all members of the 8-person ICANN Technical Liaison Group (TLG) whose role 
is described in Article 11-A, Section 2 of the ICANN Bylaws.

In similar fashion, the ALAC and its RALOs and ALSs may be deconstructed.  
First, as all the ALSs are non-commercial organizations, there is no difficulty 
in asking them to voluntarily migrate to the NonCommercial House of the GNSO 
wherein they may associate and interact with their non-commercial peers.

As for the ALAC itself, we want to make sure that whatever happens, it retains 
some of the power that it formally wielded.  Yes, I can hear you laughing... 
you're probably asking:  "what kind of power does the ALAC have as no one gives 
any credence whatsoever to the Statements that it regularly releases?

...true, but the ALAC was granted one unique power:  the ability to invoke an 
Advisory Committee Initiation of the GNSO PDP Process (bylaws Annex A1c).  ... 
and what exactly does that mean?  Essentially, it's the right to say to the 
GNSO Council:  "Wake up guys! There's a problem here that requires a policy 

In other words, the ALAC's power resides in its ability to function as a 
Suggestion Box.  Sure, the GNSO may disregard the request, but they may also 
act on the request -- and this is what's really important -- it's a highly 
needed function as the GNSO itself has no other formal intake mechanism for 
unscheduled comments from the general public.  

But, do we need a full team of 15 people to perform this function?  Nope.  This 
is our chance to get rid of the dead wood.  Let the Chair designate a small 
Steering Group drawn from the actual worker bees in the hive. 

While you could call it the User Steering Group (USG), that acronym is already 
reserved for someone that the ICANN Board actually listens to, so you'll have 
to find a new acronym... but we all know how much ICANN loves to create new 
acronyms in their reform processes, so this might be viewed as the fun part of 
the plan.  Ideally this group would have no more than six members -- the Chair 
and a delegate from each region (each replacable at the Chair's discretion but 
all subject to ratification by the Board).  Of course, just like the TLG, this 
Steering Group would also have a non-voting liaison to the Board (just as the 
ALAC has now).

Through this process you retain the influence of the ALAC without all the 
unnecessary trappings, you significantly reduce costs, and you provide a more 
focused service to the GNSO.  

Mull it over.


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