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Representation of individual users in the GNSO

  • To: <gnso-users@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Representation of individual users in the GNSO
  • From: Milton L Mueller <mueller@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Nov 2008 11:59:58 -0500


The Noncommercial Users Constituency has long supported easier access
for individuals to get involved in GNSO. Starting in July 2008, we
initiated a provisional individual membership plan that allows
individuals to join the NCUC as long as they are not already members of
other constituencies. The criteria we apply to join can be seen here:



This has in a few months increased NCUC membership by 30%. The reason is
that many people who are interested in GNSO issues cannot get their
organization to formally join, or cannot get their organization to
formally designate them as the organization's representative. We believe
that commercial stakeholder groups should follow the same path, and make
it easy for individual consultants, domainers, etc to join the
commercial GNSO groups. 


We also believe, however, that it makes no sense to create an
"individual's constituency." This is because individuals per se have
extremely diverse viewpoints and economics interests. For any collection
of individuals to set itself up as "the" voice of individual Internet
users is false and undesirable. Rather, individuals can join and take
positions within a constituency or, under the new stakeholder group
model, they can form new constituencies that reflect specific policy
positions (e.g., a privacy constituency, a Latin American constituency,


The role of ALAC in this is not, we think, a big problem. First, very
few individual internet users will be able to actively participate in
both ALAC and GNSO, as both can be very demanding. However, individuals
who can manage to do that, or who want to switch from one to the other
to follow specific issues and controversies, should be able to do so.
For individuals to get involved directly in GNSO does not detract from
ALAC's ability to serve as a more generalized host for the organization
and representation of individual internet users worldwide. ALAC can do
many things that GNSO cannot, such as appoint more people to the
Nominating Committee, participating in non-domain name issues such as IP
addressing, etc. 


Generally, people get involved in ICANN based on personal or
organizational connections. This leads them into ICANN from multiple
paths. If an individual can get involved in ICANN via GNSO you should
leverage that, and not try to force people into a single channel, which
will only reduce the number of people who get involved. 

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