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[AfriNIC-rpd] Handover to new PDWG co-chairs

Mark Elkins mje at
Thu Jun 16 15:57:40 UTC 2011

(embedded replies)

On Thu, 2011-06-16 at 19:08 +0400, Trevor Mwangi wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 16, 2011 at 6:06 PM, Hisham Ibrahim <hisham at>
> wrote:
>         > > Some people have commented on the participation of the
>         > > co-chairs in the
>         > > discussions about the proposals.  The co-chairs can ask
>         > > questions in an
>         > > individual capacity.  As you may have noticed, these
>         > > persons come to the
>         > > microphone line on the floor and wait for their turn like
>         > > any other
>         > > individual when they comment about a proposal.
>         > 
>         > I support this;  in fact, I would like to see AfriNIC staff
>         > do the same;
>         > although my (admittedly brief) reading of the mailing list
>         > archives did not
>         > supply an explanation, I surmise that their conspicuous
>         > absence at the
>         > microphone is as a result of some dictatorial edict.
>         > 
>         Dear all,
>         Allow me first to introduce myself, I am Hisham Ibrahim Acting
>         Communications Area manager in AfriNIC.
> Hello Hisham,
>         This is the first and hopefully the last time I post a comment
>         on the rpd list as AfriNIC staff, and though we here at
>         AfriNIC follow the list and keep an eye on the development of
>         the conversations, we can not take part of the debates (either
>         for or against) a proposed policy and the reason behind that
>         is simple, "complete transparency".
>         The role of AfriNIC is to implement the policies approved by
>         the community and apply them into the procedures used for
>         resource management and to conduct analysis of proposals and
>         advise the community on any issues regarding implementation
>         based on the communities request.
>         As the "secretariat" for the members & the community at large,
>         it's preferred that staff do not engage in policy discussion
>         due to a potential conflict of interest. It is possible that
>         staff can oppose a proposal which, for example, could cause
>         more workload if implemented, or cause AfriNIC as an entity
>         some unforeseen predicament, while the proposal is not
>         necessarily bad for the community. 
>         This is why it is important that we stay as impartial to the
>         conversations and debates at all times. 
> That's really odd especially since the first few policies were
> authored by AfriNIC staff, so they would, out of necessity, need to
> have posted on this list. I guess this is an indirect way of saying
> that AfriNIC staff may not propose future policies. That's quite sad
> really, because, as the Trusted Custodians (tm) of our number
> resources, I would think that they (ought to) have a better
> understanding of the environment than most of us do, and can add
> dimensions to an argument that would be otherwise easy for us to miss.
> And because they SHOULD be aware of issues before we are, and by
> driving policies can sensitise us to upcoming issues. Not all of this
> is possible during a once-off policy analysis. If you're implying that
> staff may lead the public astray, personally, I think that's
> demeaning; you're implying that we (the public) are not able to
> distinguish the truth from BS, or that we'd be easily swayed just
> because an argument is made by someone with a staff badge. Quite
> bluntly, that's not your decision to make. In the interests of TRUE
> transparency, you SHOULD let staff (and others) comment because that
> would be a proper indication of total community collaboration to reach
> a consensus driven policy.

Board members are simply (full) members of the Company.
Those who have resources from AfriNIC are also (associate) Members.
Members can vote, provide policy - etc - just like the share holders of
a 'normal' company.
Staff at a 'normal' company don't usually have that type of privilege
unless they are shareholders.

RIR Staff - as in all other geographical areas (ARIN, RIPE, APNIC,
LACNIC) - can not Vote. They can give advice on polices (ie - whether
they are implementable and what the cost would be - etc)

This discussion is sometimes brought up in some part of the world. The
process would be that the Staff would talk to someone and (strongly)
suggest the basis of a suitable process.

> Someday, I may want to work at AfriNIC; what you're saying is that by
> working there, I'll give up my inalienable right to have and voice, my
> opinion to what is supposed to be an open community. 

Yes - you would no longer have a vote. Your inalienable right to vote
and have a voice is based on your membership.

> That's not a trade off that I see as either viable (yes, I know; don't
> apply for the job then!), nor equitable. Especially since you current
> allow AfriNIC board members to post. Don't take this the wrong way
> Mark, John, Adiel and any other board member that posts-your posts are
> welcomed, and encouraged. Get more onboard, in fact!!! 

...because we are members of the Company - not employees.

> This discussion was precipitated by SM mentioning that the co-chairs
> were expressing their individual contributions. Another bottom-up,
> "rough consensus" based body that I heard of, is the IETF, where the
> respective working group chairs are allowed to express their opinions;
> most likely since it is those opinions, and/or other tokens of respect
> that earned them the seats that they have.

In the ARIN region - their equivalent of the Process Working Group is
the "Advisory Council". When a Policy is introduced, they provide a
Shepherd or two to help manage the progress of the Policy. They are also
usually the most vocal about any policy, look for consensus from the
membership and actually bring the Policy to the Board at the end of the
Before you get too excited - there are fifteen AC folk - on a three year
term - five new volunteers every year. We could not financially support
that number in the AfriNIC region - nor do we appear to have those
numbers of suitable people.

Hope this helps.

> Way to reward your community btw; work them into a position of
> respect, then don't let them speak!

>         There shall be no follow up from our behalf on this email and
>         AfriNIC staff will only submit an impartial impact analysis to
>         the list upon request from the community.
> Thank you for affirming my earlier comment. Out of respect for your
> position, I will not comment further in this thread.

> --t.

  .  .     ___. .__      Posix Systems - Sth Africa
 /| /|       / /__       mje at  -  Mark J Elkins, Cisco CCIE
/ |/ |ARK \_/ /__ LKINS  Tel: +27 12 807 0590  Cell: +27 82 601 0496

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