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[AfriNIC-rpd] NomCom at AFRINIC-16

Andrew Alston alston.networks at
Mon May 21 09:03:45 UTC 2012

Greetings all,

I figured I'd add my 2 cents to this discussion having had a lot of time to sit and think about it over the last few 2 days while travelling.

Firstly, on the topic of electioneering and vote gathering, I have *NO* issues with people lobbying for votes among people they know, what I have an issue with is the use of role accounts and accounts specifically designed for other purposes, especially when those accounts are harvested from databases that are meant for specific purpose.  To support this kind of behavior would be the equivalent of saying that the spam you see arriving in your accounts every day is ok, after all, half of those addresses are harvested off the internet.  A role account published on the internet for a specific role does not entitle anyone to use it to send unsolicited email to.

I would have had NO issue had the candidates for example sent a blurb about themselves to this list, even though that would have been off topic, since AfriNIC does not have an "elections" list for candidate advocacy (maybe that should be created?)

Secondly, as I stated, I have major issues with people sending our pre-filled in proxy forms that state that the proxy is going to the candidate, with an alternate named.  The candidates know full well they can only carry one proxy, therefore it should be EXPLICITLY stated that the proxy will fall to the alternate, otherwise this is mis-representation.

Then, with regards to the behavior of NomCom during the meeting.

The behavior of the NomCom chair during that meeting was nothing short of disgusting.  Yes, harsh words from me again, but I am sorry, to tell someone from the floor "Thanks for wasting our time", is TOTALLY out of line.  Let us be extremely clear on this, AfriNIC is a community driven organization.  The community was electing its board, the group of people who will run this organization on our behalf.  SURELY it is in the best interests of EVERYONE that should a member of the community wish to be heard before the vote takes place, this should be allowed and welcomed.  For the NomCom to attempt to shut down debate on the candidates that have to represent us is a failure on behalf of the NomCom.

Secondly, for the NomCom to do this after they themselves had already failed this community in the PDP process by failing to push for and find adequate candidates for the PDP election, and wasting our time in that regard (yes, I view what happened in the PDP process as a failure of the NomCom), how DARE they come out and say that to a community member?

To go still further, for the NomCom to agree to a candidate request to see the ballot papers clearly shows that the NomCom did not understand the rules or the process.  There is NOTHING in the process that allows for this.  Had the candidate requested a recount of the vote, I, and I believe most others, would have had no problem with a regular recount.  However, for the candidate to demand to see the ballots for the reason the candidate gave can only indicate one of two things.

A.) The candidate believed the election had been rigged during the counting stage, and considering that the counting was being performed by RIPE and APNIC individuals, this is nothing short of bizarre and HIGHLY offensive.
B.) The candidate knew the recount would not have helped and was looking for evidence that the alternate named in the distributed proxies had not in fact voted the way he wished.  Now, lets be clear, if a candidate cannot exercise a proxy and the proxy falls to the alternate, it is the choice of the alternate who he votes for.  For a candidate to believe that he can dictate who the alternate casts their votes for, is utter rubbish.  The person who ends up holding the vote has every right to exercise their conscience and vote as they choose.  Considering that the proxy requests that were sent out did not state explicitly that the alternate would even be getting that proxy when it was fully known, leaves the candidate no room to cry when the votes go against him.

Now, enough with the ranting, how do we solve all of this, cause after all, thats what we need to do to prevent a recurrence of what has occurred here.

Firstly, I believe we should change the bylaws to specifically outlaw the holding of more than 5 proxies by any individual (potentially less once e-voting is actually functional)
Secondly, there is another loophole where a candidate can be "appointed" as a contact for an organization on a temp. basis in order to allow them to directly cast that organizations vote without the use of a proxy, this was clearly obviously when one candidate produced no less than *7* votes, this has to be fixed.  No candidate should be allowed to cast more than 2 or 3 votes (number up to the community), else this will be the next source of abuse of the voting system.  
Thirdly, I believe there should be an outright ban in either the election process or the bylaws banning the use of role accounts for electioneering and vote harvesting.  Feel free to send to individuals who you know, but not to role accounts, thats called spam. 
Forth, I believe that we should potentially have an advocacy email list where candidates can talk about themselves and request votes, members who wish to see what candidates stand for, are free to subscribe and see it all.  These lists could also be used to take public questions posted to the candidates.

I also strongly believe that there should be at least 45 minutes allocated prior to the vote for the sitting audience to pose questions to the candidates and the candidates should have an opportunity to respond to these questions (or choose to not respond to a question if they wish to).

I also STRONGLY believe that candidates for directorship should be made to demonstrate relevant experience (either board experience, strong financial management experience, or some other criteria still to be defined) in order to have a strong board.  Right now, anyone nominated and voted for can become a director without ANY experience, and considering the nature of this organization it is IMPERATIVE that we have a strong board, and without some criteria this will never become the case!

Bottom line, we have to fix the election process, because right now its broken! 

I would also appeal once again to this community, read the bylaws, think carefully about them, and submit comments on the website.  We only have until I believe June 12th to comment on the bylaws, and right now looking at the comments on there, we currently have ONE comment (mine), and this is not indicative of an active community, which is what we need!!!

Anyway, those are my thoughts!  More when I finally get to Iceland in a few hours!


On 18 May 2012, at 7:58 PM, Alan Barrett wrote:

> On Fri, 18 May 2012, SM wrote:
>> If a member of NomCom is aware of candidates lobbying for votes, it is up to the member to see whether to inform the community about that.  As there hasn't been any report about lobbying for votes up to now, either it did not happen or nobody find that objectionable.
> I think that lobbying for votes is OK, but that some lobbying methods are not acceptable.
> I think that using email addresses or other information harvested from WHOIS or internal AfriNIC databases is wrong.  Each database (including WHOIS) has implicit or explicit acceptable use policies associated with the information, and using the information for vote solicitation would be outside that acceptable use policy.
> I think that sending email to a "peering" contact address, for any purpose other then discussing peering arrangements, is wrong for much the same reason.
> I have heard allegations that vote solicitation messages were sent to AfriNIC contact addresses and to peering contact addresses, but I have not seen publicly available evidence.  If such allegations are true, especially in the case of WHOIS or AfriNIC internal databases, then it's a violation of the terms under which the data was made available.  It's unfortunate that the accused persons were not given an opportunity to address the allegations during the meeting.
> --apb (Alan Barrett)
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