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[rpd] [Community-Discuss] Accountability assessment - PDP review?

Andrew Alston Andrew.Alston at
Wed Oct 26 11:44:09 UTC 2016

I actually question this stance, and perhaps what I will be saying may be controversial, but this is how I see it.

It is not – and cannot be – the job of the co-chairs to drive a process towards consensus.  It is the job of the authors of the policy to strive to read the communities wishes and adjust accordingly to gain the consensus (providing that they do not have to adjust to the point where they feel the proposal is mute, and if they do get to that point and that is the requirement to get the policy passed, it is up to the proposers discretion to withdraw or not).

Why do I say that the co-chair’s cannot strive towards consensus:

To do so implies that the co-chair’s have taken a position on the policy – and that they should ever do – it compromises neutrality.  If the community by and large rejects a policy proposal because they disagree with the vast majority of its contents, it is certainly not the job of the co-chair’s to drive towards a consensus and to influence that view point in favor of finding consensus for something which should (by the very fact that the community has rejected the majority of it) never reach consensus and should die as a result.

The moment that we put it in the hands of the co-chair’s to start driving towards consensus, rather than simply gauging it, we are on a slippery slope where the neutrality mandate given to the chair’s becomes a moot point.  I don’t think we want to be in that situation personally.


From: sergekbk <sergekbk at>
Date: Wednesday, 26 October 2016 at 13:23
To: Dewole Ajao <dewole at>, Omo Oaiya <Omo.Oaiya at>, General Discussions of AFRINIC <community-discuss at>
Cc: "AfriNIC RPD MList." <rpd at>
Subject: Re: [Community-Discuss] [rpd] Accountability assessment - PDP review?

Hello Dewole,

Don’t you think that  it is the role of the co-chairs to tavoid  the +1 and -1 and drive the process  to consensus?

With Regards.

Serge Ilunga
Cell: +243814443160
Skype: sergekbk
-------- Original message --------
From: Dewole Ajao <dewole at>
Date: 10/26/2016 08:57 (GMT+01:00)
To: Omo Oaiya <Omo.Oaiya at>, General Discussions of AFRINIC <community-discuss at>
Cc: "AfriNIC RPD MList." <rpd at>
Subject: Re: [rpd] Accountability assessment - PDP review?

Thank you for your inputs, Omo (and others).

Each of the draft policy proposals at is a solution to an existing or foreseen problem as observed from the authors' viewpoint(s).

To my knowledge, all proposals updated by their authors after the last public policy meeting have been duly returned to the mailing list by the co-chairs for further discussion. The quality of the resulting discourse is however dependent on the authors, the rest of the PDWG, and willingness to engage on the (granular) substance of the proposals rather than personal or ideological differences.

At any point in time, the Policy Development Working Group (i.e. all who CHOOSE to participate on the RPD mailing list and/or in person at the public meetings) has the opportunity to provide feedback on the policy proposals. Authors of policy proposals can choose to incorporate the feedback received to produce an improved proposal that the majority of the community is (more) amenable to.

I recommend that as a community, we should:
seek solutions that are (roughly) acceptable
rather than
seek to impose our point of view (no matter how correct they may be) on everyone else.
ALL OF US (policy authors or not) should channel our input toward solutions that build consensus rather than simplistically adding +1s and -1s on completely divergent points of view. Since we (supposedly) all have the best interests of the AFRINIC community at heart, we should seek to unite rather than divide. Operating in this manner, we would find that #3 and #4 as listed in the preceding emails are actually non-issues.

Dewole Ajao.
PDWG co-Chair
On 25/10/2016 09:05, Omo Oaiya wrote:

Dear Community,

I am not suggesting there is a problem with the PDP per se or criticising the co-chairs, past or present, but recent discussions on accountability and co-authoring a policy proposal has resulted in my taking a closer look at the PDP and its requirements.

The current PDP ( adopted in 2010 specified improvements from its predecessor.

It lists fixing the following issues amongst others as incentive:

  1.  the case of PDP moderators inability to attend public policy meetings
  2.  the lack of appeal mechanisms against moderators actions
  3.   issues fixed on mailing list being reopened at face to face meetings weakening the decision making process.
  4.  consensus building process leading to scenario where opinions expressed at face to face have more weight that the ones expressed on mailing list

While the new PDP succeeded in addressing #1 and #2, it has not addressed #3 and #4.

The current PDP introduced the PDWG with co-chairs to perform the "administrative functions” of the group.

- It did not describe what these administrative functions were.

- It did not prescribe criteria for co-chairs selection or an election mechanism.

- It also did not describe the process for determining “rough consensus”.

As a result, we have seen:

- co-chairs candidates who could be more familiar with PDP and Internet Number Resource management.

- insufficient moderation of policy proposal discussions on the mailing list and at face to face meetings leading to endless repetitive discussions

- inability of co-chairs to determine consensus encouraging abuse of the process with some people persistently opposing proposals and stalling progress with insubstantial arguments causing unnecessary delay and frustration

The policy discussions at AFRINIC-24 is a perfect illustration.  Another easy example is that since AFRINIC-24, there has been little discussion on proposals which were sent back on mailing list for further discussions as per meeting minutes ( and no action from the working group co-chairs.

**Some questions for the community and co-chairs**

- How do we fix issues #3 and #4?

- Will the proposals returned to the list be presented in AFRINIC-25? if yes, what will be the discussion points be and for which expected outcomes?



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