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[rpd] Accountability assessment - PDP review?

Owen DeLong owen at
Fri Oct 28 07:07:44 UTC 2016

> On Oct 27, 2016, at 18:19 , sm+afrinic at wrote:
> Hi Owen,
> At 16:50 27-10-2016, Owen DeLong wrote:
>> Well
> It is difficult to measure consensus in 
>> any way that doesn't at least to some extent look like voting. The main difference between measuring consensus and voting really comes in what you do with the numbers at the end.
>> Consensus being a lack of sustained opposition and rough consensus being a situation where the opposition has been clearly heard and addressed to the extent practical such that any remaining opposition is a clear minority that cannot be reasonably accommodated, any mechanism to establish whether or not there is support amongst those present is likely to resemble some form of voting, polling, etc.
> It is better not to measure consensus (or vote) as it is possible to fill the room with people who will vote for my draft policy.  The opinion(s) of a minority of people cannot be ignored if the decision is to be taken by consensus.

It is not possible to fill the room entirely with people who will vote for your draft policy. It is possible to create an overwhelming majority.

However, it is much easier to create a sustained opposition if there is a real reason for opposition.

That is my point.

It doesn’t matter if you use a show of hands or humming or whatever. The important thing is what you do with the result.

For example, in the ARIN region, we use a show of hands as an advisory input to the AC. If we have 130 in favor and 1 against, we’ll most likely consider that to represent consensus of the room, but if there are 20 posts (or even 5 posts) on the mailing list in opposition, then consensus of the room will have less weight. On the other hand, if we have a room full of people and we get 15 in favor and 2 against, we probably would not consider that to represent consensus.

> Consensus in, for example, ICANN has a different interpretation when compared to the way it is done in the IETF.  It is also different in RIR venues.  A closer look at the different working groups within the IETF would show that there are also differences there.

Yep… And each and every one of them uses some process that looks like some form of voting to assist in the measurement of that consensus.


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