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[rpd] PDP-BIS Follow-up

Noah noah at
Wed Apr 11 10:56:54 UTC 2018

Hi Andrew,

I almost missed this but a few commends in-line if you may......

On Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 3:39 PM, Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston at liquidtelecom.
com> wrote:

> I have a number of questions and some major objections (sorry, these
> aren’t minor ones!)

In my view, the type of objection, whether (major or minor) is more in its
description, perhaps the level of impact and finally in how it is perceived
by the working group. In all cases, both minor and major objections/issues
are dealt with by the entire working group including the proponents/opposer

> The consensus process begins when somebody proposes a new policy while the
> discussion phase begins on the mailing list and continues during the Public
> policy meetings.
> This doesn’t make much sense to me – how can the consensus process begin
> before any discussions have been held?  This also implies very clearly that
> discussions on the mailing list form part of evaluation of consensus –
> which I agree with –

IMHO, a policy proposal has a life-cycle, that is, from its adoption as a
work item by the working group during the (adoption-phase), until its
ratification, through the “discussion phase”, the “review phase” and the
“conclusion phase”.  So the consensus process which is [*based on
addressing objections*] starts with the discussion [ either to decide its
adoption as the working group work item or directly on the proposal if
adoption phase is not needed].

> what it does not say and where I have a problem – is that objections
> should carry between meetings.
> If fundamental objections are raised at a meeting, and the policy does not
> pass, and those objections are not addressed at all, when the next meeting
> comes around – those objections must still be considered valid unless
> either addressed or withdrawn – irrespective of if the objector is
> physically present at the next meeting or not.  Objections cannot simply
> disappear because of a meeting happening (as seems to be the case at the
> moment)

I believe objections can be raised anytime during the process, either on
the mailing list or during the PPM. Only the draft proposals, i.e proposals
which passed the discussion and review phases are scheduled for discussion
at the PPM.

Section 3.4.3 and section[a-d] define how the final consensus is
gauged during the PPM and proposals handled.

*3.4.3 Reaching consensus*
In the meeting, the Chair may ask for a show-of-hands, or other techniques,
to gauge support for a policy proposal. The use of show-of-hands or other
techniques is not a vote. It is a way of broadly measuring opinion and the
Chair’s final decision takes many additional factors into account,
including earlier discussions on the mailing list.

* The Review Phase*
a. At the end of the Review Phase, the policy proposal is presented at the
next Public Policy meeting.
b. The PDWG Chair determines whether the working group has reached rough
consensus. In the case the PDWG Chair decides that consensus has not been
reached, then the PDWG Chair can send the draft proposal back to the
Discussion Phase if the initiators are willing to make an improvement of
their proposal and make the necessary changes according to the feedback
received from the community.
c.    A draft proposal sent back to discussion phase automatically loses
its status as a draft proposal.
d. The PDWG Chair can also decide to have the draft proposal edited and
start a new Review Phase with a new version of the proposal or otherwise
the proposal shall be withdrawn.

As such, presence at the PPM is required to make  your voice hard and your
objections addressed.

> One or all initiators of a policy proposal have the option to remain
> anonymous. Hence, the PDWG Chair has the responsibility to act as the
> document editor or set a call for a volunteer from the WG to act as a
> document editor on the policy proposal.  A Document Editor is responsible
> for ensuring that the contents of the document accurately reflect the
> decisions that have been made by the working group.
> I have a _*MAJOR*_ objection to this point – if someone wishes to propose
> a policy that could have fundamental impact on individuals and corporates
> alike across the continent – then who proposed it MUST be recorded.  It is
> often very difficult to gauge intent of a policy proposal without a
> discussion with the author – and if the author is remaining anonymous – the
> intent of the proposal may never be truly understood.

So, are you saying that, support to the intent of a policy proposal depends
of your knowledge of the initiators intentions/thinking? is the problem
statement not enough to explain the issues being addressed?  Shall the
working-group then add a section to the policy proposal template about
“motivations” or “intentions” of the initiators?

> This also creates a situation where the presentation of the policy – which
> can often determine pass or fail of the policy is being done by someone who
> may not understand what was originally intended.
> Furthermore – if a document is to be edited and still retain original
> intent – it is critical that the author be involved to guide that – else
> what was originally proposed and what may end up could be two entirely
> different things (in which case the original policy is null and void and it
> requires a separate submission).

Andrew, please  don't forget  that as specified in section, when a
proposal is accepted by the working group, it becomes a community document
IMHO. It is desirable that the initiators keep editing the document as it
goes/changes but this is not mandatory… The Adoption Phase
Once adopted by the working group, the initiator(s) grants all rights to
the working group and the proposal becomes a community document. In all
matters of intellectual property rights and procedures, the intention is to
benefit the community and the public at large, while respecting the
legitimate rights of others.

> This clause also allows the chairs of the PDP to become policy editors –
> which is a fundamental conflict of interest.  It is entirely untenable that
> those that must gauge consensus are also involved in the editing (and hence
> authoring) of the policy – and flies in the face of proper governance.

I believe as a general practice, the co-chairs shall not play the role of
document editors. This provision I believe was added as an option in case
the working group lacks volunteers and is willing to accept the co-chairs
to edit the document.  I believe section 3.5 shall be rephrased to reflect

>    1. If the suggested comments or modifications are not significant
>    enough to require a new Discussion Phase, the PDWG Chair can decide to move
>    the proposal to the next phase (Review Phase) with a new version of the
>    proposal incorporating the necessary changes.
> This is problematic because it does not define what “significant enough”
> means – it is entirely ambiguous and lets the chair decide entirely what
> objections are significant or not – which is problematic considering that
> what may be very significant to one members interests may be insignificant
> in the eyes of a chair that does not come from the same industry.  The only
> way this works is if the process of determining significance is clearly
> defined

Hold on, this is not about objections but I stand to be corrected.
Objections are classified and dealt with at section 3.4. IMHO, It is more
about moving a document [proposal] from discussion phase to review phase.
Whether suggestions and amendments accepted at discussion phase require an
extension of the discussion phase or not.

If some working group folks feel that they need the new version of the
proposal and more time to parse, digest and discuss it, they should say so.
Everyone has the right to appeal against co-chairs decision and section 3.9
define how to appeal at each phase.

>    1. The appeal committee shall be comprised as follows:
>    - One (1) board member selected by the AFRINIC board of Directors for
>    1 year renewable
>    - One (1) Council of Elders (CoE) member selected by the COE for 1
>    year renewable
>    - The immediate Policy Development Working Group past co-chair for 1
>    year renewable
> Again -I have fundamental problems with this.  The board is responsible
> for ratification of policy – this creates a direct conflict of interest and
> is untenable.
> The CoE is an advisory committee with a specific mandate and role as per
> section 16 of the bylaws – and what is proposed here is outside of that
> mandate entirely.
> The appeal committee here also lacks any form of actual community input
> and hence is again, untenable

But wait a minute, where is the conflict of interest for the board? as far
as i am concerned, this appeal committee is responsible for handling appeal
at discussion, review and concluding phases of proposals. Board acts at the
ratification phase. Moreover, the appeal committee proposed was one (1)
board member, NOT the entire BoD; one (1) CoE, NOT the full CoE.

IMNO, the BoD have processes to handle conflict of interest which may
occurred  for board member actively involved in policy proposals
discussions on RPD or by serving in the appeal committee.

The intent here is to provide the appeal committee with skilled and
experienced people who master AFRINIC business environment as well as its
community ecosystem. Avoid selection through election which does not
necessary guarantee quality and add unnecessary load to our election

Regarding the lack of community input, I'd say that all the folks to serve
in this appeal committee have served or are serving in their position based
on the community/members elected mandate.

>    1. The appeal Committee shall be chaired by the CoE nominee and make
>    decisions byIf unable to reach consensus, decisions shall be made by
>    majority of the members.
> This sentence does not make sense- I suspect its just typos though.  I
> have to say though that in a party of 3 – if you have consensus you have
> majority – so it’s a duplication in what it says.

I also think It's indeed a typo. The correct sentence should be: "The
appeal Committee shall be chaired by the CoE nominee and make decision by
consensus. If unable to reach consensus, decisions shall be made by
majority of the members."

That being said, If we can't get the 3 to consent to the decision through
the rough consensus approach defined in this PDP, a voting approach will be
used and the majority decision would prevail.

> I also pretty much second everything that Lee has said – though as I said
> – in the face of the glaring conflicts of interest found in this policy and
> the fact that an adhoc council with limited mandate is being drafted into
> something way outside of the mandate – leaves me with no option but to
> strongly object.

I think it's up to the authors themselves to provides a response and
comment to Lee as well as I cat speak for them beyond my own opinions.

> Andrew
Cheers chief...

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