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[rpd] Proposal to alter AFRINIC Policy Development Process

Sun May 6 11:58:22 UTC 2018

Hi all,

I've the feeling that my message

was not read. People told me that the AfriNIC mailing list is not always forwarding my messages because the DMARC issue. Hopefully this is sorted out soon, as both ARIN and RIPE already did (I think APNIC as well, but not sure ...).

So, repeating myself.

I think it should be made clearer that:
1) The consensus is reached not only in the meeting, but also from the discussion in the mailing list, and because the mailing list has the capability to include a more broader community, it may happen that in the meeting the show-hands show no consensus, but the mailing list weight was "bigger" for the consensus, so the consensus is reached.

2) This means that the chairs MUST NOT take the decision right in the meeting, but have a 2 weeks period to really study the decision. This is the way we are doing in RIPE and also will be from now on in LACNIC.

I've developed for LACNIC for a PDP change proposal which reached consensus the last week, a definition of both, consensus and last-call, which may be helpful here.

Definition of ‘Consensus’
Achieving ‘consensus’ does not mean that proposals are voted for and against, nor that the number of ‘yes's’, ‘no's’ and ‘abstentions’ – or even participants – are counted, but that the proposal has been discussed not only by its author(s) but also by other members of the community, regardless of their number, and that, after a period of discussion, all critical technical objections have been resolved.

In general, this might coincide with a majority of members of the community in favor of the proposal, and with those who are against the proposal basing their objections on technical reasons as opposed to ‘subjective’ reasons. In other words, low participation or participants who disagree for reasons that are not openly explained should not be considered a lack of consensus.

Objections should not be measured by their number, but instead by their nature and quality within the context of a given proposal. For example, a member of the community whose opinion is against a proposal might receive many ‘emails’ (virtual or real) in their support, yet the chairs might consider that the opinion has already been addressed and technically refuted during the debate; in this case, the chairs would ignore those expressions of support against the proposal.

For information purposes, the definition of ‘consensus’ used by the RIRs and the IETF is actually that of ‘rough consensus’, which allows better clarifying the goal in this context, given that ‘consensus’ (Latin for agreement) might be interpreted as ‘agreed by all’ (unanimity). More specifically, RFC7282, explains that “Rough consensus is achieved when all issues are addressed, but not necessarily accommodated.”

Last call
The purpose of the ‘last call’ is to provide the community with a brief and final opportunity to comment on the proposal, especially to those who didn’t do so earlier. Consequently, during this period editorial comments may be submitted and, exceptionally, objections if any aspect is discovered that was not considered in the discussion prior to determining consensus. Any new objections must also be substantiated and must therefore not be based on opinions lacking a technical justification.

This is the LACNIC proposal that reached consensus:


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