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[rpd] Selecting WG Co-Chairs: Was Re: Can a Consensual Decision of the PDWG Violate the PDP? (was: Report from Recall Committee)

Owen DeLong owen at
Sun Feb 28 06:51:03 UTC 2021

>> Are you saying that the electorate cannot be trusted to choose the most qualified and most appropriate candidates? Are you saying that you want to substitute some other group’s judgment in front of that of the electorate? What group would this be?

> No, I am saying two things: 1) Not everybody should be considered a elector until he/she is qualified for that and that is pretty much Ok. That has the potential to damage the environment for many reasons already discussed. 2) Candidates must meet minimal criteria like be around for sometime, and have not been recalled anytime recentlly.

What is your valid basis in policy or bylaws for rejecting candidates which have been recently recalled? What is your definition of recent and where is that found in the bylaws or CPM or other AFRINIC document?

If it’s not there, then if you want that added to the criteria, then by all means submit a proposal to update the CPM accordingly. However, let’s not make up election rules as we go along and certainly let us not disenfranchise candidates or voters by arbitrary criteria which have not reached consensus in the community sufficiently in advance of the election.

I’m not saying that I want to return the recalled co-chairs to office. I’m saying that I can’t find any basis in the bylaws or the CPM or any other document I’m aware of by which we can legitimately prevent them from running. I will not be voting for them even if they do run. I suspect most people would say the same. This is not about political correctness, it’s about correctness in general. If we do not follow the rules we create than there is no use of rules and we have anarchy.

>>> There must be always a mechanism that doesn't allow anyone to vote straight away "just for being there", otherwise it opens doors to anyone willing to manipulate de process. Isn't already enough the hundreds of subscriptions there was in the last prior the last process ? Isn't that obvious there is a risk in there ?


>> For voters, I am perfectly willing to accept criteria on eligibility to vote that sets a date certain prior to the announcement of the election (possibly even as far back as the eligibility date for the previous election in this case).

> Fine we agree on that.


>> There should be verification that each registered voter is an actual and identified unique person.

> Agree as well, very much.


>> Beyond that, there really is no valid way to reject voters. Is that open to the possibility of sock puppets, astro turfing, and cutouts? Yes. However, since we are talking about a PDWG co-chair position and not a member of the board with fiduciary responsibility, I think that’s OK. There are checks and balances in place to deal with co-chairs that behave inappropriately or fail to do the job. We have demonstrated that these mechanisms work.

> I would say that a Co-Chair role is not much distant from a Board role in terms of seriousness of the subjects discussed and decided with his/her involvement. Not only the membership by the Policy Forum is a fundamental part of any RIR really.

> If there is a possibility of sock puppent we must take that seriously and I see no problem at all to limit voters in a reasonable and justified way.

You are very wrong here. Co-chairs have a great deal of responsibility, no question. Their service to the community is both very valuable and a great deal of trust is placed in them by the community. I do not dispute this. However, board members are fiduciaries of the organization, co-chairs are not. Board members have certain legal and fiscal liabilities in the event that they fail to faithfully discharge their duties and they are accountable in ways and on levels that co-chairs can never face. There is no risk of liability by being a co-chair. Board members, as fiduciaries take on significantly greater obligations, risks, and responsibilities.

I have no problem with reasonable and justified criteria for voter eligibility that are spelled out well in advance of the election and which fall within the bylaws and/or are properly defined in the CPM. Setting a closing date for voter eligibility is a matter I agree is within the purview of the elections committee. Beyond that, if you want to add other criteria for eligibility, then do it through the PDP or by a resolution to change the bylaws at a members meeting (annual or special). Doing it arbitrarily is anarchy and discredits our effort to be a self-regulating body.

> As I mentioned before, newer people should come interested in discuss and build good policies not in being able to vote straight away. Right to vote will come naturally later on.


I have never objected to this criteria and I believe it is supported by proper documentation. It is some of the other criteria that have been proposed which are not present in existing documentation that I remain opposed to. I want us to follow our own rules. That’s it. Just follow the rules. If you want to change the rules, there’s a process for doing that IN THE RULES.

>> There are checks and balances built into the policy development process, including the requirement that any adopted policy be ratified by the board before it is enacted which protect us from the possibility of organizational capture and other malfeasance.


>> You cannot claim to have a bottom up process if you arbitrarily eliminate members from the bottom of the process.

> Not eliminating at all. They are all welcome and free to put up their opinions at any time.

> Whenever they are able to show commitment to all to the PDWG and not just an ad-hoc participation or even only a simple subscription, they would became able to voters.

If you want to have such limitations, then you need to be very careful in crafting them and very specific. They must be spelled out clearly in the documentation (bylaws, CPM, or at the very least the Election procedures).

Ideally, such cannot be applied without first going through at least the consensus process of this body.

The devil is in the details here.

In the US, there is a long tradition of using voter eligibility criteria as a way to exclude certain groups of people from voting. For many decades, it was used to prevent african americans from voting under the guise of a literacy test or some other innocuous seeming criteria.

I don’t question your intent here and I’m not accusing you, I’m pointing out that when you make a democratic process less democratic, it comes at a price and must be carefully considered.

>>> The important thing to have in mind is that having these mechanisms to limit those who can participate at any election process DOES NOT limit any new people to participate in the discussions at any time. The interest from newer people should not be to be able to vote straight away, but to contribute. The right to decide will come as something natural later on.


>> I support this limit and only the limits mentioned by me above:

>> 1. Registered on list prior to <date> where <date> predates the notice of the election.

>> 2. Is a unique actual identified human being.

> Sounds a good start.


If you want to go beyond this “start”, you’re going to need to do it with a policy proposal or a resolution to amend the bylaws.

Otherwise, we’re just making up the rules as we go along and that’s unfair.


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