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[rpd] Policy Proposal: PDP Working Group (WG) Guidelines and Procedures - Draft04

Dewole Ajao dewole at
Tue May 24 17:02:37 UTC 2022

It's nice that the authors have put the time and effort into this attempt to clean up the PDP. I think we should be careful with too much detail though. 

IMO, no matter how detailed we try to get, we cannot cover all possible scenarios. And the more detail we go into in the text: 
1. the harder it will be for us to find clear consensus 
2. if we do find consensus somehow and the text becomes policy, the deep details may make it harder for us to act legitimately when we find ourselves outside the specific scenarios we have outlined 

For this reason, I would rather we jointly (as a working group) decide the policy problem we want to solve as a matter of highest priority, discuss options, agree roughly on possible direction, and then propose text that reflects the area of rough consensus. Then we move on to solve another. That should save everyone a lot of manhours. 

Note: This approach should not necessarily cause the clock to be reset on a particular policy proposal. If we agree that a problem exists, and we roughly agree on a way to solve it, the text of the CPM cannot and must not be what prevents us from correcting the identified problem with urgency. i believe we can find a way that is legitimate and works at the same time. 

But what do I know? After all, I was only working group co-chair for a short period of 3 years where we saw some very divisive policy proposals. 

From: "Noah" <noah at> 
To: "rpd" <rpd at> 
Cc: "Policy Development Working Group" <pdwg at> 
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2022 1:30:47 PM 
Subject: [rpd] Policy Proposal: PDP Working Group (WG) Guidelines and Procedures - Draft04 

Dear PDWG and PDWG-Chair, 

Please take note as per the subject and inline submission below. 


ID: AFPUB-2020-GEN-003-DRAFT04 Date Submitted: 24 May 2022 

Noah Maina 
[ mailto:noah at | noah at ] 

Adeola Alain P. Aina 
[ mailto:aalain at | aalain@ ] 

Version: 4.0 
Obsoletes: - 
CPM 3.3 [ obsoletes Paragraphs 2 and 3] 
CPM 3.5 [Obsoletes section 3] 

Revision History 

- Amend section 3.3.3 and clarify requirements for candidates to cochair( PDP experiences and PPM attendance) 
- Amend section and clarify that appeal against "posting rights suspension” be handled by Appeal Committee 
- Amend section [ | ] : replace “shall” with “may" 

Policy Proposal: PDP Working Group (WG) Guidelines and Procedures 

Summary of the problem being addressed by this proposal 

The current PDP uses a working group for policy development activities. It does not define specific procedures and operational rules for the working group. This has over the time led to interpretation issues in regards to how the working group is administered and how discussions are moderated. 

Summary of how this proposal addresses the problem 

The proposal addresses the problems by defining clear and explicit Working Group guidelines and procedures. 

Policies the proposal amends/obsoletes 

The proposal amends the Policy Development Process, section 3.3 ( obsoletes Paragraphs 2 and 3) and obsoletes section 3.5.3 of the AFRINIC CPM. 


3.3 The Policy Development Working Group (PDWG) 

The Policy Development Working Group (PDWG) discusses the proposals. Anyone may participate via the Internet or in person. PDWG work is carried out through the Resource Policy Discussion mailing list ( [ mailto:rpd at | rpd at ] ) and the bi-annual AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings (PPM). Any person, participating either in person or remotely, is considered to be part of the Policy Development Working Group. 

The Policy Development Working Group has two Chairs to perform its administrative functions. The PDWG Chairs are chosen by the AFRINIC community during the Public Policy Meeting and serve staggered two-year terms. The term ends during the first Public Policy Meeting corresponding to the end of the term for which they were appointed. A term may begin or end no sooner than the first day of the Public Policy Meeting and no later than the last day of the Public Policy Meeting as determined by the mutual agreement of the current Chair and the new Chair. 

If the Working Group Chair is unable to serve his or her full term, the Working Group may select a replacement to serve the remainder of the term. If the Working Group Chairs are unable to attend the Public Policy Meeting, the Working Group shall nominate a Chair for the session. Anyone present at the meeting, whether in person or by remote participation, may participate in the selection process for a temporary Chair. 


3.3 Introduction 

The Policy Development working group (PDWG) provides an open public forum where proposals for policies for a proper and responsible usage and Management of Internet number are discussed. 

PDWG sessions are held at AFRINIC Public policy meetings. Between meetings, discussions continue through the Resource Policy discussions mailing list. The PDWG is open to all interested individuals. 

This document serves as guidelines on how the working group shall operate. It defines clear roles and responsibilities for the PDWG co-chairs and clear procedures for the working group’s administration. 

3.3.1 Co-chairs 

Two PDWG co-chairs primarily administer the Policy Development working group. The PDWG co-chairs perform a vital role in managing the working group. The effectiveness of the PDWG is dependent on the active participation of the co-chairs. PDWG co-chairs undertake their role on a volunteer basis. 

The co-chairs coordinate the activities of the policy development’s working group and are expected to attend all AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings. They must remain subscribed to the AFRINIC Policy Discussion mailing list for the duration of their term and must also be subscribed to the AFRINIC members-discuss mailing list during their term. 

For each policy proposal, one co-chair must be assigned as the primary contact; both co-chairs however shall actively participate in the consensus building. The leading co-chair for the proposal as described above shall guide the policy proposal through the different phases of the PDP. 

3.3.2 Responsibilities of PDWG co-chairs 

The co-chairs’ responsibility encompasses at least the following: 

    * Ensure working group process and content management 

The co-chairs have ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the working group achieves forward progress .The co-chairs are also responsible to ensure that the working group operates in an open and fair manner. 

    * Moderate the Resource Policy Discussion mailing list 

The co-chairs should attempt to ensure that the discussions on the list are relevant and that they converge to consensus agreements. The co-chairs should make sure that discussions on the list are summarised and that the outcome is well documented to avoid repetition and other abuses. 

    * Organise, prepare and chair the face-to-face and on-line formal working group meetings 

The responsibilities of the co-chairs are listed below: Before an AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting 

a) Assist authors with formatting proposal 
b) Introduce policy proposals to the policy discussion mailing list 
c) Discourage any behaviour that jeopardises open participation to policy discussions, especially for newcomers. 
d) Monitor and moderate discussions held on AFRINIC policy discussion mailing list 
e) Announce the call for presentation of policy proposals for Public Policy Meetings on the policy discussion mailing list 
f) Read presentation's slides to familiarize themselves with the details and ensure they match proposals ‘text. In case of any difference, submission of an updated version of the proposal on the mailing list to notify the working group is required, even if these changes will not be considered. 
g) Create agenda presentation slides for the meeting with AFRINIC staff. 
h) Guide the consensus building process; announce the current status of a policy proposal. 
i) Read AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting minutes and make corrections as necessary 
j) Present the policy discussion working group report to the AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting. During a Public Policy Meeting 

a) Chair the Public Policy meeting and moderate the discussions. 
b) Determine whether proposals gained enough support to move to the next phase. 
c) Monitor remote chat-room discussions during the AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting 
d) Present the policy discussion working group report to the AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting. After a Public Policy Meeting 

a) Send a report of the Public Policy Meeting to the community and policy discussion mailing lists including policy proposal discussion outcomes and open action items. 
b) Monitor and moderate discussions during the last-call phase period. 
c) Summarise discussions, and following the end of the last-call, post the decision regarding whether the proposal has reached consensus or not. 
e) Submit policy proposal ratification report to the AFRINIC board of directors. 

3.3.3. Appointment of PDWG Co-chairs 

The working group appoints two co-chairs for a two-years term. Co-chairs’ appointments occur in alternate years for each seat (seat1 and seat2). 
The working group makes decisions by consensus and shall also appoint co-chairs by consensus. Elections should be used as a last resort solution. 
The appointment for each seat follows the following process: 

At least 60 days before the Public Policy Meeting, AFRINIC staff send a call for nominations to the policy development mailing list. The call will contain: 

    * Details of the co-chair position to be filled (seat1 or seat2) 
    * Details of the duties of the position. 
    * The closing date for nominations; 30 days from the date of the call. 

Any natural person residing in a country from the AFRINIC service region is allowed to volunteer. 

Volunteers make themselves known by introducing themselves (short biography and motivation) as a candidate on the working group mailing list. 

[ Candidates for the co-chair’s position should be known as an active participant on the working group mailing list with good experience with the AFRINIC policy development processes which are readily learned by active participation in the working group and especially by serving as document editor or author. 

They must have attended at least four (4) meetings of the last six (6) Public Policy Meetings of which one must be in person. The six meetings are the six most recent meetings that ended prior to the date on which the solicitation for volunteers is submitted on resources policy discussions list.] 

If at least one nomination is received by the closing date, the appointment process starts. The appointment must be held at the upcoming Public Policy Meeting as the first item on the agenda. Those present at the session, either in person or remotely, will determine by consensus among the candidates who shall take the available position. The remaining chair will determine whether consensus has been reached. If the working group finds itself without a co-chair, AFRINIC CEO will lead the consensus process. 

If only one candidate is being evaluated, the lack of consensus must declare the seat vacant. The board of directors shall appoint interim co-chair within two weeks after the PPM. The Interim co-chair will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair. 

If no consensus can be reached and more than one candidate is being evaluated, then an online secret ballot to appoint the new co-chair will be held within two weeks after the PPM. The secret ballot shall be opened to past PDPWG co-chairs, past board of directors chairs and past CEOs who completed at least one term and have not been recalled. Those who served in multiple positions shall have one vote. Votes and counting shall be conducted using a ranked preferential voting method otherwise known as IRV. The winner of the secret ballot will become the new co-chair. 

In the unlikely event that after all the rounds of counting of the vote, there is a tie between the two (2) most ranked candidates, they shall be asked to select one among them to serve the term by consensus. The seat shall be declared vacant in case of failure of agreement between the last two. 

If the secret ballot cannot be held, the seat is declared vacant. The board of directors shall appoint interim co-chairs(s). The Interim co-chair(s) will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair(s). 

Exit of co-chair includes a handover period and an expectation that the sitting chair follows proposals, which have already reached consensus, to the completion of their PDP cycle. 

3.3.4. Recalling a co-chair 

If the co-chair does not attend two consecutive AFRINIC Public Policy Meetings without reasons or has been publicly reported by the other co-chair as no longer attending to the working group’s affairs without reasons, the co-chair will be removed from its role. 

Anyone may request the recall of a working group co-chair at any time, upon a written request with justifications to the AFRINIC Board of Directors. The request must be supported by at least ten (10) other persons from ten(10) different organisations. These persons must have been subscribed to the working group mailing list for at least one(01) year and attended at least one (1) AFRINIC Public Policy Meeting during the last two (2) years, either in-person or remotely 

A request for recall shall be published on the Working Group mailing list 

Anytime there is a request for co-chair recall, the board shall form a recall committee composed of one (01) CoE member appointed the the CoE, one (01) Governance committee(GC) member appointed by the GC, and one (01) community member pointed by the board of Directors. 
The recall committee shall investigate the circumstances of the request for the recall, [hear the parties] and determine the outcome in not more than 4 weeks. 

The co-chair(s) must be recalled if proven unable to perform the role of cochair, or preventing the WG for making forward progress deliberately, or showing constant and persistent violations of the PDP or the WG's rules. 

The recall committee report shall be published on the working group mailing list. 

The recall committee decision shall be final and binding. 

Whenever a co-chair is removed from its role and recalled, the remaining co-chair will assume the chairing role of the working group until the appointment of a new co-chair(s). 
If both co-chairs are recalled, AFRINIC CEO shall as a matter of urgency lead the appointment by the working group of an interim co-chair(s) via the mailing list or at the Public Policy meeting. 
If no consensus can be reached, the Board of directors shall appoint interim co-chairs(s) for the working group within two weeks after the ascertainment of the lack of consensus 

3.3.5. Resignation of co-chair 

If a co-chair resigns, the remaining co-chair will assume the chairing role of the working group until the appointment of a new co-chair(s). 

If both co-chairs resign, AFRINIC CEO shall as a matter of urgency lead the appointment by the working group of an interim co-chair(s) via the mailing list or at the Public Policy meeting. If no consensus can be reached, the Board of directors shall appoint interim Co-chairs(s) for the working group. 

The Interim chair will act up to the appointment of the new co-chair(s). 

3.3.6 Operations working group (PDWG) Moderation of working group discussions and sessions 

The challenge of managing the policy development working group sessions is to balance the need for open and fair consideration of the issues against the need to make forward progress. The working group, as a whole, has the final responsibility for striking this balance. The working group co-chairs have the responsibility for overseeing the process. 

To facilitate making forward progress, the working group co-chairs may wish to decide to reject or defer the input from an individual, based upon the following criteria: 

The input pertains to a topic that already has been resolved and is redundant with information previously available; 

The input is new and pertains to a topic that has already been resolved, but it is felt to be of minor import to the existing decision; 

The input pertains to a topic that the working group has not yet opened for discussion; 

The input is outside the scope of the discussions or of the working group 

3.3.7 Individual Behaviors 

Occasionally one or more individuals may engage in behaviour on a mailing list that, in the opinion of the working group co-chairs, is disruptive to the working group’s progress or goes against applicable Codes of Conduct. 

Unless the disruptive behaviour is severe enough that it must be stopped immediately, the co-chairs should attempt to discourage the disruptive behaviour by communicating directly with the offending individual. If the behaviour persists, the co-chairs should send at least one public warning on the mailing list. The warning should clearly expose what is being cautioned on the individual and the basis of co-chairs judgment. 

As last resort, and typically after one or more explicit warnings, and if the behaviour persists, the working group co-chairs may suspend the mailing list posting privileges of the disruptive individual for a period of not more than 30 days. The application of this restriction must be gradual. If the individual resumes with the same behaviour or worse, the restriction period may increase. 

Even while posting privileges are suspended, the individual must not be prevented from receiving messages posted to the list. 

Other Mailing list control solutions may be considered. The working group must have adopted these solutions. 

Like all other working group’s co-chairs' decisions, any suspension of posting privileges is subject to appeal. 

3.3.8 Public Policy Meeting 

A Public Policy Meeting (PPM) is a meeting open to the community wherein proposals for policies are discussed within the framework of the Policy Development Process (PDP). 

The AFRINIC board of Directors calls PPMs in accordance with section 11.2 of the Bylaws. 

If one co-chair can’t participate in a Public Policy Meeting, the second co-chair shall chair the meeting. 

If both co-chairs can’t participate in a meeting, the working group shall appoint one (1) person temporarily to lead the session. If the working group cannot appoint a temporary chair, the board of directors shall appoint a temporary chair. If the board fails to appoint a temporary chair, the meeting shall be adjourned. 

The temporary chair appointed above shall lead the discussions according to the agenda, but can’t determine consensus on policy proposals. He will provide meeting minutes to the mailing list and allow the co-chairs to take over. 

While open discussion and contribution is essential to working Group working group success, co-chairs are responsible for ensuring forward progress. When acceptable to the working group, co-chairs may call for restricted participation (but not restricted attendance!) at Public Policy meetings for the purpose of achieving progress. The working group co-chairs then have the responsibility to refuse to grant the floor to any individual who is unprepared or otherwise covering inappropriate material, or who, in the opinion of the co-chairs, is disrupting the working group process. 

3.3.9 Consensus 

The working group makes decisions by consensus as defined in the PDP 

3.3.10 Appeals Suspension of posting privileges 

[Anyone whose privileges of posting to the mailing list have been suspended by the working group co-chairs may file an appeal against the decision to the Appeal Committee as prescribed in the Policy Development Process.The Appeal Committee will evaluate the circumstances, hear the co-chairs and complainer and decide. The Appeal Committee may direct that the Co-chairs decision be annulled if disproportioned or unjustified considering the severity of the behaviour.] 

The CEO’s decision shall be final and binding. Co-chairs appointment 

A person who disagrees with the actions taken by a co-chair regarding the appointment process [may] follow the conflict resolution process as defined in the PDP. 

Actions taken by the board of directors regarding the appointment process are final and binding 


The author would like to acknowledge that some text and procedures in this document have been adapted from RFC2418 and from the working group’s practices of other RIRs. 

Noah Maina 
[ mailto:noah at | noah at ] 

Alain P. Aina 
[ mailto:aalain at | aalain@ ] 

RPD mailing list 
RPD at 
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