[ARIN-consult] Community Consultation on Increasing the Size of the ARIN Board of Trustees

Jason Schiller jschiller at google.com
Fri May 12 10:41:04 EDT 2017

Thank you David, Paul, and Woody.  You have given me much to think about.

I agree with the conclusion of the conversation with David and Paul.  I
increasing the size of the board if it is one of many steps taken to
diversity. I would like to hear proposals for how we would limit filling
the new
board seats before we decide to increase the size of the board, or if there
are other proposals for increasing diversity that can only be achieved by
increasing the number of seats.

I agree with many of Woody's points.  I think we need to bite the bullet on

Designating a particular seat in order to meet diversity requirements is not
a revolutionary concept.  ICANN Board seats 9 and 10 are appointed by the
ASO AC.  We tend to favor candidates that have a strong tie to the numbers
community, but this is not a requirement.  We do however have a regional
requirement that the two seats cannot be filled by someone from the same RIR
region.  Our selected candidates could further restrict the ICANN NOMCOM
choices for open seats based on total board diversity requirements.

While regional representation may increase regional diversity, and ethnic
diversity, it can only be assured if we limit a given seat to a given
or ethnicity.

We could for example, designate a Caribbean seat where the slate of
candidates would be restricted to only people of the Caribbean region, as
determined by the membership of the Caribbean region.  The  Caribbean
membership could put forward a number of  Caribbean region candidates
that they are happy with, from which the ARIN membership could select.

OR, one might conclude that there is no shortage of Canadian or
American board members, but that we lack Caribbean board members.
We could designate the longest held American and Canadian seats as
belonging to those regions, and add a 2017 Caribbean seat.  Each of these
seats would have nominations restricted to candidates that are identified
as in their respective region, by there respective regional members.  The
is that once every three years we would have an election for "regional

OR, we could spread the regional seats having a Caribbean  seat added in
and designating Canadian seat that is up for election in 2018, and the
seat up for election in 2019.

OR, one could structure it such that if any region has no representation,
the candidate from that region with the highest number of votes will be
awarded the
seat that bumping out a candidate that has more votes.

Either of the three approach still yield two more seats that could be
for gender or ethnic or some other diversity type which is valued.

I dislike the idea of term limits, as there are a limited number of good
people who
are willing and able to serve, and feel it does not serve the community to
someone who is doing a good job and the community is happy with.  That
said, I would not oppose making three new seats as term limited as this
will still
allow quite a bit of flexibility to not be forced to loose a really good

Like Woody, I think it is easier to think in terms of region then gender,
but if the
solution works for one, then it should be good for the other as well.

I'm not sure about organization types.  There are lots of options there...
Transit Provider, Content Provider, Application Provider, Cloud Provider,
Commercial, Residential,
Small, Medium, Large,
Rural, Non-rural, multi-regional, multi-national,
Technical Operations, Public Policy, Finance, Ethics


On Fri, May 12, 2017 at 12:04 AM, Bill Woodcock <woody at pch.net> wrote:

> Acknowledging up front that I’m yet another middle-aged white dude from
> the U.S., I’m going to talk about some things that sometimes make people
> uncomfortable.  Because it’s my job as a Trustee, and because the issues
> are important and have been unresolved for too long. I’d very much like to
> see serious discussion and some consensus on a reasonable way forward, that
> we can actually try to make happen.  So, if you think I’m wrong about
> things that I’m saying here, please educate me.  I won’t be offended, and
> I’ll be happy to see the conversation proceeding.
> On May 12, 2017, at 4:49 AM, Bartlett Morgan <bartlett.morgan at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> What kind of diversity in background is ARIN trying to achieve? Is it
> gender, regional or economic diversity?
> I think the two kinds that have seemed the most achievable are gender and
> regional.
> In my observation, people are much less resistant to the notion of
> “regional representation” (meaning that the seats on the board would be
> divided into a certain number elected by Canadian organizations, a certain
> number elected by organizations from the U.S., and a certain number elected
> by organizations from the Caribbean) than to, for instance, gender or
> ethnic representation quotas.  I think it’s less controversial for a number
> of reasons…  Canadians are not a minority in Canada, for instance, and it
> leaves Canadians free to do what they want with “their” seat(s), and it
> doesn’t leave the impression that someone of lesser merit has been selected
> solely on the basis of, for instance, Canadian citizenship.  So it
> substitutes “representation” for “tokenism” in a way that’s a lot more
> palatable.  For this to work, it really needs to be about segregating the
> _electorate_, rather than labeling the _candidate_.  i.e. all Canadian
> organizations vote for whoever they like to fill the seat(s) that they
> elect, rather than all (including US and Caribbean) organizations voting
> for someone who identifies as Canadian.  Once you get in to the labeling of
> candidates as appropriate to fill specific quotas, the tokenism ick-factor
> comes back into play.
> So, that can work, without offending anyone too badly, to achieve regional
> representation, which is probably close enough to regional diversity for
> the difference not to matter.  It’s notable that this is one of the things
> that AfriNIC has gotten really right, over the years, and it’s really
> helped keep the politics there balanced, and keep recriminations to a
> minimum.
> On the other hand, if we tried to apply the same approach to gender
> representation, I think most people would think it was weird and creepy.
> Besides which, in ARIN, organizations vote, not individuals.  And
> organizations don’t have gender.  So it’s not really an option anyway.
> Which brings us back to tokenism, the gender-labeling of candidates, and
> quotas.
> One of the things that seems to make people most uncomfortable is
> tokenism.  Quoting from the Wikipedia article on the topic:
> *Tokenism is the practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort
> to be inclusive to members of minority groups, especially by recruiting a
> small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the
> appearance of racial or sexual equality within a workforce. The effort of
> including a token employee to a workforce is usually intended to create the
> impression of social inclusiveness and diversity (racial, religious,
> sexual, etc.) in order to deflect accusations of social discrimination.*
> *Harvard Business School professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter asserts that the
> token employee is usually part of a socially-skewed group of employees who
> belong to a minority group that composes less than 15 percent of the total
> employee population of the workplace. By definition, token employees in a
> workplace are few; hence, their heightened visibility among the staff
> subjects them to greater pressures to perform their work to higher
> production standards of quality and volume and to behave in an expected,
> stereotypical way. Given the smallness of the group of token employees in a
> workplace, the individual identity of each token person is usually
> disrespected by the dominant group, who apply a stereotype role to them as
> a means of social control in the workplace.*
> On the one hand, we have the position that’s described in the Wikipedia
> article on tokenism, which is indeed my knee-jerk reaction to the issue…
>  That quotas demean the people who are selected to fill them, by implying
> that they are not individuals in their own right, but instead merely
> exemplars of a minority (or in the case of women, majority) group which
> they were coincidentally born into, and that they were unable to achieve
> the seat on their own merits.  And, indeed, I’ve certainly seen plenty of
> really unfortunate examples of people being treated that way.  But this is
> a problem statement, not a way forward.  Saying that it’s an uncomfortable
> position doesn’t propose a solution.
> So, on the other hand, there are places where gender quotas have been very
> effective:
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_representation_on_
> corporate_boards_of_directors#Encouraging_gender_diversity_
> on_corporate_boards
> https://oecdecoscope.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/gender-quotas-for-corporate-
> boards-do-they-work-lessons-from-norway/
> http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nordic-investment-
> fund-idUSBRE98T0LM20130930
> http://kjonnsforskning.no/en/2016/10/secret-behind-norways-
> gender-quota-success
> https://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/07/world/europe/german-law-
> requires-more-women-on-corporate-boards.html
> …and a long-term consequence of quotas, is typically that they succeed,
> and become unnecessary, spreading equality of representation to other
> venues, as a matter of cultural habituation and expectations:
> http://fortune.com/2016/10/31/iceland-us-women-in-parliament-congress/
> And the real kicker is that the tokenism objection is only advanced in
> places that haven’t actually tried using quotas:
> https://hbr.org/2016/11/what-board-directors-really-think-of-gender-quotas
> *Our research also revealed a contrast between Danes’ and Americans’
> expected impact of quotas and the actual impact of quotas as reported by
> the board members we spoke with from countries where quotas are already in
> place. We found that the imposition of quotas and goals has resulted not
> just in greater gender diversity, but to a more professional and formal
> approach to board selection.*
> *As one former male CEO and director in Norway remarked, “In my opinion,
> what happened in Norway when affirmative action was introduced was that
> the entire recruitment process of boards was sharpened. The requirements
> were clarified, the election committee’s responsibility was acknowledged.
> And the focus on the composition of the boards in general was improved.
> With that law, the importance of the board was upgraded, and the
> composition of the board. That is positive. And it might also be because
> you don’t have to go far back before you see that the recruitment to boards
> and board members was heavily influenced by a sort of networking mentality,
> and the close network that you belonged to yourself.”*
> *In contrast, the U.S. board selection process still relies heavily on
> social networks. As a U.S. female director described it, the lack of board
> diversity in that country is part of a general lack of rigor in succession
> planning: “A really thoughtful board should give as much airtime to
> succession of the board as of the CEO.  That is not the status quo. Most
> boards do a hand-wave on it.  They don’t discuss board succession planning.
> If you really give it some thought, then you would have a plan and gender
> diversity would be part of that plan.”*
> *In looking at this with respect to the ARIN board over the past decade, I
> came to the conclusion that my knee-jerk position (tokenism is demeaning)
> is incorrect, that that’s just what most middle-aged American white guys
> who think of themselves as liberal think.  That instead, the correct way to
> deal with this is through data-driven policy-making.  The data say that
> quotas work, that they increase professionalism and quality, and that they
> ultimately make themselves unnecessary as everyone ups their game, and
> that’s what long-term success looks like.*
> *So I think we need to get past whatever squeamishness we have about
> gender quotas, and just do it.  I think that in a few years, we’ll look
> back, and ask ourselves why we took so long.*
> *In combination with regional representation, which may in turn improve
> ethnic diversity.*
> Finally, to address the last point in your question, economic diversity,
> the theory is that ARIN board members are individuals represent the ARIN
> membership as a whole, rather than representatives of their day-job
> employer organizations.  So that would sort of answer the question of
> whether the economic diversity you’re referring to is organizational (which
> would make sense, since ARIN is an organization of organizations, rather
> than an organization of individuals, but is not what our current board
> structure would accommodate) or individual.  And if it’s individual, I
> don’t think we want to do that, since I don’t think candidates probably
> want to release their tax returns, and being the “poor candidate” or the
> “rich candidate” doesn’t really speak to ability to do the job, nor to
> ability to represent large or small _organizations_.  So, I think it’s best
> to punt on economic diversity as long as individuals serve not representing
> their employers.  If that were to change for some reason, and board members
> were elected to represent their employers, I’d definitely support
> re-visiting this question.  In the mean time, I think there’s a good
> argument to be made that *regional representation will also yield some
> benefit with respect to diversity of day-job organization size too*, in
> that the size and nature of Internet organizations in Canada, the
> Caribbean, and the U.S. are fairly different.
>                                 -Bill
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Jason Schiller|NetOps|jschiller at google.com|571-266-0006
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