[ppml] Proposed Policy: IPv6 HD ratio

Michael.Dillon at radianz.com Michael.Dillon at radianz.com
Wed May 11 08:55:49 EDT 2005

> > But policy is determined, not by ARIN members but by the
> > industry elite who sit on the ARIN advisory council and
> > the board of trustees.
> Whoa.  I find this personally offensive.  The AC does not make
> policy.  The AC's role is clearly laid out in
> http://www.arin.net/policy/irpep.html.

I know what the documents say. But I am not talking about
documents. I am referring to the real world operational
nitty gritty of how ARIN's policies have been made in the
past 2 years. You are an AC member and therefore you are
a member of the industry elite whether you like it or not.
However, I was one of the founding members of the ARIN
AC so as a former AC member, that also makes me a member of
this elite. 

How many people who are not current or trustees or AC members,
actually participate in ARIN policy discussions and what
percentage of the membership does that represent? In my 
opinion it is miniscule and that is a bad thing.

> It's not about
> what AC members want, it's about what was voiced in the meetings,
> on the mailing list, and in the halls.  We talk about if the community
> supports the action or not.

This community is primarily composed of the industry elite.
In England that community of consensus used to be called
"the nobility". Later it was referred to as the "landed gentry".
Elites can form communities, but ARIN has a duty to its members
and to the larger community of Internet users, to draw in 
participation from a wider circle. I don't see that happening
and in fact, over the past 2 years, I see the circle diminishing
in size somewhat.

For instance, I reccognize the name of every person who is 
currently on the AC and I believe I have personally met
all but two of them even though I don't get to very many
industry conferences (e.g. NANOG, ARIN, RIPE). Average of one 
a year. To me that indicates too much concentration of 
old-timers and members of a small closed group. In a body
with 15 members serving an industry as big as the North
American Internet, I believe that there should be more
people who I have never heard of. It is not necessary for
people to be ARIN groupies or industry old-timers in 
order to make a solid contribution on the AC. There needs
to be more diversity of views and more diversity of 
backgrounds in the mix.

> Finally, this is the list for members to communicate.

Does this list have at least one participant from 
each ARIN member? I think not. This is the PUBLIC
policy mailing list; a free for all where anyone who
wants to can discuss policy. But it is definitely not
a vehicle for ARIN members to communicate with each other
and voice concerns to other parts of the ARIN organization.

> You don't need to be an ARIN member to
> introduce a policy, or attend a meeting.

I have no argument with being open to public input. 
However I believe that such input is more useful when it
fills an oversight role, commenting on the actions and
planned actions of ARIN. I believe that this oversight
role is SEVERELY impaired because there is no ARIN
members forum. If there was such a forum, you would see
it proposing things from the IP network operators' 
point of view, and then the public comment on this list
would temper those proposals with the public's point
of view.

> there is a completely open and transparent process with no exclusions.
> ARIN members who are interested in policy, can and do speak up on
> this list.

The Communist Party of the Soviet Union was similarly open
to comment with no exclusions. However, in practice, it was
rare for such comments to be made. The end result is that the
organization ossified, made lots of stupid decisions, and was
eventually destroyed when people discovered that they didn't have
to put up with it any more. It is not enough for an organization
to be open on paper. It needs to be seen to be open in actual
practice. And I don't think this is happening with ARIN.
I think ARIN is beginning to ossify because it lacks a 
supply of new blood with new ideas.

--Michael Dillon

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