[ppml] ARIN participation (was: Proposed Policy: IPv6 HD rati o)

Owen DeLong owen at delong.com
Wed May 11 19:33:36 EDT 2005

At the risk of being declared industry elite, I'll second what Bill says
below.  Don't worry about speaking up not knowing the history.  Someone will
explain it to you.

I remember in the latter half of 2003 when some folks from AfriNIC proposed
policy 2003-15.  It provided for specific microassignments for Africa
without relief for North America.  I took great offense, and, a long
debate ensued.  I think I was public enemy number one for many of the
African ISPs on the list for some time.  Later, I came to realize that
they were unaware of proposal 2002-3 and the history of efforts for
microassignment policy in ARIN.  At that point, we were able to come to
mutual understanding and agreement.  Both 2002-3 and 2003-15 achieved
consensus with broad support in North America  and Africa.  Now, 2003-15
is about to be retired because of the success in getting AfriNIC up and
running, largely due to the efforts of these bold individuals.

Speak up.  It may not be comfortable, it may not be easy, but, in the end,
speaking tends to work better than silence.  I suspect neither 2002-3 or
2003-15 would have achieved success without the understanding we achieved
through that debate.


--On Wednesday, May 11, 2005 12:31 PM -0500 Bill Darte
<billd at cait.wustl.edu> wrote:

> Matt,
> Channeling Lee Howard....thanks for your contribution to this discussion
> and your involvement.
> Those on the edge who may feel like newcomers should still voice there
> opinions and perspectives as ARIN is as much their organization as that of
> any other participant.
> bd
>> It's an annoying but common feature of human nature to not bother  
>> with things that are perceived to be working just fine, or perceived  
>> to have a high bar of entry (either in required experience or  
>> skill).  Also, people are lazy.
>> We have a similar problem with participation here at CIRA, where  
>> domain holders act in many ways like shareholders in the company..  
>> running for and voting for our board, voting on annual financial  
>> statements, etc.  The members have a huge say in how the 
>> organization  
>> is run, yet with over half a million domains out there we 
>> have a hard  
>> time making quorum for our annual general meeting.  As Bill Darte  
>> noted, just look at the American and Canadian electoral processes..  
>> even with millions of dollars going into advertising specifically  
>> designed to get people to vote, a significant number of people just  
>> don't bother.
>> The subject of participation at meetings came up in Reston.. in the  
>> Policy Proposal BoF, I believe.  One major thread of the 
>> conversation  
>> revolved around the perception by newcomers that there is a great  
>> deal of history (both technical and political) in most discussions,  
>> as well as a need for a significant amount of operational experience  
>> in order to understand all the nuances and potential side-effects of  
>> any one suggestion or decision.  The two combine to make it 
>> difficult  
>> to feel comfortable adding one's voice.
>> Personally, as someone who operates a small network on the edge, I  
>> just don't have operational experience on the same scale of many of  
>> those who participate in meetings or on PPML.  Also, as a relative  
>> newcomer to the ARIN scene, I'm unaware of discussions that may have  
>> already taken place eliminating particular solutions or avenues.   
>> That makes it difficult to feel comfortable commenting, or making  
>> suggestions... it's just too easy to commit some sort of 
>> gaffe.  As a  
>> result, I tend to limit my comments to subjects where I do have  
>> significant operational expertise, such as with the DNS or with  
>> whois. ... and I'm not even the proverbial geek introvert.  I  
>> gathered from the discussion at Reston that there are many others  
>> with similar reasons for lurking.
>> I'm not sure there's an easy solution.
>> Creating a new mailing list certainly isn't going to do it... if the  
>> members were going to participate in a mailing list just because it  
>> exists, they'd participate here or on arin-discuss.  If I'm reading  
>> between the lines correctly, it seems the suggestion is based on the  
>> notion of mandatory subscription, which I don't think will 
>> fly... and  
>> not just because people will revolt if you tell them they /have/ to  
>> accept e-mail from you.   In my experience, people don't participate  
>> on mailing lists because there just isn't time.  I can spend 
>> a couple  
>> hours a day just keeping up with ARIN and NANOG, and the only reason  
>> my boss allows that to continue is because I've convinced him 
>> it's in  
>> our best interests as a part of the infrastructure to know what's  
>> going on.
>> Of course we want more people to participate, but I think it's  
>> incorrect to suggest there's something wrong with having experienced  
>> people (not only operationally experienced, but more importantly  
>> experienced with the community that is ARIN) on the AC or the BoT.   
>> As has already been noted in this thread, and as is noted at every  
>> meeting, these people do not make or break policy -- they oversee  
>> process, and rubber stamp the decisions of the community.  I think  
>> it's important that a significant number of the people doing those  
>> jobs be very familiar with ARIN, its processes, and the nuances of  
>> its community.
>> I haven't proposed any solutions here, but hopefully I've provided  
>> some insight into why a participation problem exists.  I don't have  
>> any good suggestions, since marketing just isn't my forte, 
>> but I will  
>> note that all cases where I've seen the public respond to 
>> requests to  
>> participate, it has been at the expense of a significant 
>> amount of cash.
>> Matt Pounsett

If it wasn't crypto-signed, it probably didn't come from me.
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