[ppml] Metric for rejecting policy proposals: AC candidate question

Sam Weiler weiler at tislabs.com
Tue Oct 3 09:19:59 EDT 2006

I've been rereading the responses to my question: "[is it] appropriate 
[for the AC] to reject a policy proposal merely because there's a 
'better' path for resolving the matter"?

First, I appreciate so many of the AC candidates (eight out of ten) 
responding to my query during this election season.  I also appreciate 
the reminders of the existence of the petition process, which can 
quickly make the AC's initial rejection of a policy proposal 
irrelevent.  On the other hand, I'm a bit disappointed that it was 
hard to find a clear and direct answer to the exact question asked in 
some of the responses.

As background, it's been my experience that many items that are (at 
least arguably) in-scope for the public policy process could also be 
appropriate to deal with informally (or through the new ACSP).

I agree with most of the candidates that, in most cases, the public 
policy process is clearly a slower, kludgier, and less desirable way 
of dealing with these issues than the informal processes.  On the 
other hand, the informal routes may not provide the result the 
community desires.  Accordingly, I'd like the see the option of using 
the public policy process remain available for anything that could 
possibly be in-scope for that process, even when an informal 
alternative exists.

In the interest of facilitating further discussion, I've included the 
text of the AC candidates' responses below.

-- Sam

Owen DeLong

It depends in part on how much better said path is, and, on the nature 
of the path. If there is a more appropriate open public process for a 
proposal, then, I would have no problem rejecting the proposal with a 
recommendation that it be submitted, instead, to that process. If the 
"better" process is not similarly open, I would be unlikely to reject 
the proposal on that basis alone.

Mark Kosters

There are proposals that have come in recently that can be argued
that are not policy but more focused on new services or process
for ARIN operational matters. I've argued that there has been no
other way to go forward except through the policy process for things
that are member matters (hence my objection that is recorded
in section 6 of the Arin AC meeting of May 4):

I'm very encouraged that there is now an emerging set of processes for 
non policy matters that the members can bring to ARIN that is a more 
logical path forward than using the policy process. As far as the the 
existing process has been defined, I personally like to see the 
process to be setup more like the policy process with reasonable 
overrides if there is resistance by leadership within ARIN but wanted 
by its members.*

Michael Lambert

I like your use of the term 'metric' in the subject.  Assuming that 
the metric for all the options is in the range [0,1]: If we're talking 
about 0.92 versus 0.94, I see no reason for the AC to circumvent the 
public policy process.  However, if the options are 0.3 vs 0.8 it's a 
different matter.  BUT, in the latter case, I would hope it is 
reasonably apparent to the entire community that the full public 
policy process is not appropriate.  It's the middle ground where the 
AC needs to make thoughtful recommendations.

Leo Bicknell

I think a large component of the AC's job is community education. It's 
helping those who are not familiar with the process navigate through 
it when necessary.  If the AC can help the proposer find a better path 
to resolution I think that makes everyone happy.

I'll also point out that we have a petition process, documented in 
http://www.arin.net/policy/irpep.html.  I hope the AC would always be 
able to provide a path forward that satisfies the author, but if not 
there is a mechanism to allow the author to move a proposal forward.

Andrew Dul

The AC is chartered to make the decisions based upon the input from 
all stakeholder sources.  A good example of something that is best 
addressed outside the public policy process would be issues that are 
clearly operational in nature.  In the past, some issues have been 
referred to ARIN staff so they can address the issue.  In many cases, 
I believe these issues have been adaquately addressed by ARIN staff.

I see no need to overburden the public policy or the Number Resource 
Policy Manual (NRPM) with operational issues that can best be 
addressed by the ARIN staff.  If ARIN staff has been unresponsive to 
an issue and a community member feels that the issue still needs to be 
addressed, the issue could be addressed through the open policy 
process; in that case the rationale should clearly state the reason 
why the issue is being submitted to the public policy process.

The public policy process does allow a "fallback" option through the
petition process.  Any AC action can be overridden by the petition 

Stacy Taylor

If the AC deems an issue better handled by another path or process, it
is its responsibility to forward it on.

Robert E.Seastrom

I agree with both Stacy and Andrew.  Micromanagement of operational 
issues via the public policy process is not a desirable outcome; 
unnecessarily constrains ARIN staff and if done too often will result 
in the NRPM becoming huge and unwieldy.  The AC finding that something 
"can best be addressed by the ARIN Board of Trustees" is completely 
neutral on the proposal's merits, it's just a suggestion that it is 
more operational than policy oriented.

The ACSP is a new thing, which should eliminate much of the need to 
use the public policy process to get the attention of ARIN's ops side. 
I think this represents a step towards goodness and applaud the 
efforts of ARIN staffers to bring it to fruition.

As much as I'd like to put in a suggestion that at least one future 
ARIN meeting per year ought to take place in an ARIN region country 
other than the US and Canada, I suppose I'll restrain myself...

Aaron Dudek

It depends on what it proposal is and whether there is a precidence to
follow. Issues on operational policies should be discussed during the
membership meeting.  If the policy falls into the public domain then I
think that the AC should make a recommedation instead of rejecting it.

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