[arin-ppml] Advisory Council Meeting Results - May 2010

Smith, Bill Bill.Smith at paypal.com
Tue Jun 1 22:05:37 EDT 2010

On May 29, 2010, at 5:12 AM, William Herrin wrote:

On Sat, May 29, 2010 at 3:31 AM, Owen DeLong <owen at delong.com<mailto:owen at delong.com>> wrote:
In this circumstance, given the number of different inputs to the process
and the ambiguity of much of the input received, it is not always as
easy as you might think for the AC to determine consensus, but, yes,
usually it is.


If you're not sure whether you have consensus then you don't. It only
gets complicated when you really want there to be consensus even
though there isn't.

That's my point exactly.

The PDP is quite clear that the AC is charged with determining consensus of
the community. In my experience, it is relatively easy to determine if
consensus exists. Achieving consensus may be monumentally difficult and time
consuming but the determination of its existence is straightforward.

As I understand the PDP, the AC is charged with the simpler task.

The AC is charged with determining several things, consensus being
but one of them.

The AC is also effectively charged with making an independent
recommendation to the board as to whether a policy proposal would
improve ARIN. For any given proposal, it get's three chances to do
this within the process, only the first of which also functions to
discourage public participation.

>From the PDP, section 2 Draft Policy: "The Advisory Council evaluates policy proposals and develops them into technically sound and useful draft policies that, if adopted, will make a positive contribution to the Number Resource Policy Manual." And from section 1The Policy Proposal "Only policy proposals that are developed into draft policies by the Advisory Council, or successfully petitioned, will be discussed for adoption on the PPML and at the public policy meeting."

Here's the process as dictated by the two sentences above from the PDP:

The AC evaluates a submitted policy proposal. It makes some determination based on that evaluation. If it is determined that a policy proposal should be discussed on PPML, it is developed into a sound, useful, and beneficial *draft policy*. ( I don't believe the PDP dictates how the AC performs this development, it simply requires that it do so.) Only then is that draft policy discussed on PPML and at F2F meetings - unless the policy proposal was petitioned.

Once a draft policy is out for discussion, changes can be suggested. Those suggestions should be evaluated for soundness, utility, and positive impact and only those that improve the draft policy should be accepted. The draft proposal goes back to the AC and it again presumably looks at soundness, utility, and benefit. It also determines consensus.

With a good definition of consensus, even other than the default unanimity, it really is rare for a group to disagree on whether consensus has been reached on an issue, at least in my experience. There can be considerable disagreement on utility, technical soundness, and positive impact - and if those disagreements are significant, sustained, widespread, or otherwise recognized as not indicative of consensus, than consensus doesn't exist. (Of course those holding such opinions should be allowed to state that they do not object to consensus being declared.)

What is ARIN's definition of consensus? Is there a way forward when consensus doesn't exist?

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