[arin-ppml] [arin-council] AC Role in Petitions

Charles O'Hern charles at office.tcsn.net
Thu Apr 14 16:39:12 EDT 2011

On 4/14/11 9:29 AM, Joe Maimon wrote:
> PDP states "Any member of the community, including a proposal originator". On the face of it, this means anyone, including the AC, possibly even including ARIN Bot and Staff.
> Further, stating that a forthcoming revision will contain this rule is an implicit acknowledgment of such.
> I will note that the PDP explicitly excludes ARIN BoT and Staff from submitting a proposal except under Emergency Action. I do not see a corresponding exclusion for petition counting.
> Is this AC rule even valid?

The PDP doesn't seem to include (I couldn't find mention of) a rule to limit the AC's ability to create rules for the members of the AC.

> On the face of it I do not support this rule. Stated justification is dubious and depicting as an abuse of the petition process that 7 AC members + 3 other community members may
> override an AC decision is not particularly compelling. AC decisions with considerable dissenting minority deserve to be questioned and petitioned.
> Successful petitions are rare enough. Has one ever occurred where a large minority of dissenting AC members resulted in a successful petition?

I'd venture to say that most of the less vocal members of this list probably don't tend to support many of these petitions because there's an implicit trust, valid or not, that the
AC knows what they are doing.  There's the run-on thought "I don't feel qualified to discuss topic X, but I trust the opinion of 'John Q. Smith' on the AC and since the AC voted
thus I assume 'John Q. Smith' voted that way and so I don't speak up about the petition to re-introduce the proposal about subject X."

However I think it would be prudent and would serve the community well if, when a petition like these are raised, all the members of the AC speak up with how they voted on the
subject that is under petition and why they voted that way.  Then 'John Q. Smith' would say "I voted thus and here's why" which might trigger more responses from the less vocal
sectors of the PPML.

> Considering that the AC typically contains some of the more vocal and active community members and proposal drafters (as it should), removing them from the petition process should
> show some sound reasoning, other than "the AC makes decisions as a body" and therefore the members of the AC are no longer part of the community who may petition ARIN and PDP actions.

Yes, but, given that only 10 individuals from 10 organizations are needed to pass a petition, reducing the member of the AC's ability to be counted in that number seems to be a
good idea because even 1 or 2 AC members would count as 10-20% of the 'votes' necessary to override the majority opinion of the AC.  I had a thought that this should be larger, but
Joe is right in that participation in the petitions tends to be fairly low already.

> Do AC members need to resign in order to participate in the PDP petition process?
> Joe

I certainly hope no one feels that way.  Being vocal is participating, even in this one instance where being vocal, by virtue of the AC members choosing to do so, doesn't count
towards the tally of 10.  I know that if Owen, or Martin, or any other vocal members speak up on a petition topic, I am personally far more likely to speak up also, if I support
the petition.

The only actual suggestion I have to this whole thing at this time might be a rephrasing of the email message to the list announcing the petition.  That message says:
"If you wish to support this petition, post a statement of support to PPML on this thread."
This implies 'if you don't support the petition, don't say anything'.
Should this phrasing be changed to suggest posting a statement of either assent or dissent?

Speaking of which:  I do not support either petitions to reintroduce prop-134 or prop-136 for discussion because I still don't support those proposals.  The important fact here
though is that I took the time to re-consider my stance because of this vocal discussion.

This discussion about the petition process did get me thinking about a corollary potential issue.
My issue is that the petition system as defined in the PDP seems very open to abuse.  Its a credit to this community that fraudulent abuse hasn't yet, to my knowledge, occurred.
Membership in the PPML isn't policed, which is good from the standpoint of an open bottom-up policy making process.  But, if someone had an agenda to push, a lack of moral
fortitude, and the willingness to put some time and effort into the project, it would not be difficult to create an appearance of overwhelming dissent or assent by using a hoard of
falsified addresses/identities.

Perhaps there is policing of the ppml membership of which I am not aware, but at this moment it seems a simple task to set up 10 fraudulent identities with 10 email addresses on
different domains representing 10 apparent organizations.  It would be fraudulent as hell, and eventually would be noticed, I'm sure.  But I worry that someone could misuse the
system to help push their agenda into policy long before such fraud is noticed and acted on.

How valid is my worry?

Charles O'Hern
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