[arin-ppml] Staff proposing policy.

David Farmer farmer at umn.edu
Thu Apr 28 14:36:19 EDT 2011

On 4/28/11 10:38 CDT, John Curran wrote:
> On Apr 28, 2011, at 11:22 AM, Leo Bicknell wrote:
>> To me it is a way to increase transparency by allowing staff to
>> bring problems and direct suggestions to the table while not having
>> to mess with NDA's and the potential publication of customer
>> confidential data.
> The Policy Experience report allows the staff to raise issues without
> disclosure issues or directing advocating solutions.  My first preference
> would be to allow staff to augment the report with a "preferred option"
> in cases where the policy needs improvement and there is a consensus
> internally about the preferred policy solution.

I believe staff should propose actual NRPM Language or maybe a small 
number of options for NRPM language as part of the policy experience 

>> Now, as far as I know there is nothing in the PDP that prevents staff
>> from submitting proposals.
> Per<https://www.arin.net/policy/pdp.html>  ARIN PDP, part 2, section 1:
> "Policy proposals may be submitted by anyone in the global Internet community
>   except for members of the ARIN Board of Trustees or the ARIN staff."

This may be only a nuance to some, but I believe ARIN staff shouldn't 
directly make proposals into the PDP.  However, I believe it is very 
appropriate for staff to make detailed suggestion as part of the Policy 
Experience report, maybe even to the point of being more or less a 
complete proposal, but some regular member of the community need to 
decide to take the suggestion and make it a proposal and submit it.

>> We don't need a policy proposal to make
>> this happen.  All that needs to happen if the community wants this
>> sort of action is for us to make it clear, so ARIN can change it's
>> internal rules on how employees interact with the community.
> Agreement on this point; if folks want the ARIN staff to provide direct
> suggestion on policy changes based on staff insight, I would propose
> that such preferred solutions be added to the Policy Experience Report,
> and that the report be made more frequently (quarterly) so that the
> community may consider this feedback and initiate proposals as desired.

Those sound like great steps forward, please make the happen.

However Leo is correct, more feedback from the staff, that is specific 
and detailed as possible, is critical to the creation and evolution of 
good policy.  Staff has a unique perspective on policy, and it must be 
included as part of the policy development process.

You have probably heard the parable of the blind men and an elephant. 
One man has a hold of the trunk, one the tail, one a leg, etc...


Well it seems like the we have a situation were policy is the elephant, 
the community are the blind men, and staff is the one man who isn't 
blind, but he happens to be a mute.  We have a tragedy of circumstances 
where the one guy who can see the whole elephant can't tell the other 
guys what he sees.

Like the blind men, members of the community only know the details of 
policies, more or less, as they apply to them or the parts they interact 
with.  A few members of the community may has slightly broader 
perspectives, maybe one whole end of the elephant, but in general only 
staff has a complete view of how policies are working, the whole 

So I wouldn't go as far as allowing staff to actually initiate policy 
proposals, but I would like to create an environment where staff is more 
active in the the policy process without driving or dominating it, that 
would be my objective.  In a word, I want staff to "collaborate" with 
the community in creating good and useful policy.

David Farmer               Email:farmer at umn.edu
Networking & Telecommunication Services
Office of Information Technology
University of Minnesota	
2218 University Ave SE	    Phone: 612-626-0815
Minneapolis, MN 55414-3029   Cell: 612-812-9952

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