[arin-ppml] ARIN & Governance

Steven Ryerse SRyerse at eclipse-networks.com
Wed Sep 8 21:32:58 EDT 2021


Since the day I first joined this forum there have been numerous comments in this forum about John Curran’s continued assertions that the ARIN Community Governs the Regions policy’s. I’m sure he would say that in a more eloquent way as he has had a lot of practice saying it in this forum and in public and even under oath.  I know that some members of this forum and community on occasion take exception to that, sometimes for good reasons.

John’s comments in this forum the last couple of days are the first significant comments I remember from John - about the reality that there is another side to that Governance assertion.  I thought they were refreshing because they are the truth.

This really is about how Corporations (ARIN is non-profit Corporation) really work.  There is a fiduciary responsibility from the members of the Board of Directors and from the Senior Management Team including the President & CEO.  I rarely see any discussion in this forum until now about this fiduciary responsibility.

ARIN was formed specifically so that the Internet community could engage in self-regulation for IP number resources, and the corporation that is now ARIN was created to manage this.  A Mission Statement was created and folks were chosen for Board positions and Senior Management - and of course a governance document(s) was created for them to operate.  Then of course policy’s were created to guide ARIN employees on how to actually manage the Internet resources entrusted to this corporation.  The AC was formed to further help this community have a Voice in Policy making.

Now that ARIN has been in existence for more than 20 years, it is possible to look back at this forum and say that ARIN, its Board and Employees have worked hard to give this community and this forum a Voice in policy making.  It isn’t perfect and there have been many disagreements, some of them very heated, about what the policies should be.  I have not always agreed with John on various issues discussed in this forum, but I would give him high marks on his efforts to encourage policy participation by this community.

Some participants in this forum seem to think that this community should be the sole decision makers on all policy making.  This assertion of course would prove to be foolish if for example – this community (or at least the vocal members) decided to shut down IPv4 tomorrow - and the board and senior management went along with it.  So the best we can hope for, imperfect as it may be, is a balance of input from the Voices in this community tempered with the board members and senior management carrying out their Fiduciary responsibilities.

This system is not perfect and I can give two examples of when I disagreed with the board carrying out their Fiduciary responsibilities.

When I first became a member of this community, I read the then current Mission statement which when paraphrased essentially said ARIN’s Mission was to further the Internet and provide resources for it.  I pointed out many times that placing resource restrictions in policy, with the goal of “conserving” IPv4 resources to slow down the IPv4 exhaustion, were opposite of the Mission Statement - since “conserving” means reducing Internet resources being allocated and not furthering the Internet.  Subsequently without advanced notice or any prior member discussion in this forum that I saw, the Board of Directors changed the Mission Statement in a way that made it more compatible with resource conservation.  When this new mission statement was approved by the board and published in this forum, I asked whether this community could discuss and provide its Voice to this change, but was told that the board had already made its decision.  I disagreed with some of the mission statement changes that were made since I have advocated for less restrictive resource allocations - and I especially disagreed with changing the statement without discussion in this forum first – but – the fiduciary responsibility and governance documents gave the board the authority to decide to change it and they did.

Another time the Board decided to change the pricing structure for resources issued by ARIN without prior discussion in this forum.  When John was asked if this community could discuss the pricing changes, he was clear that the board had already made their decision and the new pricing would be implemented.  I disagreed with the board changing the pricing without Voice from this community – but – the board had a fiduciary responsibility and the authority to make the pricing changes and they did.  I was glad to see that this community was consulted earlier this year about more current proposed pricing changes.

These are two examples that show how a corporation like ARIN can choose to operate with regard to their governance documents, but disregarding policies developed by this community, if they so choose.  Policies submitted by the community and approved by the AC must still be approved by the board before they are implemented - and this is how it should be.  The board is all powerful within it governance documents and by the laws it operates under.

I’m sure from time to time that John or a board member feel a policy should be added or modified, and they choose to ask one or more members of this community to submit them first to this community for discussion and approval.  In my opinion this is the more preferred method for policy changes to be made since this community does then have a Voice, but it does sometimes hide the fact that a submission originated from senior management or a board member.  Hidden or not, if I was a board member or the CEO I would probably do the same thing.

I applaud John for sharing his thoughts on this matter the last couple of days and for pointing out where in the Governance documents authority has been granted to the board and senior management.  It’s important for members so this community and forum to understand how ARIN works and why.  Seeing these discussions the last several days has been good since its been a while since some of these issues have been discussed.  My two cents.  😊


Steven Ryerse
President

sryerse at eclipse-networks.com<mailto:sryerse at eclipse-networks.com> | C: 770.656.1460
100 Ashford Center North | Suite 110 | Atlanta, Georgia 30338

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From: ARIN-PPML <arin-ppml-bounces at arin.net> On Behalf Of Elvis Daniel Velea
Sent: Tuesday, September 7, 2021 2:35 PM
To: Chris Woodfield <chris at semihuman.com>
Cc: arin-ppml <arin-ppml at arin.net>
Subject: Re: [arin-ppml] Change of Use and ARIN (was: Re: AFRINIC And The Stability Of The Internet Number Registry System)

Hi Chris,


On Sep 7, 2021, at 11:04, Chris Woodfield <chris at semihuman.com<mailto:chris at semihuman.com>> wrote:
Don’t forget the the ultimate say does, in fact, lie with the community, in that the members of the Board and the Advisory Council are elected by the community.

Allow me to be skeptical about this statement too. I vaguely remember how a well respected board member was not ‘selected’ for candidacy for re-election and was not allowed to defend its seat because some group of people made a decision. This happened just a few years ago and I had quite a few chats with lots of community members that were outraged to see this is possible. It was during an ARIN Meeting in Vancouver, in 2018, if my memory serves me well.



While there’s always the potential for a cynical take on the community’s ability to affect meaningful change when needed, I’d hope that any egregious policy decisions made by these bodies - decisions that the community agrees are not in line with their collective interests - would result in the Board and/or AC members responsible for those decisions having a much more difficult time with their future re-election campaigns than they would otherwise.

PDP shouldn’t really work this way. Bottom-up either.

/elvis



-Chris


On Sep 7, 2021, at 10:49 AM, Fernando Frediani <fhfrediani at gmail.com<mailto:fhfrediani at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hi Elvis

I have the same view as you do.
Despite this undertanding (and maybe the Board too - and correct me if I don't reproduce it accuratelly) I refuse the view that "PDP is a concession of the Board to the Community" and - this is what makes it even more controvertial - that 'this does not void ICP-2" due to historical reasons or whatever justification.

They are entiteled to their opinion but I do not believe that corrensponds to practical realitty.

I sincerelly hope that not only ARIN Board by any other RIR Board never void the bottom-up process and respect the ultimate power of community to choose how policies will be, not the Board unilaterally at their will.

Obviouslly this doesn't confuse with the prerrogative of the RIR Board to care about the organization protection and legal protection and I support that including the prerrogative of the Boards to ractify proposals that reached consensus.

Regards
Fernando

On Tue, 7 Sep 2021, 14:10 Elvis Daniel Velea, <elvis at velea.eu<mailto:elvis at velea.eu>> wrote:
Hi,


On Sep 7, 2021, at 09:10, Owen DeLong via ARIN-PPML <arin-ppml at arin.net<mailto:arin-ppml at arin.net>> wrote:
While the Board delegates the administration of policy development routinely to the ARIN AC, but it retains ultimate authority commensurate with the responsibility that they must bear for the organization.

This is a very useful clarification to have available for those who continue to argue that the community is the ultimate authority on policy matters. Thank you.

Very surprised to see John explain how the bottom-up process works (or not) in ARIN and how much influence the ARIN Board has on policy.

I am also extremely surprised to see the difference in PDP between ARIN and the rest of the RIRs as per John’s statement above.

Elvis


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