[arin-ppml] ARIN & Governance

Eliot Lear lear at cisco.com
Fri Sep 10 02:48:51 EDT 2021

[Yes, I’m burying the lede a bit; read down to the bottom for the “ask”]


As an observer and only occasional participant in ARIN policy matters, I concur with much of what you say.  In following the commentary about AFRINIC, I was actually thinking of posting my own thoughts about community interactions, which are somewhat orthogonal to yours.

It cannot be stated strongly enough is that of course the Board has to ensure that policies are consistent with the mission of the organization and are legal.  No board can act otherwise.

It also cannot be stated strongly enough that the staff (including John) have a key role to play in both executing and advocating that mission and the community wishes.  John and his team have done an absolutely superb job in that regard.

These twenty years have seen rough waters.  The RIRs have each done a great job in steering through them using their community-driven processes.

One aspect that mailing lists can suffer is the ping pong effect.  It is where we see rapid fire responses from participants that do more to fill our mailboxes and “score points” than actually inform the participant.  This is cultural, it is not limited to ARIN, and I suffer it myself from time to time (a good example would be recently on the ISOC policy list).  Over at the IETF, it often happens on matters that contain more opinion than fact, especially in areas where we engineers are not expert.

Now I want to bring this back to your message:

> 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. 

If the community insisted, I think that’s where the policy would land.  The bottom up process requires faith in the wisdom of the community to keep that from happening.  ARIN’s PDP makes it pretty clear that ultimately the community can override the AC, and while I am not deeply versed in AC lore, I would be shocked to find a policy that went against community wishes.  That means that the community is playing with live ammo.  In my experience, most of the people on this list take that responsibility quite seriously.

However, I believe we and others could benefit from a facilitated exchange, so that all ideas are brought to the fore, everyone has the opportunity to respond, but that repetitive, ad nauseam, and even ad hominem arguments can be avoided.

I don’t quite know what that means in this context, but I am sure we each have seen the rapid fire and we each wished there were a better way to advance the conversation.  I hope people have ideas in this area.  I may have one or two, but I am, as I said, mostly an observer, and more active participants are likely to have more appropriately tailored approaches.


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