ICANN may be years behind schedule when it comes to getting things done on multiple fronts, but it’s the community’s fault for making up rubbish policies, bickering endlessly, and attempting to hack the policy-making process.

That’s me paraphrasing a letter sent last week by chair Maarten Botterman to the Registries Stakeholder Group, in which he complained about the community providing “ambiguous, incomplete, or unclear policy recommendations”.

RySG chair Samantha Demetriou had written to Botterman (pdf) in December to lament the Org and board’s lack of timely progress on many initiatives, some of which have been in limbo for many years.

Policies and projects related to Whois, new gTLDs and the Independent Review Process have been held up for a long time, in the latter case since 2013, she wrote, leading to community volunteers feeling “disempowered or discouraged”.

As I recently reported, ICANN has not implemented a GNSO policy since 2016.

The lack of board action on community work also risks ICANN’s legitimacy and credibility, Demetriou wrote.

But Botterman’s response (pdf), sent Thursday, deflects blame back at the community, denying that the delays are “simply because of failure at the level of the organization and Board.”

He wrote:

we need to continue to find our way forward together to address the challenges that affect the efficiency of our current decision-making processes, including, for example, ambiguous, incomplete, or unclear policy recommendations, the relitigation of policy issues during implementation, and the use of the review process to create recommendations that should properly be addressed by policy development

In other words, the community is providing badly thought-out policy recommendations, continuing to argue about policy after the implementation stage is underway, and using community reviews, rather than the Policy Development Process, to create policy.

The RySG, along with their registrar counterparts, put their concerns to the board at ICANN 72 in October, warning of “volunteer burnout” and a “chilling effect” on community morale due to board and Org inaction.

At that meeting, director Avri Doria presented staff-compiled stats showing that across five recent bylaws-mandated community reviews (not PDPs), the board had received 241 recommendations.

She said that 69% had been approved, 7% had been rejected, 18% were placed in a pending status, and 6% were “still being worked on”.

CEO Göran Marby provided a laundry list of excuses for the delays, including: reconciling differing community viewpoints, the large number of recommendations being considered, the potential for some recommendations to break ICANN bylaws, sensitivity to the bottom-up nature of the multi-stakeholder process, lack of staff, and the extra time it takes to be transparent about decision-making.

Just this week, ICANN has posted eight job listings, mostly in policy support.

In his letter last week, Botterman pointed to a “Prioritization Framework”, which is currently being piloted, along with further community conversations at ICANN 73 next month and a “thought paper” on “evolving consensus policies”.

Because why fix something when you can instead create another layer of bureaucracy and indulge in more navel-gazing?

The post “It’s not our fault!” — ICANN blames community for widespread delays first appeared on Domain Incite.

Original article: “It’s not our fault!” — ICANN blames community for widespread delays

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