Simplification of the PDP

Original Language Español Date Published 14/03/2018 Last Modified 23/03/2018
Last Call for Comments Period Does not apply Date Ratified Does not apply Implementation Date Does not apply
Status Under discussion Download TXT PDF XML DOCX
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Authors

Name: Jordi Palet Martinez
Email: jordi.palet@consulintel.es
Organization: The IPv6 Company

Proposal Data

Policy Type: LACNIC
Id: LAC-2018-6
Last version: 2

Summary

The LACNIC Policy Development Process (PDP) considers two options: the ‘normal’ process and the ‘expedited’ process. Only the latter allows community participation and reaching consensus exclusively through the Policy list, without the need for discussion at the public forum.

Considering that not all forum participants are able to attend all LACNIC face-to-face meetings (which is where the public forum takes place), discrimination is generated when consensus is sought for a policy at the public forum, instead of seeking it among the majority, usually a much larger number of non-attendees. In short, it becomes simply a matter of counting ‘in-person’ votes.

This proposal seeks to standardize the situation by eliminating the requirement that states that consensus must be reached at the public forum. This would render the expedited process redundant as, if this proposal is approved, the expedited process would no longer be necessary.

Finally, one of the usual doubts concerns the definition of ‘consensus’, which is often confused with ‘voting’, and a clarification of the purpose of the ‘last call for comments’.

The proposal also incorporates an appeal process to be used for policy development dispute resolution.

Rationale

With its requirement of face-to-face participation at the forum, the current PDP might – at least partially – be the cause of the low levels of community participation in the process.

This proposal would simplify the process and, by not requiring participation at the in-person public forum to achieve consensus, it would therefore increase community participation.

Likewise, it would avoid the time required for approving proposals which, while important, do not qualify for the expedited process (up to six months), as this also requires a ‘subjective’ decision by the forum chairs.

Finally, it completes the PDP by adding a mechanism for solving disagreements during an appeals phase and an improved definition of ‘consensus’.

Text

Current text:

The entire text is modified (in some cases, introducing small corrections or simply renumbering the sections because an item is added at the beginning. The entire text cannot be copied here as the form does not allow this). To review the changes, compare this text with http://www.lacnic.net/542/1/lacnic/

New text:

1. Rationale
The Policy Development Process is an essential part of the services provided by the Regional Internet Registry. It is through this process that the creation and modification of the policies that the RIR will apply within its region are validated.

This document describes the policy development process at LACNIC, the mechanisms that allow its operation, and the appeal system.

2. Definition of ‘Consensus’
Achieving ‘consensus’ does not mean that proposals are voted for and against, nor that the number of ‘yes's’, ‘no's’ and ‘abstentions’ – or even participants – are counted, but that the proposal has been discussed not only by its author(s) but also by other members of the community, regardless of their number, and that, after a period of discussion, all critical technical objections have been resolved.

In general, this might coincide with a majority of members of the community in favor of the proposal, and with those who are against the proposal basing their objections on technical reasons as opposed to ‘subjective’ reasons. In other words, low participation or participants who disagree for reasons that are not openly explained should not be considered a lack of consensus.

Objections should not be measured by their number, but instead by their nature and quality within the context of a given proposal. For example, a member of the community whose opinion is against a proposal might receive many ‘emails’ (virtual or real) in their support, yet the chairs might consider that the opinion has already been addressed and technically refuted during the debate; in this case, the chairs would ignore those expressions of support against the proposal.

For information purposes, the definition of ‘consensus’ used by the RIRs and the IETF is actually that of ‘rough consensus’, which allows better clarifying the goal in this context, given that ‘consensus’ (Latin for agreement) might be interpreted as ‘agreed by all’ (unanimity). More specifically, RFC7282, explains that “Rough consensus is
achieved when all issues are addressed, but not necessarily accommodated.”

Consequently, in this document ‘consensus’ should be interpreted as ‘rough consensus’.

As an ‘abridged’ definition for the remainder of the document, a proposal is considered to have reached consensus when it is supported by meaningful opinions, after broad discussion, and when there are no irrefutable technical objections.

3. LACNIC's Policy Development Process.
The Policy Development Process may involve following instances:
o Public Policy List
o PDP Chairs
o Working Groups
o Public Policy Forum
o LACNIC Board of Directors

3.1. Public Policy List
o Only those subscribed to the Policy mailing list may submit a proposal.
o Open mailing list.
o Formal starting point and end point for policy discussions.
o Policy proposals may be received at any time.
o Proposals must be submitted using the online form available at https://politicas.lacnic.net/politicas/. Once it has been reviewed, an identification code will be assigned, and the proposal will be sent to the discussion list. The maximum time allowed for reviewing and publishing the proposal on the Public List must not exceed two weeks. This review will only address the text itself, not the merit of the proposal.
o Working Groups may only be summoned through this list.
o Every call for the creation of a working group must be supported by at least five (5) members of the Public Policy List.
o The call for the nomination of candidates to serve as PDP Chairs must be summoned through this list alternately every two years.

3.2. PDP Chairs
LACNIC's PDP will have two chairs, both of whom will perform the same functions.

3.2.1. Functions of the PDP Chairs
o To lead and prepare Public Policy Forum discussions. Discussions will be moderated by one of the two Chairs, who may alternate in this function during the course of the event.
o To moderate the Public Policy List and the Policy Development Process in general.
o To evaluate and suggest minor changes to proposed texts before the corresponding call for consensus.
o To evaluate and suggest consensus in policy discussions.
o To suggest the finalization of the discussions on a specific issue on the Public Policy List.
o To decide to abandon a policy.
o To summon the creation of Working Groups on the Public Policy List.
o To receive comments from LACNIC's Staff in relation to different aspects of a policy proposal. These comments may include, among others, comments on the wording of a proposal, cost of implementing a proposal, legal aspects, and where to include a proposal within LACNIC's policy document.

3.2.2. About the PDP Chairs
o PDP Chairs may not be LACNIC staff.
o These positions will be honorary.
o PDP Chairs must be members of LACNIC or supported by a member of LACNIC.
o PDP Chairs will each serve a 2-year term, with one position up for renewal each year. Unlimited reelection is allowed.

3.2.3. About the election of the Chairs:
o Calls for nominations will be announced through the Public Policy List.
o Anyone subscribed to the Public Policy List may participate.
o The election will be conducted immediately before the Public Policy Forum.
o Voting will be conducted electronically, applying mechanisms to ensure that each subscriber to the list can cast only one vote.
o The winner of the electronic voting process must be ratified at the Public Policy Forum. The acting chairs will ask those in attendance whether they have any objections to the electronic voting process. If any objections are raised, the chairs will evaluate whether such objections are significant. If no objections are raised, or if the chairs consider that such objections are not significant, they will proceed to ratify the winning candidate. Any chair who participated in the election as a candidate must abstain from participating as chair during the ratification process.
o The elected chair will begin their term immediately after the closing of the Public Policy Forum during which it was ratified.
o If a winner was not ratified, the LACNIC Board will appoint a chair to fill the vacant position until the following Public Policy Forum. The next time an election and ratification process can be conducted, the person elected will only fill the position for the remainder of the original term.

3.2.4. Responsibilities and obligations of the Chairs
o To publish the agenda of the upcoming Public Policy Forum on the Public Policy List at least 2 weeks before the start of the Forum, specifying, among other information, which policy proposals will be presented and discussed (both if they have already reached consensus or if they are still in the process).
o To prepare a report on the Public Policy Forum and submit it to the Policy list not more than one week after the end of the Forum.
o To submit a call for the discussion of any proposal presented by the community on the Public Policy List, including a reminder of the duration of the discussion period (8 weeks).
o At any time during the discussion period, to decide together with the author(s) whether it is advisable to review a proposal and, if so, whether it is necessary to restart the discussion period or whether the changes are minor and/or consensus is expected and therefore allow the same discussion period to continue
o To announce whether consensus has been reached within a maximum of 2 weeks after the discussion period has ended.
o If consensus is not reached, to decide together with the author(s) whether they would like to publish a new version or abandon the proposal. If a new version is submitted, the 8-week discussion period must be restarted.
o To publish a 4-week last call for comments for any proposal that reaches consensus on the Public Policy List.
o Within 1 week of the end of the last call for comments, to confirm whether consensus is maintained (in which case the proposal is sent to the LACNIC Board for ratification) or decide together with the author(s) if they wish to submit an updated version of the proposal to the Public Policy List and restart the discussion period.
o To communicate through the Policy List the results of the ratification by the LACNIC Board of those policies that reached consensus and received no observations during the last call for comments, not more than one week after the publication of the minutes of the Board meeting during which the ratification was decided.

3.3. Working Groups
o Working Groups will be optional. Their goal will be to facilitate the discussion of a specific topic.
o Unlimited number of participants.
o Created at the summons of the PDP Chairs, the LACNIC Board, or the LACNIC Member Assembly.
o Working Group results must be published on the Public Policy List four weeks before the Public Policy Forum. These results will be considered recommendations for the Public Policy List.

3.4. Public Policy Forum
o Open to anyone who is interested in participating.
o Analysis of the discussions held on the Public Policy List.
o Presentation of policy proposals, regardless of whether they have already achieved consensus or are still in the process.
o Opportunities will be offered to present topics that are of interest to the Public Policy Forum.

3.5. LACNIC Board of Directors
During its first meeting after the 4-week last call for comments, the LACNIC Board may:
o Ratify the proposal. Analyze its implementation in communication with the staff and make the corresponding announcement.
o Reject the proposal and, through the PDP Chairs, request that the Public Policy List continue their analysis and submit a new proposal.
o Decide the removal of one or both PDP Chairs if failure to comply with their responsibilities were to affect the policy development process. The Board will be responsible for presenting the interim chair(s) within a maximum two weeks, and these interim chairs will serve until the next election.
In addition:
o The Board may summon the creation of Working Groups on the Public Policy List.
o They will be responsible for the election process to appoint the PDP Chairs.
o If a decision of the chairs is appealed, the Board must decide the appeal within a maximum of 4 weeks.

4. Responsibilities and obligations of LACNIC
o To act as the secretariat for the Policy Development Process and provide support to the Public Policy List and the Public Policy Forum by maintaining the mailing list and its archives; providing a space for the Public Policy Forum to meet during LACNIC events; providing assistance to Forum chairs during the Public Policy Forum; updating its website with information on the policy development process, proposals that are under discussion, and those previously submitted, along with their current status; maintaining and updating the Policy Manual and changelog; and providing assistance for conducting the election of the chairs.
o To notify the implementation of proposals ratified by the Board on the Policy List as soon as this occurs.

5. Appeals process
In case of disagreement during the process, any member of the community must initially bring the matter to the Public Policy List for consideration by the Chairs.

Alternately, if any member considers that the Chairs have violated the process or erred in their judgement, they may appeal their decision through the Board, which must decide the matter within a period of four weeks.

6. Last call for comments
The purpose of the last call for comments is to provide the community with a brief and final opportunity to comment on the proposal, especially those who missed the opportunity to do so earlier. Consequently, during this period editorial comments may be submitted and, exceptionally, objections if any aspect is discovered that was not considered in the discussion prior to determining consensus. Any new objections must also be substantiated and must therefore not be based on opinions lacking a technical justification.

Additional Information

The PDP is different in the different RIRs; however, what is proposed here is quite close to the RIPE PDP, possibly the region with the broadest participation in its policy proposal discussions.

Timetable

Immediate implementation

References

RIPE PDP: https://www.ripe.net/publications/docs/ripe-642