Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

Re: [DNS] Nomination as auDA Director

From: Don Cameron <donc§>
Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2001 10:26:47 +1100

Thank you for the comments (on and off-list) however it is apparent that I
owe the courtesy of further explanation.

My reference to 'the requirements of the auDA constitution' was a loose
referral to the obligation on all auDA Directors to "act in the best
interests of auDA as a whole and with due regard to the furtherance of
auDA's objectives" (Clause 21.4 of the auDA constitution).

In itself, this is a seemingly minor reference unless analysis is undertaken
on just exactly what the objectives of auDA are, and how these may be
interpreted by this authority. (This may seem trite or pedantic, however I
do view an Organisational Constitution as being the guide by which
organisational operations are, and should be governed).

The following is going to be fairly long-winded so apologies in advance,
however it results from careful analysis over the past few weeks of every
available published auDA document, and includes consideration of
contributions and subsequent responses to the auDA list. All have a part in
determining the culture that exists within auDA, which is really what this
is all about.

May I commence with comments from a recent posting: "Every participant had
adequate opportunity to comment on - even to change - the tendering process
and domain management process to which some (are) objecting" (snip).

On face value this is a true enough statement, however one that disregards
all but the technical aspects of organisational policy formulation. Public
comment on proposals or processes only drives change when the questioning
organisation is open to change. If the culture is such that comments are
ignored, not acted upon, or are answered with cynicism or a referral to
other policies prohibiting action, then it is unrealistic to expect people
to make the comments in the first place. A policy of 'openness' does not
equate to the practical implementation of this management ethic.

My concerns from day one, and I think voiced in one way or another in
several of my postings, have been that auDA lacks an ability to properly
respond to public comment or criticism unless the commentary falls within
the guidelines of existing policy. That the matter is one of culture, not of
a failure to implement the mechanical processes suggested by Ron's posting.
My task over the past few weeks has been to assess the culture at auDA
through the process of analysing policy, commentary and response.

(I also undertook a practical evaluation of this concept through posting a
comment on the auDA Code of Conduct. Not only was my first posting 'lost'
and not placed on the auDA web, my second posting was similarly not placed
on the web with the guaranteed 2 day period. It took a public comment to
this list before action was finally taken. Again, excuses can be made
however this highlights a general air of 'nonchalance' regarding the
acceptance of public comments).

My decision not to stand for the position of an auDA Director is because I
feel a significant change of culture is required for auDA to be truly
representative of the Internet community, and whilst this is somewhat sad to
suggest in an organisation as young as auDA, nevertheless cultural change is
an onerous and difficult task not to be lightly taken. My reference to
personal reasons for not wishing to be an auDA Director, is that I do not
have the commitment or resources to drive this change - and frankly, having
been an agent of change several times in the past, my family does not need
the heartache and degree of personal involvement that goes with such a

To qualify my opinions on this matter may I make reference to the following

Initial observations:

Throughout my time as a member of this forum I have noted numerous concerns
being expressed, yet frequently responses have included cynicism and a
general lack of commitment to discuss the issues raised. Obviously this was
most evident in the discussions and concerns expressed over arrangements to
host the AUNIC database (prior to the issue of personal information being
used for marketing purposes). It virtually took a hailstorm before any
action was considered or taken.

* The archives of this forum are still not available for perusal, and I
refuse to accept that on a forum such as this, the expertise does not exist
to rectify such a simple technical issue. The only conclusion possible is
that auDA does not wish the archives to be made public.

In a letter from Senator Richard Alston to auDA (31/12/200), the Senator
writes: "Given that the Internet naming system is a public resource in the
sense that its functions must be administered in the public or common
interest, auDA recognises that the management and administration of the .au
ccTLD are subject to the ultimate authority of the Commonwealth of
Australia" (snip)

In a response (presented as the final report from the auDA Competition model
Advisory Panel (June 2001), recommendation 2.2 is highly relevant:

"Only auDA will have authority for setting domain name policy for .au. (and)
auDA is accountable to its members, and subject to legislative and judicial

* auDA has failed to recognise the rights of the Commonwealth, and further
discounts  accountabilities to the Australian Internet community in the
matter of competition.

In 'the report on auDA's Achievements and Capacity to Manage Domain Names in
Australia' (October 2000), auDA defines Australian domains as falling within
two broadly defined categories - 'Commercial' or 'Community of Interest'.
This distinction is based solely on the perceived market for such domains,
and whether the market is finite (Community of Interest) or to all intents
and purposes, infinite (Commercial). auDA does not make a distinction
between domains that are provided for 'Commercial' or 'Community' purposes,
and subsequently has subsequently bundled all .org, .asn and .id domains as
being 'Commercial' in nature.

This is a very significant matter, and the one which most strongly suggests
the culture within auDA is that of full commercialisation over any attempt
to ensure a continuance of community service delivery.

The document does outline the fact that some of these domains were freely
available, however contains no references to, or acknowledgement of, the
reasoning behind these domains being made freely available in the first
place. The document further makes no suggestions or inferences that domains
should be freely provided to organisations offering benefit to the
Australian community.

In closing, the report on auDA's Achievements and Capacity to Manage Domain
Names in Australia' (October 2000) further lays claim to the following:
"auDA was established to address the perceived need to move from a domain
name system operated on a volunteer basis, to one that is robust, scalable
and will meet the needs of Australia in the future".

I strongly disagree with this assessment that a volunteer body is incapable
of managing any or all aspects of the Australian Domain Name System, and
find this statement to be insulting and strongly at odds with current
Australian Government policy during this 'International Year of the

I cannot, and will not support an organisation who stands with this as an
underlying principle.

Don Cameron

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Received on Tue Nov 13 2001 - 23:35:05 UTC

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