random thoughts

Sep 24

ICANN Trust and predictability

The first principle of the New gTLD program people are currently suffering through is:

New generic top-level domains (gTLDs) must be introduced in an orderly, timely and predictable way.

Any one who has even the slightest awareness of the realities of the new gTLD program knows that is has been anything but predictable, let alone orderly and timely - but those are subjects for another day.

In terms of ICANN processes, the various policy development processes (PDP) define the the manner in which decisions will be made.  Anyone who is paying even the slightest attention to ICANN these days know that the PDP no longer holds sway in an environment where ad-hoc processes,  invented by the Board and the Staff, sometime known as the Adhoceracy, replace the PDP anytime it is convenient.  And while sometimes, there is a need that an existing process does not meet, when that happens they do not work with the members of the community to craft a new, albeit interim, process.  Instead they just invent something, sometimes even something clever like the current Accountability process, and then try to bluster their way though any opposition, only stopping when the people rise up and embarrass them with letters of non support.  The point is that the process of ICANN has become unpredictable, something that no one could possibly trust.

While some people have an emotional makeup that thrives on unpredictability, the adventure of surviving chaos and finding way to create advantage, for the most part, it is human nature to need predictability in order to trust.  Most people wake up each day either trusting what the day will be like or dreading the unknowns they will have to face.  In examples like the Scottish vote for independence, despite centuries of yearning for freedom, in the end, most analyses show that they voted for the predictability of the UK.  No matter how strong other impulses might be,  populations trust predictability. Most people choose predictability. At ICANN the only predictable is unpredictability - one never knows what is going to happen next.  One never knows what the next adventure in adhocery will be.

The ICANN community is currently enduring this period of helter skelter,  and though all good intentioned haste and disorder, it leaves the community uncertain as to what each new day will bring.  Trust on the other hand, means that there is something you can count on.  It means that one can generally predict what the course of action following an event will be like. It is not only businesses that need predictability, normal folks thrive on it too.

When you get right down to it, what is difficult to understand is not the lack of trust, but rather it is all the hand wringing we see from our corporate leaders about trust. 

Isn’t is obvious what the problems are?