[IGFmaglist] Participation at IGF by MAG members

Flávio Rech Wagner flavio at inf.ufrgs.br
Fri May 20 08:31:35 EDT 2016


Dear all

Please remember that, as MAG members, we already have an extremely 
active role in the preparation of the IGF, taking a very large number of 
decisions regarding different aspects: main theme, main sessions, 
workshops, intersessional work, BPFs, etc. As Peter very well expressed, 
we should encourage, coach and facilitate new talent to emerge. These 
are our primary functions, for which we have been nominated, and I would 
not characterize this as "taking a low profile".

Remember also that, in particular, we also already have a very active 
role in the preparation of the main sessions. We define their themes and 
formats, facilitate their organization, nominate speakers and 
moderators, etc. So we are already strongly influencing the main sessions.

Because of these considerations, in my opinion we should keep the 
guidelines we already followed in 2015:
1) MAG members should refrain from active, public participation in the 
sessions during the IGF.
2) In particular, MAG members should not participate in the main 
sessions, and specially in the main sessions they organize / facilitate, 
not even as "moderators".

I would not say that we should explicitly "ban" MAG members from 
actively taking part in sessions (option 3 from Peter's three options). 
Instead, we should accept exceptional situations that may arise, without 
trying to define a priori which are these situations.

Regarding the terminology - I see no difference between "organizer" and 
"facilitator", at least from the point of view of MAG members' 
involvement. But this role is completely different from a "moderator", 
who is someone that actively participates in a session and may directly 
influence its outcome. As Liesyl correctly indicates, we should clear 
this up in our documents and use a uniform terminology.

Best regards

Flavio



> Peter,
>
> Thanks for your note. In fact this was one area of question I had when trying to compile the recommendations from last year's compilation and the discussion, so thanks for raising the question.
>
> At least in part it may be a function of terminology - the difference between (1) organizer; (2) facilitator; and (3) moderator, which the current version may not make clear...mainly that we may have been using "organizer" and "facilitator" interchangeably in guidelines and haven't cleared it up. It was my understanding that MAG members are the ones pulling the sessions together - "organizing" them, as it were, and doing the prep, planning, etc., with their volunteer groups.  I wasn't clear how that is different from a "facilitator". I believe Virat may have some experience/thoughts on a distinction perhaps he can share.
>
> Regarding speaking on main session (part of the public role you refer to), the recs from last year said that MAG members should speak on no more than one main session and if they do, not on ones they organize.  So that's how we included it, as you point out.   But I note there has been some discussion about whether MAG members should refrain from speaking on main sessions at all unless, as you note, they have dispensation to do so.
>
> I hope this is helpful at least in some way of explanation about how we got to this main session guidelines draft, and I welcome discussion to come to clearer guidance.
>
> Kind regards,
> Liesyl
>
>
>
> Sent from my iPhone
>
>> On May 20, 2016, at 3:39 AM, Peter Dengate Thrush <barrister at chambers.gen.nz> wrote:
>>
>> Fellow MAG members,
>> With apologies for the delay, I’d like to return to a topic raised in our call last month - the public participation in events at IGF meetings by MAG members.
>>
>> It appears there was a time when MAG members played an active part in not only proposing sessions of various sorts at IGF meetings, but chairing/moderating, speaking ( on panels and other formats) and generally taking a very public role at IGF meetings.
>>
>> Over time, it has seemed more appropriate for MAG members to play a lesser public role. The possibility of a conflict of interest in proposing sessions which MAG members are involved in, even if they personally refrain from evaluating their own proposals, is one obvious reason for a reduced role.
>>
>> When I joined the MAG last year, there were various comments made to the effect that MAG members should not assume public roles, but should encourage, coach and facilitate new talent to  emerge.
>>
>> Last year, it appeared to me (entirely subjectively) that MAG members generally took a lower profile, but that was not uniform. Some MAG members appeared in a variety of public roles.
>>
>> It seems to me we should have a discussion then come to a quick conclusion about the parameters of the public performance by MAG members.
>>
>> The points on both sides of the issue are obvious: on the one hand MAG members are (typically) leaders in their communities, and have a good grasp of a wide range of topics, and serve well as speakers on topics they are familiar with, if not experts upon. One of the reasons for joining the MAG is to increase one’s involvement in these issues. For some if not many MAG members, active participation ( being in the published programme) is a pre-requisite for getting funding from employers or other parties. In other cases, it is the groups putting the sessions together that seek the participation of MAG members because of their high profile and expertise.
>>
>> On the other hand, MAG members are leaders in their communities, and don’t need to increase their profiles. They could be using their positions to bring on new talent.The conflict of interest point extends across all formats - many worthwhile and interesting sessions are not approved for inclusion, and it weakens the IGF to have any appearance of favouritism. MAG members should do other things to enhance the profile of the IGF.
>>
>> Doubtless there are more points, with many nuances around each one.
>>
>> I suggest, for the purposes of the discussion that I now invite, that we consider three broad options;
>>
>> (1) No Limits on MAG member involvement:
>> (2) Some limit (TBD after debate, but probably along the lines of the “Rule of 3” some have cited ( as if it were a rule);
>> (3) A complete limit (ban) on MAG member involvement ( probably with a let-out clause that would allow a MAG member to apply for dispensation in certain circumstance).
>>
>> I look forward to some discussion on this, and then a move to closure.
>> I note that the Main Sessions draft produced by that WG takes the position that all Main Sessions need to be facilitated by MAG members ( a continuation of the same position taken in the 2015 paper.) I’d be interested in learning of the reasoning behind that.
>>
>>
>> Thanks in advance for your thoughts on this.
>>
>> Regards
>>
>>
>> Peter
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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