20i Domains

A word on tone and key choice

Discussion in 'Nominet General Information' started by Acorn Newsbot, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

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    I wanted to share a short note with our members at the close of a busy and eventful week. As you can imagine, this week’s call for an EGM has been something of a crystalising moment. I’ve had some time to reflect, and wanted to share two of those reflections.

    The first is about the nature of our disagreement.

    Nominet was founded at a time when the Internet was a palpable source of hope and optimism, long before it was considered critical national infrastructure, and before the very real challenges all of us now face keeping things running and safe.

    Reflecting on this helped me see what I think might be an important distinction between my view of Nominet’s mission and how some of our critics may see things.

    We try to manage Nominet for the Internet that we have, even as we keep striving for the world where technology continues to deliver on its potential as a force for good.

    As we know, today’s Internet sadly has too many bad actors bent on destruction and equipped with increasingly complex digital weaponry. Managing crucial elements of the UK’s Internet infrastructure requires that we bring a cold realism to the challenge and that we equip ourselves professionally and commercially to succeed. To do so, we must also attract and keep the best talent in an increasingly crowded and competitive marketplace. Our amazing staff field calls every day from top tech employers and many others, so attracting and keeping the best requires a strategy with ambition and a common purpose.

    Starting next week, we’re going to share a clear vision for Nominet’s next few years – a vision that the Board and I have been working on throughout 2020 and was slated for discussion at this year’s AGM. I hope you’ll see in those plans a strong desire to continue to position Nominet for success, and an approach rooted in a realistic, pragmatic assessment of the complex landscape we are operating in.

    I realise that there are other, more specific concerns. We’ll be addressing as many of those as we can in the coming weeks, too.

    For members considering their own views, I hope you’ll give us a chance to communicate our plans and perspective before firmly making up your mind.

    My second reflection is about the tone of the debate that I hope we can have in the coming weeks.

    In thinking about concerns and motives, I realised how important it is that we all recognise our common desire for Nominet’s success. While we might differ on the best way to achieve that, it’s vital to acknowledge that we have at least one thing bringing us together.

    I’m conscious that there has been a level of dissatisfaction among some members for a long time, indeed, in some cases back to the launch of the second level domain .UK. Perhaps as a result of the length of some of these disagreements, we all may have found ourselves approaching our interactions with the wrong tone.

    In order to make progress, that needs to change. I commit to playing my part to make that happen. Starting now.

    I appreciate that there are many other issues to discuss, and the Board and I intend to address as many as we possibly can. If you have questions or a different view, I hope you’ll let us know. I have no doubt that you will. And I hope all constituencies will be able to engage in a constructive way.

    I look forward to continuing the conversation.

    The post A word on tone and key choice appeared first on Nominet.

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  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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    articles.co.uk
     
  3. super-whois United Kingdom

    super-whois Active Member

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  4. SecNam

    SecNam Moderator Staff Member

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    You only get a House alarm after you have been broken into comes to mind.
     
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  5. Nigel United Kingdom

    Nigel Well-Known Member

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  6. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    "My second reflection is about the tone of the debate that I hope we can have in the coming weeks."

    I still reflect on the 'tone' set when the closure of the members' forum was announced, right in the flow of the AGM, without consultation with members, in an action which in my view was blatantly rude and deliberately provocative.

    I also reflect, before that, on the repeated failure to openly engage over many issues and questions raised on the forum. If the forum failed in terms of engagement, to a great extent this was because the vast majority of members felt 'What's the point?'

    What I'm reading from Russell here is damage limitation (a bit late for that) and a PR attempt to woo people to change their minds. Frankly, the growing calls for the EGM (and its motions) is because tone, and direction, have been problems for years. It's not about the EGM, as if *that* was the problem. It's about Nominet's fundamental direction, and problems which have been going on year on year.

    What Russell mainly needs to do in the coming weeks is not 'tell us' why we've got it wrong. He needs to listen and understand that unless policy and purpose and tone change, then he may have to reconcile himself to the 'fait accomplis' of new management and direction.

    Russell 'says' he wants to listen. That cannot just be window-dressing. There needs to be an apology and return of the Member Forum. There needs to be a proper member platform, with members themselves deciding what form that takes. There needs to be a reduction of large member voting caps from 3% to 1% or less. There needs to be an admission and apology for the way some large registrars were allowed to mass-register millions of zombie domains without registrant request or consent, in contravention of specific registrar rules that apply to the rest of us. On that subject, there needs to be an end to the symbiotic relationships and influence that seem to exist between Nominet and a tiny number of very large registrars. How is it right for a senior executive of a rival registry to sit on the UK registry's Board (no offence to a pleasant man, but it looks like a conflict of interest, even if the person recuses from formal decisions - it's just not right)?

    Most of all, Russell really needs to go beyond Project Fear. Sure there are digital terrorists. But Nominet is not GCHQ where *far* more credible and real expertise resides. At heart, Nominet is the UK's domain registration service. It doesn't need GoDaddy board members. It doesn't have to be some global player. It just needs to do its registry work efficiently, and provide a service to the UK. We're talking about strings of digits, and their management.

    The aim of Nominet should be service, not profit. It does not need to expand into electric cars and other technologies to achieve this. The UK's namespace does not belong to Nominet as a commodity to make profit out of (or a cashcow to subsidise other ventures - why should people pay more for domain names so Nominet can engage in arguably dodgy venture capitalism?). The UK namespace belongs to ALL the people who need it - for education, for health, for communities, for businesses, for information, for families and individuals.

    In my view, respectfully, Simon Blackler has called it exactly right. The UK namespace belongs to everyone, and my hope is that a new Board will lead to a simpler kind of stewardship in the public interest, not primarily be about the profits of the Company and its large industry associates.
     
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  7. DesD

    DesD Active Member

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    I had a short discussion with Simon Blackler at lunchtime.

    Now, I appreciate this is a key period for the Public Benefit campaign, but nevertheless, an open door policy at any time is refreshing.

    Contrast that with the 'anonymous' Nominet interference in the recent NED elections here on Acorn.

    Chalk and Cheese.

    And Cheese is what Russell Haworth is peddling above...but I don't think he'll find too many Mice in these fields.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2021
  8. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    I think Simon is an exemplar of a different style of management. I've found him incredibly open and responsive.

    Honestly, I think Russell's problems go back far beyond this EGM in terms of winning people over.

    To me he has a rather macho executive style, pushing through policies and decisions, on the assumption that in the ‘laissez-faire’ corporate world, you usually just get away with things in the end.

    This is where we are at. With people saying, actually, no.

    The UK namespace does not need to be subsumed in the corporate world. It does not have to be operated with a ‘for profit’ corporate mindset. It basically just needs to do its job properly.

    To me, the largest registrars have sometimes seemed like vultures from a wider corporate world, playing fast and loose, almost (it seemed to me at times) in collusion with Russell's management. And Nominet, seeking expansion and inclusion within that ‘big boys’ world, allowed them free access to do so.

    The EGM is happening in pursuit of a re-boot. A re-boot to a more modest, fundamental role of (non-profit) stewardship of this nation’s namespace. That is a privilege and it needs to re-focus on what the UK registry is really for, and who it’s for. It needs people less driven by US-style corporate management with its aspirations of expansion, its management speak, and the whole drab culture associated with it.

    Russell talks of ‘tone’. At this point, it’s actually about a whole different way of operating a registry. Tone and charm can be shiny veneers, behind which managers still push through their programmes, because they are determined to. Not sure that’s going to end well.
     
  9. DesD

    DesD Active Member

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    When you watch 'Suits' in the evening...

    upload_2021-2-5_17-19-53.png
     
  10. gregfindley

    gregfindley Well-Known Member

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    Not for profit vs. profit with a purpose, if you think of each decision they've made since changing that outlook, it's easy to see why there's been so much friction.
    YouTube link, 33m15s.
     
  11. bb99 United Kingdom

    bb99 Well-Known Member

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    Mark Wood: "... and it's working very well"

    lolz
     
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  12. webber

    webber Active Member

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    Talk about the wrong tone... Seriously Nominet!?
    large attachement.jpg
     
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  13. Siusaidh

    Siusaidh Active Member

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    Frankly, sending 575 separate pieces of paper when this could be sent securely by electronic means seems... as confrontational and high-handed as melodramatically closing the members' forum down in the middle of the AGM.

    I stand to be corrected if there were genuine reasons why this was done, but otherwise... change in tone... it doesn't look like it.

    Simon Blackler identifies the principal reason why the EGM needs to go ahead:

    The TRUST has gone.
     
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  14. gregfindley

    gregfindley Well-Known Member

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    Their timing for this and publishing the blog post couldn't have been more out of sync!