I would like to share some considerations about the status of the Association.
First of all, the numbers: as you can see on our web site https://individualusers.org/our-members-community/ we have 79 members and 5 observers. These numbers are by far the highest across RALOs.
Besides the numbers, we should note that among our members we have people that are very active in the ICANN community, and also people in leadership positions, including ICANN Board and PTI Board.
So we can say that our Association, thanks to our members, is playing an important role in the ICANN community, and in particular for the At-Large. But we must ask ourselves one question: what does our Association for favouring and supporting the participation of our members? In short, are we providing an added value to the sum of individualities of our members?
My personal answer is no. I would love to be proven wrong, but there is not much that we add, as organization, to the achievement of our members, with the possible exception of the simple fact that we provide a “home” for them that they may not find in other parts of the ICANN community.
The follow up question is whether we should provide more – or whether what we do is just what is expected from us. Corollary question is whether our members had expectations that were not fulfilled by joining our association. In other words, is there something that we should do, or at least do better, in order to provide an added value?
Once we have an answer to the questions above, we will be better placed to figure out the implications for our current way to operate. For instance, what role and purpose has the web site? What should be the content of it, in order to make it an useful tool rather that being just a repository – and not even timely updated – for information about our Association? Actually, do we really need to have a web site or will this be a wasted effort? Also our internal mailing list does not seem to be very active. With the requirement of having all EURALO Individual Members subscribed to the public EURALO discuss list email@example.com do we still need a list for our members? I personally believe we still do, but would like to hear the opinion of the members. And there are even more questions that we should ask ourselves – but first of all we must understand the role that we have as an association for individual members.
I believe that time is ripe for a change. Since the early days in which our founding members started this initiative much has changed. For instance, the need for having individual members to provide additional resources for achieving the At-Large goals has been recognised. A working party has been tasked to formulate recommendations to formalise participation of individual users and to mobilise more resources from the user community worldwide. The UIM-WP – see https://community.icann.org/display/atlarge/Unaffiliated+Individuals+Mobilization+Working+Party – has produced these recommendations, approved by ALAC in March 2021. We are still struggling to having them implemented, but besides formal implementation I believe that this is the time for rethinking our structure – so our 2022 General Assembly is happening at the right moment.
I will send in a separate message a reminder of the requirements for RALO Individual Members – this is the formal title that is given to individual users – but can anticipate that there is nothing that would sound “strange”. All requirements are what could be reasonably expected. However, it is good to have a wide discussion so that there is a full understanding of the new rules.