ICANN Resolutions » Revised Expected Standards of Behavior
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Board hereby adopts the revised Expected Standards of Behaviors as they were posted for public comment on 16 May 2016, with slight modification for clarification.
Whereas, during and after ICANN55, the issue of certain community-member conduct toward one another has been raised in various sessions and lists.
Whereas, among other activities to address this issue, the Board authorized the posting for public comment a revised Expected Standards of Behavior to more fully address the issues.
Whereas, the majority of the comments received generally support the revisions.
Whereas, per resolution 2016.05.15.05, ICANN is in the process of working to retain an expert with experience in drafting and implementing relevant anti-harassment policies to assist in the development of a Community anti-harassment policy/procedure to be followed at ICANN Public Meetings.
Resolved (2016.06.25.16), the Board hereby adopts the revised Expected Standards of Behaviors as they were posted for public comment on 16 May 2016, with slight modification for clarification.
During and after ICANN55, the issue of certain community-member conduct toward one another has been raised in various sessions and lists, and the Board agreed to address this matter. In response, the Board confirmed and reiterated that ICANN's Board and staff take the issue of harassment or other improper conduct at its meetings very seriously. ICANN and members of the community share the goal of ensuring that ICANN community members are able to participate and contribute within an environment that does not tolerate discrimination and that remains free from harassment.
As an organization ICANN has robust internal policies regarding the issue, including mandatory training for staff and Board members. While ICANN community members are not bound to the same policies and rules as the ICANN Board and staff, ICANN does expect community members to adhere to certain Expected Standards of Behavior. The currently approved language of the Expected Standards of Behavior does not specifically address harassment, but does provide a set of high-level guidelines for interacting with one another.
The Board committed to look at whether the Expected Standards of Behavior could be revised to more directly address harassment. In furtherance of that commitment, the Board Governance Committee (BGC) proposed certain revisions to the language of the Expected Standards of Behavior, and the Board authorized those proposed revised Standards be posted for public comment. The public comment window opened on 16 May 2016 and closed on 25 June 2016.
As of 25 June 2016, we have received twelve comments, which the Board has considered (see https://forum.icann.org/lists/comments-expected-standards-revisions-16ma...). Below is a very brief summary of the comments that have been considered, which will be reflected in more detail in the Staff Report of Public Comment Proceeding, which will be posted shortly. In sum, eight commenters support the revisions to the Expected Standards of Behavior as posted for public comment (although we note that one comment has not yet been ratified). One commenter agreed the modifications to the Expected Standards of Behavior fit the purpose, but suggested that the definition be more limited to account for cultural differences. Other commenters have identified various terms and phrases within the Expected Standards of Behavior that they believe could be better defined, clarified, or reordered. Three of the commenters have expressly encouraged ICANN to continue working on an anti-harassment policy/procedure for the community. Finally, several of the commenters have also indicated that it is important to provide clear information about where to report violations of the Expected Standards of Behavior and how those violations will be addressed.
The Board thanks the commenters for their views. At the outset, the Board wants to remind community members that the Board has specifically directed the organization to work with the community to help develop an anti-harassment policy/procedure.
Resolved (2016.05.15.05), the Board hereby directs the President and CEO, or his designee(s), to retain an expert, as appropriate, with experience in drafting and implementing relevant anti-harassment policies to assist in the development of a Community anti-harassment policy/procedure to be followed at ICANN Public Meetings, which could include items such as complaints handling and resolution and enforcement processes.
See https://www.icann.org/resources/board-material/resolutions-2016-05-15-en.... As directed, ICANN staff is in the process of following the Board's direction. That work is in progress and it is anticipated that a proposal will be provided to the community for further discussion in the coming weeks. The Board anticipates that the policy will include the clarity of definition, as well as complaint and enforcement mechanisms, that commenters suggest is still needed.
Given that the majority of the commenters support the revisions to the Expected Standards of Behavior as presented, and the goal is to be as broad in definition as possible to make clear that there is zero tolerance for the conduct addressed in the revised Expected Standards of Behavior, the Board has determined to adopt the revised Expected Standards of Behavior as they were posted for public comment, with one slight clarification. The Board notes that the Expected Standards of Behavior are meant to be high level, and general statements about how ICANN participants should treat each other, and they are admittedly not meant to be formal policies of conduct with defined actionable consequences. However, the Board will evaluate the suggestion that there be clear direction on how and where to report any transgression to the other Expected Standards of Behaviors listed. Further, as noted above, we expect that many of the comments indicating that some of the terms contained in the revised Expected Standards of Behavior could be better defined or clarified are better addressed in the policy that is still under development, as commenters have suggested, rather than in the Expected Standards of Behavior document itself. The Board will also look at whether to require folks to affirmatively agree to the Expected Standards of Behavior as one commenter suggested. However, the Board wants to emphasize that all who participate in ICANN activities are already subject to the Expected Standards of Behavior and the Board will look for ways to better socialize awareness of them.
With respect to the comment about accounting for cultural differences, the Board notes that this is an important consideration, and expects that any evaluation of conduct that might be challenged will certainly take those differences into account.
As noted above, the public comment forum closed on 25 June 2016. The Board also would like to acknowledge the Intellectual Property Constituency's request for additional time to submit its comments, and appreciates its desire to be heard. While the Board will welcome the IPCs comment, the Board felt it important to adopt the revised Expected Standards of Behavior as soon as possible. The Board also reiterates that there is more work to be done and that work is in progress. We expect that any further suggestions the IPC may have will be considered with the upcoming work ahead on the community anti-harassment policy/procedure, as applicable.
It is not anticipated that the decision to adopted revised Expected Standards of Behavior will have any fiscal impact on ICANN, and it will not have any impact on the security, stability or resiliency of the domain name system.
This decision is an Organizational Administrative Function that has already completed the public comment process.