NCUC Onboarding Program – Welcome Letter

Dear New Member:

Thank you for joining the Noncommercial Users Constituency (NCUC)!

As you may know, the NCUC is the home for civil society organisations, public interest groups, and individuals in ICANN’s Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO). The GNSO is the place where different stakeholders are represented in ICANN’s activities and develop consensus policies for governing generic top-level domain names (gTLD) like .com, .net, and .org.

You are now a part of the ICANN community, so we would like to provide you with enough context to understand what we stand for, and to lay the foundation for deeper learning so that you can become an active participant in our work. Over the coming weeks, we will introduce you to the nuances that surround the fascinating work that we do and provide you with a ‘birds eye view’ of the various issues we are working on and how they relate to issues inside and outside of the ICANN ecosystem. We were all new here at one time, and we understand how difficult it can be to build a solid foundation of knowledge to become an active ICANNer. That said, once a week for the next seven weeks we will email you some tips and insights that we hope will make it easier for you to participate in our work and to have an immediate impact of your own.

On a lot of the topics we advocate for there are no universally-agreed definitions or perspectives, and there is certainly no one prescribed manner of analysing an issue. Given the global dimension of Internet governance, we believe it helps to think of issues more in terms of ‘shared understandings’ of what our values represent. At the NCUC we are a bunch of different actors working together to achieve a common goal: to protect and support non-commercial communication and activity on the Internet, including personal and political speech, research and educational communication, and expression about hobbies, interests and ideas.

Help and guidance is on hand to help you find a path to involvement within our activities. To that end, we would like to know more about you (if you are an individual member) and/or your organization (if you have joined us under organizational membership)! This information will be used solely to help us to connect you with mentors, working groups, and activities that we think will be of interest. Please note that answers will not be posted publicly.

* Please share with us more about your background (your background and your organization’s background). What experiences you would like us to know about?

* What issues, concerns, and hopes bring you (and your organization) to ICANN? How do you see the NCUC within this panorama?

* What are your (and your organization’s) areas of interest and expertise? Technical, legal, research, advocacy, communications, others? ICANN needs them all!

* Do you know about any of the current working groups, working parties, or other activities that are taking place at ICANN? Have you joined any already, or are there any that you are interested in joining? (We are here to help you navigate and identify potential areas of interest. So don’t feel pressured if you haven’t made up your mind yet, or are unsure of where you might be able to engage more closely.)

* We have three “policy development process” working groups now developing rules for the ICANN community and the Domain Name System. Do any of these interest you? If so, please check one or more of the boxes.

– Rights Protection Mechanisms Working Group – the rules that created the Trademark Clearinghouse, Uniform Rapid Suspension and Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (domain name allocation and revocation procedures). This is a good entry point if you have knowledge of or interests in intellectual property.

– Registration Directory Services Working Group – looking at the rules for collection of domain name registration data (which today includes the name, address, phone number, and email address of every registrant), and the future of its collection, publication, and availability to those with a desire and/or need. This is a good entry point if you advocate for or are interested in privacy and data protection.

– New gTLD Subsequent Procedures Working Group – researching and writing the ‘rules of the road’ for the next round of new generic top-levels domains (the new ‘applicant guidebook’ for the next round of new gTLD allocations is expected to open in 2020).

Please forward your responses to this email address: Participation is optional, and a friendly reminder – if you do reply, we will not post your answers publicly.

We know that it might seem like the landscape here within the NCUC and ICANN might be difficult to navigate. It is, but it is not impossible and will start to make more sense soon. We want to help you too. Please reach out to us with your questions, concerns, comments, and feedback: Our mentors check this inbox periodically and are on-hand to help you assimilate into our community and into the various working groups.

Best wishes,
NCUC Chair & NCUC Onboarding Team