Why is it that stupid people love to hear the sound of their own voice? As a voting member of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA, pronounced see-ra), I attended a meeting to amend the bylaws and the Letters Patent. From the outset, the organization had not provided enough explanation of the changes and the reason behind them, since there were many questions about exactly what was intended. As Bernie Turcotte (President and CEO of CIRA) noted, it was interesting that the members trusted the board from day-to-day, but now that they were suggesting amendments to the bylaws they were no longer trusted.

While I was in favour of the amendments, I admit that I didn’t necessarily understand all of them and hadn’t read all of the complementary information provided. The 3 major points that provoked ire were the make-up of the board of directors and the make-up of the nomination committee (nominating people for election to the board), in the bylaws, and the extended “power” given in the Letters Patent.

What really bothered me was that without really understanding the issues and without reading the background information, people were still happy to voice irrelevant concerns. One big concern that someone raised was that there are all kinds of rules for diversity within the nomination committee, but none for the elected board of directors. Yeah. Of course. The membership elects the board. The nomination committee can only put diverse people on the ballot, it’s the membership that then actually elects the board. If the membership elects 12 males of western European ancestry, so be it. It’s not exactly democratic to dictate to the electorate who they must elect. At the same time, only 4 board members are elected each year, the nomination committee only puts 5 names on the ballot, and only 3 of those people get elected. The 4th board member is elected from a list of nominees submitted by the membership, which may be a list of 100 people (there is no maximum).

And throughout all this, I got to hear all kinds of people spew all kinds of nonsense about all kinds of concerns that were completely unfounded or just generally conspiracy theory. I didn’t stay for the vote on the amendment to the Letters Patent, since the meeting was scheduled to be over at 6:30pm and I left at 8pm … the amendment had still not come to a vote. They had not even finished the discussion of the motion.