Whether you have expertise in an area of GNSO deliberation, or a driving interest in it, or both, you can become part of the solution by volunteering to join a GNSO Working Group or Drafting Team.
To know when the GNSO is calling for volunteers to form a Working Group or Drafting Team, watch the Announcements page on ICANN’s web site (these also show up on the ICANN.org home page), or watch the GNSO’s own home page. Calls for volunteers show up there regularly. Finally, you can also learn of groups forming by reading about them in the monthly Policy Update. Sometimes it may be possible to join a group already in progress, but doing so would require you to catch up with the work, research, and discussion the group has already covered. Your best opportunity is to join a group as it is forming.
The Active Projects portion of the GNSO web site is designed to offer users a chronological view of the documents associated with each of the current Working Group and Drafting Teams created by the GNSO Council. Once the Council formally adopts a Charter regarding a specific effort, a dedicated page appears in this section of the web site.
In general, anyone can join a GNSO Working Group or Drafting Team. When you learn of a group you want to join, the general procedure to follow is:
In addition to attending meetings, you may be asked to assist in specific tasks such as researching an issue, managing a survey, or drafting a report. Examples of member responsibilities include:
You should be aware that all Working Groups are normally expected to operate under the principles of transparency and openness, which means that mailing lists are publicly archived, meetings are normally recorded and/or transcribed, and the public will be able to listen to or read your contribution. This is how the public can hold ICANN accountable for its work.
Each Working Group is unique. Most meet either once a week or once every other week. Some work under a tight deadline of mere weeks; others might persist for more than a year. The “Call for Volunteers” announcement will usually indicate the scope of expected service. No one can force you to take on more work than you choose to.
To be clear, Working Groups address tough issues and require a high level of collaboration with people of all types and cultures. You will probably enjoy the work more if you stick to areas of particular interest, and seek to participate in no more than a moderate number of groups. As a volunteer, you will also gain greater insight into how Internet policy is formed; a keen awareness of near-future developments that affect users worldwide; and an opportunity to meet volunteers of similar interest from many different countries.
Further details on how Working Groups are expected to function can be found in the GNSO Working Group Guidelineswhich are part of the GNSO Operating Procedures.