back to article As internet governance meetings go virtual, compromise becomes harder to reach

The move to virtual meetings among internet governance bodies has had mixed results, according to Joyce Chen, a senior advisor for strategic engagement at the Asia-Pacific internet registry APNIC. Writing on the APNIC Blog, Chen said that APNIC has recently been involved in numerous international meetings with the …

  1. Mike 137 Silver badge

    Entirely valid if not entirely unforeseen

    Compromise is not the only thing that's hard to reach. Productivity an quality can also suffer.

    Any form of discussion that eliminates spontaneous interaction is inefficient, as fast feedback contributes a lot to clarity and relevance. Online, one person at a time gets to hold the floor.

    As an extreme case of this, I contribute to standards development, the mechanism for which is isolated parties independently commenting on drafts, the accumulated comments being then filtered and summarised by editors. The results of this process are slow progress, mixed messages and inaccuracies. Elsewhere, I have participated in design meetings where ideas are interactively thrashed out, and these by comparison are efficient and effective.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "The lack of corridor diplomacy affects participants’ ability to network"

    So, not being able to quietly negotiate a special deal on the side is hampering international diplomacy. What is needed is the possibility, in Skype, Zoom et al, to click on a participant and open a private chat with them. When in a private chat, no other users can hear the two until they're done.

    What remains to decide is if the two can hear the others while they are chatting in private. Maybe a volume slider, so that they can be aware of the general goings-on.

    In any case, this is a programming issue that should not be too difficult to solve.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: "The lack of corridor diplomacy affects participants’ ability to network"

      Probably want two features: Corridor conversation (1-to-1) and Coffee machine machine (relaxed 2~5 random'ish participants).

    2. Mike 137 Silver badge

      Re: "The lack of corridor diplomacy affects participants’ ability to network"

      Yes Pascal

      However you still won't have the body language/subliminal signalling that drive effective conversation for those who are perceptive enough.

      The online presentation simply can't reproduce this. For those not perceptive enough, that will make no difference, but their interactions are by definition less effective anyway. We all know colleagues who never seem to be listening (even when they're not interrupting). But if you can't sense whether they're listening or not, your presentation will suffer even if they are.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: "The lack of corridor diplomacy affects participants’ ability to network"

      The problem with that feature is that the main meeting is still going on. Separate small conversations work when people are between meetings. For example, if my team has a meeting, I pay attention to it, and after it ends, I find the person I wanted to talk to separately and we have a chat while we walk back from the meeting room. I'm not ignoring the others.

      Existing videoconference software is perfectly capable of doing that, but it doesn't happen very often for a number of reasons. For example, I used to have conversations with the dev nearest me in the office. Some of these were pointless to productivity but I enjoyed them (I hope and think he did too). Some were useful to our project. Neither type happens very often, even though we have the ability to chat or call one another. I tend not to send messages because I'm not sure whether he's busy, something I can determine by looking at him in the office. I think it's similar here, with the added complexity that previous corridor conversations at a conference like this probably occurred between people who don't know one another very well.

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