Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet

Portrait Of ICANN Chairwoman Esther Dyson 86

Posted by jamie
from the in-charge-of-the-internet dept.
ContinuousPark writes "The NY Times has an article on Esther Dyson's difficulties heading ICANN, some of them deriving with her inability to do politics, a much needed thing when you have individual and civil interests on one side and huge commercial ones on the other. Although the article praises her enormous intellectual capacity, it also has EFF's Mike Godwin saying: 'I think that there is a dimension of being a political being that involves going out and getting hands on and dealing with individuals. I don't think she is terribly comfortable with that. I think she is democratic in principle but not entirely democratic in practice.' Is Dyson recklessly ignoring politics or is she maybe redefining them?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Portrait Of ICANN Chairwoman Esther Dyson

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    click here. [pigdog.org]

    To qoute: "And you have to stop meeting behind closed doors, too. It's dark in there and there might be spiders."

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Perhaps you see why I'm posting as AC, perhaps you don't... hope it's the latter :-)

    As I see it, unwillingness to kiss ass is to be applauded, not snubbed. The oh-so-wise reporter must have given the corporate lobbyists hell of a laugh by swallowing it all up and wiping their asses afterwards.

    There are people who are excellent administrators because of their ability to focus on the important and leave the snivelling rats to their fight over the crumbs; their excellence isn't neccessarily appreciated by reporters like this but it is certainly regarded highly by their peers.

    Oh, the hell with it. I'm being too harsh. I apologise :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    And in his rush to name drop, Russ has missed the most obvious answer: she's not particularly smart, she's just smarter than him.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:21AM (#1141548)
    Jon Postel of the IANA (until he died) was a unique leader. He did things based on what was best for the net, and the politicians and corps and special interests be damned. A true academic mind. His death has resulted in chaos at the top of the internet (i.e., where are the new TLDs? .web, etc. What is the plan for rolling out IPv6 and mandating the switchover [since it won't happen otherwise] Why are all the new registrars only located in WIPO-signatory nations?)
  • I'm sure Esther Dyson is a very intelligent person. But I also think she's hardly in a position to represent the interests of "the common person" in the ICANN. She's the very rich daughter of a very rich and famous physicist who went to Harvard not to get an education but to make connections, and has basically used her social status and name recognition to get where she is. Based on her writings and pronouncements, which haven't always been very impressive, I'm at a loss to understand why "the digerati" (blech) treat her as some kind of Hari Seldon of the internet.

    At any rate, it doesn't surprise me that she's not a very good leader of ICANN. She's probably so used to people automatically kowtowing to her that she has no patience for anyone questioning her dictates. It's not that she's "redefining politics" or any of that babble ; she's simply not equipped to deal with people that question her marching orders. It's a classic case of a spoiled child throwing tantrums, and the only reason she's being treated otherwise is that people are still afraid to say anything negative about her.

    --
    "Today's children need guidance. And nothing gets a bigger response out of kids than a list of rules hung on a wall."
  • Let's face it, we don't get treated to descriptions of Stallman and Torvaaldes' dress sense and grooming.

    Perhaps you don't. I have seen quite some of these. In addition to Stallman's ever-popular T-Shirts and hair style (kind of like Samson's, I suppose), I have seen more than one article commenting on Linus' fine sense of style, in particular his excellent combination of white socks with sandals.

  • by jd (1658) <imipakNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:20AM (#1141551) Homepage Journal
    Ignoring politics is not "reckless", unless you are alergic to knives in the back. The problem, though is not with the ignoring, but with the politics. Anything that exists on the basis of power over others, de facto domination, control, manipulation, double-talk, illusions, might makes right, power-play and corruption deserves a good, solid kick in the teeth.

    Personally, though, I don't care if the ICANN chairwoman is a human-o-phobe (although, anyone with a knowledge of history probably should be!), an isolationist, a survivalist, or a martian. What I care about is whether ICANN works, and it's shown little sign of it, so far.

  • Why are all the new registrars only located in WIPO-signatory nations?

    It'll ease the adoption of treaties governing Internet connectivity, and allowing countries that don't adopt and enforce uniform IP laws to be disconnected from the Internet. Otherwise Libya or someone would set up a bomb-proof data haven, fill it with servers and allow anyone to download Microsoft Office and MP3s.
  • Citing a definition that happens to be based at a website doesn't mean that the person learned the meaning of the word from that website.

    Your arrogant and sarcastic tone isn't becoming. I'd suggest you drop it and stick to the facts.
  • If I'm not mistaken E.D.'s latest incarnation is as a VC <venture capitalist>. Isn't this a conflict of interest or do we not care about who's interest is served in the standards process anymore.If I'm wrong and E.D. is not a VC and doesn't have a stake in seeing that some standards are more standard than others then I retract everything.
  • Well... no, it's called "hedging your bets" and it's anything but new. Take any tech analyst firm and ask them whether you should deploy W2K (just an example). You'll get both answers. The logical consequence of this is that a) they can't be wrong, but b) they don't tell you anything new you already didn't know.

    Result: analysts are only brought in when someone who can afford them doesn't have the majority of people behind him/her and wants to "change the tide". Soooo.. all this money is wasted and so-called analysts get rich as a natural by-product of management squabbling!

    I ignore these types of articles, for the most part.. the few times that I do notice them I either hold them to be contemptuous BS or completely irrelevant. If a company is so desperate so that they actually take these people seriously (as opposed to the aforementioned 'political reasons') then they need to hire a few engineers NOW.

  • No, those skills are collectively referred to as "persuasion". Arm twisting, compromises, strong-arming, CYA maneuvering, manipulating, persuading, etc. are examples of getting things done without "politicing". Politicing IMO is more about hierarchal organizations, obedience / authority and the always-present "I'm better than you are attitude". Politicing to me is the opposite of the cooperative anarchy that is typical between peer groups (and 'net communities like the so-called open source and free software communities).
  • News flash: Not serving in public office or contributing in any way to the day to day politic'ing that goes on in, say, your office is generally indicative of a normal, well-adjusted individual. It's only the wierd ones that develop a taste for politics and pursue it, hence the popular quote "Every now and then an innocent man is sent to congress".

    Hell, I say we erect a statue for the lady - she resisted every attempt to become political in the face of incredible odds - a tribute to how sane this person is! =)

  • So wait...are you saying that women _have_ to read radical feminist literature? How, my ex- girlfriend would be the first to mention that she doesn't "HAVE" to do anything.

    Sigh...perhaps an isolated case. :)

    -buffy
  • Dyson continually strikes me as someone who is used to getting her way and being in charge. Which is fine in and of itself, I suppose, but when trying to create a defacto non-governmental "government", being dismissive of (if not outright assholic in response to) people's concerns is the wrong temperament to have. Given what ICANN is at least in theory supposed to become, for it to be headed by someone who looks upon what is essentially her constituency with a kind of derision, and with a disdain for doing anything to reflect accountability to that constituency is boneheaded in the extreme.

    She can feel like she's right all the time if she wants to. But in what needs to be treated as a role representing the Internet community, she needs to learn how to not respond to questions or criticisms with comments like the one she made in Cairo, dismissing questions and criticism as mere annoying complaints distracting her from the real work at hand.

    Sorry, Esther, but if you're representing a community of people, part of your real work is listening to their criticisms and even complaints with respect, not scorn and ridicule. If you can't do that, you need to step down.

  • by panda (10044) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:50AM (#1141560) Homepage Journal

    Steve Gilliard has a piece over at Net Slaves [disobey.com], called "Who watches the Guardians." It is about Esther D. and paints an unlovely portrait. I suggest you all read it before your boners get too hard for her.

    I, for one, agree with Steve G. She's the last person I want running the ICANN. In fact, I want no one running it, 'cause you can't really trust anyone with that much power. Well, I might trust myself, but you probably wouldn't. :-)

    Esther has too much money involved and she's too cozy with Technology CEOs to be trusted with this position. Just read her book, RELEASE 2.0, and you'll read what I'm talking about. It's just filled with all the names of all these companies and CEOs that she's involved in. She's also not a very technical person, and you get that from her book, not just 'casue Steve G. says so.

  • by mengmeng (11008) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:24AM (#1141561)
    But in the "real world", you have to be able to "politic" if you want to get things done. Politics doesn't have to be about taking and giving bribes or the other nasty things usually associated with it. If you can't interact well with others, it doesn't matter how intelligent you are, nobody's gonna listen to you.
  • "No, you have a democracy in the sense that it's commonly understood."

    No, it's a floor wax AND a desert topping!


    Bad Mojo
  • What I care about is whether ICANN works, and it's shown little sign of it, so far.

    What is your basis for saying ICANN isn't working? Are you just assuming it isn't working because you've read a few headlines stating it isn't working?

    I'd like to hear a fully stated case supporting the statement "ICANN isn't working" including a defintion of what ICANN's goals and working procedures are.

    Without supporting what I'm saying I could just as easily say that ICANN is doing a competent job considering the hostile and agressive activities of those opposed to ICANN. A fundemental lack of cooperation and active "monkey wrenching" by other parties is slowing down ICANN progress, but ICANN itself is not to blaim.

    As with all things, the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

  • by jabber (13196)
    Dyson is proof of that. Under her leadership, ICANN has achieved a great deal - without the benefit of schmoozing, back-patting, playing opponents off each other, or making campaign contributions.

    Then again, I'm presuming that THIS is what you mean by 'being able to "politic"'... If you mean "politicing" to be explaining to people the facts and the consequences of choices, then I stand corrected - and Dyson is a great politician.
  • From what I know of Esther, this is perfectly normal for her. She's obviously an intelligent woman, but she doesn't seem to recognize the limits of her expertise, and ends up getting into situations where she ends up doing more harm than good.

    Case in point, back in 1997, Dyson, who has NO experience in the anti-spam community, shot her mouth off about the spam problem [zdnet.com] and proposed a "solution" to it. Had she actually spent more than two seconds thinking about her "solution", or actually posting it to one or more anti-spam forums [claws-and-paws.com] and asking for comments, she would have found that it's something that most anti-spammers don't see as being viable. But nooo, she didn't do that, she evidentally thought she knew more than everyone else, including those of us who have been dealing with spam for years, and the media blindly quoted her as though she were some anti-spam guru, which she's not.

    I apologize for sounding bitter and turning this post into a rant, but dammit, it annoys me to no end when people don't think, and their short-sighted actions set back the efforts of an entire community. Dyson is in serious need of a clue.

    <gets off his soapbox>

  • (is the truth half way between the flat-earth crowd and the spherical-earth crowd? What sort of shape is that?)
    Um, I guess its a roughly spherical object slightly flattened at the poles. Of course we all know the earth isn't really shaped like that. Right?
    --Shoeboy
  • I invite you to visit ICANNWatch [icannwatch.org] for details on what's wrong with ICANN.

    P.S. To say that "the truth lies somewhere in the middle" is to (1) allow "truth" to turn on how extreme participants happen to be; (2) ignore the possibility that there is real truth (is the truth half way between the flat-earth crowd and the spherical-earth crowd? What sort of shape is that?)


    A. Michael Froomkin [mailto],
    U. Miami School of Law,POB 248087
    Coral Gables, FL 33124,USA
  • Christ, this year's crop of unthinking sexist slashbots is even denser than last year's

    Congratulations on sinking to the level of ad hominems. Do you generally assume that people who don't agree with you are stupid, or is it only if they happen to be men?

    It's true that much of patriarchal culture is based on the fiction that men are somehow more 'powerful' than women. To sustain this, men are encouraged to pretend they have more power than they do.

    So we have generations of men, busy trying to hide the fact that they are just as confused and vulnerable at times as everyone else. Whereas women are encouraged to hide their power and their intellect from the world, especially so as not to spook the men.

    Sadly, some women learn to hide their power so well, they even manage to hide it from themselves and then assume it must be the men who 'stole' it, and who they must be revenged upon.

    The simple truth is that Patriarchy doesn't work for men or women and I don't like it anymore than you do. But bashing men to express your anger isn't going to change anything.

  • If I recall correctly, that was Esther Schindler.
  • Um, I've seem plenty of articles about Stallman that mentioned his hair and beard and blue jeans. I think it's part of the "this isn't your normal business/political-type" but it is getting a bit tired.

    BTW, the author of the article is female (I know, that doesn't necessarily prove anything but still...)

    ======
    Webmasters: get a Free Palm Pilot [jackpot.com] for referring 25 signups.

    ========

  • by .@. (21735) on Monday April 10, 2000 @11:28AM (#1141571) Homepage
    you're kidding, right? "isn't screwing anyone over".

    The UDRP. The request to WIPO to come up with a list of famous marks that will be a priori excluded from the existing and future namespace. The over-regulation of IPv6space as regards address allocation. The entire constituency model. The introduction of the GAC. The repeated, blatant, and unremorseful overstepping of power and authority boundaries. Top-down rather than bottom-up governance. The "ICANN by-laws of the week" game they play, with retroactive alteration of the by-laws to suit their needs. Their refusal to relinquish power. Their refusal to allow individuals to have any say in the process. Their catering to big corporate and Intellectual Property interests.

    Either your statement was meant in jest, or you're not well-informed of ICANN's actions.
  • by .@. (21735) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:53AM (#1141572) Homepage
    Esther Dyson was one of several people hand-picked by an unknown group and handed ICANN by Becky Burr and the US Dept. of Commerce. Nobody knows by what process Dyson was chosen, or who did the choosing.

    Dyson and the other initial ICANN Board of Directors have demonstrated a distinct lack of ability to work in the open, to accept input in a bottom-up fashion, and to understand the technical aspects of the entity about which they are supposed to make decisions.

    Now, in Cairo, The ICANN Board of Directors, led by Esther Dyson in this matter, decided to scrap the General Assembly process by which 9 new, individual ICANN Directors would be named, and decided to eliminate 4 of them.

    Their reasoning? Becuase they're afraid of handing over control to people who "don't understand the Internet". A sad comment indeed, coming from a Board with a vested financial interest in the outcome of decisions related to namespace and IP-space, who do not have even a rudimentary understanding of that which they govern, except perhaps for Vint Cerf.

    The ICANN Board of Directors was supposed to be completely elected and the original people, Dyson included, removed by September of 1999. Dyson and her cohorts have repeatedly voted themselves more years as ICANN Directors, and have both refused to relinquish control to any form of elected body, and have refused to run ICANN in the grassroots, bottom-up, narrow technical matter that the contracts with the US Government require.

    That ICANN continues to exist at all is miracle, and a nightmare. That Dyson was chosen as figurehead for it and continues to lend her name to it says volumes about her character.


  • Haven't you read any of her crap? Then you'd know -

    Esther's no geek.

  • Where have all the hackers gone,
    long time coding...
    Where have all the hackers gone,
    long time ago.
    Where have all the hackers gone,
    gone to Heaven everyone...
    When will they ever learn,
    when will they ever learn?

    Corporate interests will eventually drive us all into the status of ham-radio operators. Will you still be around? Is your detication strong enough? Or will you start watching ZDTV? :)
  • Gee, this doesn't jibe with my experience of Estie. She's either smart, or else she knows how to fake it (unlike you).
    -russ
  • Clever, but not wise.
    -russ
  • Let's give you a taste of your own medicine.

    Dyson is a woman, she fails to meet the narrow standards demanded of women, therefore she cannot be treated as a human.

    You're actually saying that the NYT are treating her as subhuman. Come on, that's ridiculous. I know some men are really like this, but the article doesn't support that claim. Describing what someone looks like, in the eye of a certain beholder, does not amount to treating them as subhuman.

    By stark contrast, you pointedly ignore how Richard Stallman is treated. Oh, so it's just par for the course if Stallman is mocked for his looks, but if a women is mocked for her looks (and for God's sake, don't women mock each other for their looks often enough!!) - it's automatically evidence of misogyny? How blinkered and biased is that!

    Much of what passes for feminism is obscurantist nonsense, in my experience. "Transcending patriarchical reason" and all that nonsense.

    The trouble is, you get a rebound effect, where feminists go too far and take on the attributes of the oppressors (and even in some cases become the oppressors, ironically).

  • Unfortunately, people think you have to be a politician to make a change around here. It's quite a shame, because I'm sure that there are plenty of brilliant people who have brilliant ideas but can't deal with people at all... I suppose that's what separates the great leaders from the not-so-great, but maybe it isn't always fair...
    But an Internet democracy? Gimme a break...
  • Unlike you, I am aware of the meaning of the word "misogynistic" without having to visit a lame website. And it is used in feminist theory to refer to patriarchal discourse aimed at marginalising women and removing them (treating them, if you will, as Other) from the main field of discourse.

    This is a bit offtopic, but what the hell: What is it with these intellectual frauds who insist on deliberately misusing vocabulary to buttress their (generally weak) arguments? For hundreds or years, the word "misogyny" has had a commonly argreed upon meaning, and that meaning is more or less what was described in the previous post. If the word you're searching for doesn't gibe with that definition it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the definition, it means you're using the wrong word!

    But of course, this dichotomy of meaning is the whole point: The offending author gets to water down the definition of the charge to fit their needs, while the average reader understands the word to mean something far more serious: "Oh my! Person X is misogynist!" vs. "Oh my! Person X pointed out that Esther Dyson dresses inappropriately for a highly powerful posistion!". It would be funny if not for the Orwellian parellels.

    But this is half-stepping: Why not take this practice to its ultimate conclusion: "In the context of antithetical theory analysis the word "wrong" is posited to mean correct. For this reason it is impossible to disagree with me. I win."

  • I wish I had some moderator points to give you.
  • No, you have a democracy in the sense that it's commonly understood.

    The only reason people think we have a democracy is that they don't understand the difference between a democracy and a republic. A democracy is where the majority votes its own government. A republic has some kind of intermediary, voted on by the public, that provides the government. However, a republic generally implies some sort of system to check the power of the elected, setting the boundaries of power, etc.

    Walt
  • The problem with Esther Dyson is Esther Dyson. The truth is: she's just not that smart. The emperor has no clothes. She happened to be in the right place at the right time and somehow made herself "relevant" - to whom I've never been quite sure.

    Her last book was completely devoid of content. I think there as been such a push to put a woman in power someplace that they just grabbed the one who's the most adept at self-promotion and not one of the many strong women who could be in this position. Not that I think that the person's sex matters here in any way.

    The sooner Dyson goes away the better.
  • Unfortunately, one of the things which happened very early on is that a lot of the crazies from the black helicopter club started attacker both ICANN and Dyson on a number of public mailing lists, including the IETF list. This caused more reasoned people who had their concerns about ICANN to get lumped with the crazies, and so therefore a lot of people didn't care to speak up about potential shortcomings with the whole ICANN setup.

    That's probably the reason for the reluctance of people to speak negatively about Dyson, even now that it's been two years later, which the NY Times noted. It also had the unfortunate effect of isolating the Dysan and the ICANN board from constructive criticism which have helped them out, although it's not clear they're all that willing to listen (which was and is another problem).

  • If the female Esther Dyson were instead a male Lester Dyson, Lester would get less than 10% of the attention accorded to Esther.
  • Politics has roots in the Greek composition of demes into a larger society. The problem with this is the classic problem with conflicting demographics. In order get people identifying with the larger society, you have to manipulate the natural social identity of their deme. People don't need to identify with other clans/kindreds/tribes to engage in fair and reciprocal trade with them. It is only when the trade centers abuse their intermediating position by promoting ideology as a substitute for reciprocation that we get politics.
  • Anyone who's ever met Dyson or has sat in on meetings with her knows she's a no-nonsense individual who usually gets results. But the gist of the article, that she's not well versed in things political, is absolutely true. Intellects rarely have time for the niceties of typical social interactions, and Dyson is most certainly an intellectual.

    That has additional drawbacks as well. As others have already pointed out in this thread, intellectuals tend to think of their solutions as the most obvious and sensible, often without regard to other people's opinions. This gets the job done, but in a way that rarely is satisfying to anyone.

    Should she be a member of Icann? Probably, but she probably should not be its leader. She's competent in that role, but I don't think she excels in it. As the saying goes, Jack of all trades, master of none. She made her reputation in computers. Computers alone do not equal the Internet (people are a bigger part of it), and she's taken a while to learn that.
  • by slashdot-terminal (83882) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:17AM (#1141588) Homepage
    "Is it just me, or have I seen this phrase far too often relating to many endeavors in this internet age? Basically it translates, "so-and-so is really bad at something, but if it turns out that I'm wrong, then they're redefining it." "

    Well because of Bart's test answers we have changed history again. Now America was discovered in 1941 by Some Guy...
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:48AM (#1141589) Homepage Journal
    I wonder if that's the same Esther Dyson who used to hang with us Team OS/2 members back in the early 90's. She was cool.

    If I was her, I'd say "Screw you guys, I'm going home" and take her network home, install IPv6 on it, and start my own damn network. With hookers. And gambling. But that's just me.

    • No, those skills are collectively referred to as "persuasion". Arm twisting, compromises, strong-arming, CYA maneuvering, manipulating, persuading, etc. are examples of getting things done without "politicing".
    No, that is politics. See my previous post.
  • by Quintin Stone (87952) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:07AM (#1141591) Homepage
    There's more to the word "politics" than the passing of laws and the management of government bodies. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, it also refers to "[t]he often internally conflicting interrelationships among people in a society." As I'm sure you know, this is where the term "office politics" comes from.

    When used in this manner, saying someone doesn't know politics indicates they don't know how to make people happy without actually giving them anything substantial. And when you fail to make a lot of people happy, things simply don't get done. It may be admirable to lack this particular quality, but in reality authority figures who don't know politics are often doomed to fail.

  • Once again, the point is missed, and the Anonymous Coward (apt, that) must resort to insults.

    There is a difference between feminist literature, and literature written by women.


    --

  • See this post. [slashdot.org]


    --

  • I posted the link because you obviously didn't know what it meant, and I figured I would save you the time of looking it up for yourself.

    Dyson is a woman, she fails to meet the narrow standards demanded of women, therefore she cannot be treated as a human being. We, the New York Times, reserve the right to take one look at her and then dismiss her as "funny" because she is a woman. I think that counts as "hatred of women", don't you?

    Er, I think it's time to stop reading radical feminist literature, where any criticism of a woman is seen as hatred.

    Or do you think that woman are above criticism? It would seem so, based on your overreaction to this article.

    By the way, the article was written by a woman. I guess she's just been corrupted by the male-dominated world, and she feels she has to attack her "sistahs" in order to break through.


    --

  • Little, if any, feminist works are man hating.

    I suppose that depends on how you define "feminist". There is a difference between philosophy that happens to be written by a woman, and feminist philosophy. I define feminist literature as "glorification of women at the expense of men."

    How else can it be defined? You mention "masculinist" literature, but that's nonsense. Philosophy or literature does not have gender; it's either good and thought-provoking or it's not.

    Why do you think that only a small minority of women in surveys identify themselves as feminists? It's because the radicals have taken over what was once a legitimate movement. Now it's all about a bunch of angry, bitter women who still think a woman choosing to raise her children full-time is shameful and a betrayal of women everywhere.

    That's not to say that all reasonable women who happen to call themselves "feminists" are that way. But that's what the so-called leaders are.


    --

  • Are you so angry and bitter that you have to resort to quoting out of context? I guess it's easier for you to be a sexist that way.

    Just for the record, I made a distinction between "feminist literature" and literature written by women. The standard, as I pointed out, is whether it's good literature.

    Like it or not, your "leaders" have defined modern feminism exactly as I stated it. Take issue with them, not me.


    --

  • Look, you and others keep asking for "references", and I resist this for a simple reason: I can't win. If I name some resident wacko, then it'll simply get dismissed as "well, yeah, that women's a wacko, but she is not representative of feminists". This said...

    I'm talking about the Susan Faludis and Patricia Ireland's of the world, whom the media holds up as leaders of the movement. Why do you think that in surveys most women don't identify themselves as feminists? It's because the definition has been conscripted by the wacko extremists. "Gay" used to be a really useful word, but it was conscripted by the homosexual population and now the definition has changed.

    Again, don't blame me for the actions of the extremists who corrupted the word.

    You want an example? I'll give you one. Why is abortion a feminist issue? It should not be. The issue is split almost exactly down the middle among women whether abortion should be legal, yet the feminist "leadership" thinks it's a core "obvious" issue. Where is the intellectual freedom among feminists that allow a pro-life stance? How many pro-life speakers are invited to feminist rallys? That would be a big, fat zero.

    Of course, I could bring up NOW's support of Clinton's sexual predatory practices. I guess sexual harrassment is OK, as long as it's done by someone NOW likes. [Ted Kennedy, anyone?]


    --

  • by Tim Behrendsen (89573) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:17AM (#1141598)

    Most articles comment on Stallman's disregard for personal grooming. And Torvalds gets no comment, because his dress is not unusual.

    Her dress and mannerisms are commented upon because they are unusual for this political position, not unlike a lot of stories in the early days of dot-com companies about the notoriously informal dress of management. This story is specifically about her possibly being not the right candidate for the position, so of course her presentation is going to be fair-game.

    Your oversensitivity is the only problem here.

    And by the way, misogynistic [dictionary.com] means "Of or characterized by a hatred of women." Even if we grant that the NYT was mocking Dyson unfairly, that hardly qualifies as "hatred of women".


    --

  • by Tim Behrendsen (89573) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:30AM (#1141599)

    What many people don't realize is that a talent for politics is not automatically a bad thing. Politics is the art/science of administration and control of a governing entity.

    There is no question that the most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship. However, it's also the most unstable because it has the tendency to lose the "benevolent" part.

    Many "geeks" are attracted to the idea of a dictatorship when an acknowledged trusted, smart person is in charge. It feels right; "just let them get some work done, and keep the idiots out of the way!"

    However, if we're interested in a long-term stable organization, then it's necessary to sacrifice efficiency for stability. The stability comes from balancing power with smart people (with honest, different views), and the idiots (with different views, but also with power), and the people in middle are what we call politicians. They strive to balance the opposite forces, find consensus, and move things forward. There is a certain personality that is required to do this, and for the most part, geeks are rarely this type.

    Before everyone has a knee-jerk reaction that says, "be thankful we have a smart person in charge, and get all the other idiots out of the way," consider that this is fine in the short run, but is NOT desirable and not stable in the long run.

    I will resist the urge to use the FSF as an example of an organization damaged by too much dictatorship, and too little politics. :)


    --

  • by Tim Behrendsen (89573) on Monday April 10, 2000 @07:19AM (#1141600)

    But you have that luxuiry, not being a woman.

    No, I have that luxury because I am a thinking human being.

    You've obviously bought deeply into the victimology of women created by the self-appointed leaders of the feminist movement. I've got news for you: Their only purpose is to enhance their power at your expense.

    Is it more difficult for woman to succeed? Yes, but not even CLOSE to as difficult to what it was in the 60s. The feminist movement is, for the most part, obsolete. That's why the writing get shriller and shriller every year, because they need to generate as much hatred of men as possible in order keep the power base intact.

    You say this as if it were funny. It is not.

    I said it because I know a lot more about the victim mindset than you think. When you realize that it really is funny, and why, you will be able to go a lot farther in life, and be a lot happier besides.


    --

  • by TopShelf (92521) on Monday April 10, 2000 @06:00AM (#1141601) Homepage Journal
    "Is Dyson recklessly ignoring politics or is she maybe redefining them?"

    Is it just me, or have I seen this phrase far too often relating to many endeavors in this internet age? Basically it translates, "so-and-so is really bad at something, but if it turns out that I'm wrong, then they're redefining it."

  • Yes, you're right. I was just trying to be polite and not to jump to any conclusions on Esther Dyson's abilities to run ICANN.

  • by gargle (97883)
    Why does ICANN rule the internet? And who made Esther Dyson Queen of ICANN?

    I don't recall having any input in the process, and neither does anyone I know.



    ====
  • No, you don't. You have a Republic... The notion that the U.S. and other "free" countries are democracies was Cold War propaganda.

    No, you have a democracy in the sense that it's commonly understood.

    To get back on topic, ICANN strikes me a being an oligarchy, a rule by a select few... This is similar to how Communist systems actually ran (i.e. a central "Party"). This is ironic considering how capitalist friendly Dyson's perceived to be.

    A dictatorship. The natural state of things when the democratic process is missing.



    ====
  • That's why the writing get shriller and shriller every year, because they need to generate as much hatred of men as possible in order keep the power base intact.

    You don't seem to have read much feminist literature. Little, if any, feminist works are man hating. The justification for feminist literature is that it is necessary to compensate for what is essentially a male dominated world i.e. that standards works are basically pieces of masculinist literature.

    I think this is inadequate, and sure, feminist writings may be prejudiced in their treatment of men and women, but just as you kindly pointed out earlier that misogyny means "woman hating" and not just prejudice in general, similarly neither are feminist works in any way "man hating".


    ====
  • There is no question that the most efficient form of government is a benevolent dictatorship.

    Well I think there's plenty of question.

    Many "geeks" are attracted to the idea of a dictatorship when an acknowledged trusted, smart person is in charge. It feels right; "just let them get some work done, and keep the idiots out of the way!"

    Democracy doesn't require that everyone make decisions. That would be silly, since most people don't have the knowledge or ability to do so.

    Instead, democracies are set up so that people elect representatives. If the people in charge are supported by the public, if they prefer to have that group of people running things over any other group, then you have a democracy.

    So in the context of software "dictatorships", what you have is not a dictatorship, but a democracy i.e. Linus runs the show only because he has the support of the people.

    ====
  • I suppose that depends on how you define "feminist". There is a difference between philosophy that happens to be written by a woman, and feminist philosophy. I define feminist literature as "glorification of women at the expense of men."

    If you choose your definitions well enough, then there's no room for further debate.

    I've a friend who's taking a class on Orientalism (how the west perceives the east), and one of the assigned readings is a feminist text on how female authors during the period helped to break down the myth of the orient as a lush paradise of harems. This, I think, is a legitimate contribution by feminism (although there are of course problems).

    But I'm not here to praise or even defend feminism; I think there are problems with it. I'm here to point out that your earlier assertion that feminism is about male hating is nonsensical.

    ====
  • There is a difference between feminist literature, and literature written by women.

    Why do you persist in making unsubstantiated claims? You clearly have no clue but plenty of misconceptions about feminist writing. What a misogynist*.

    * Note that I'm deliberately misusing the term misogynist here, just as you're misusing the term feminist.

    ====
  • BTW I know a lot of women who don't read radical feminist literature, so obviously that's a luxury that both sexes can have. Chill out, you're making a fool of yourself. The article was written by a women, no one ever implied that a woman couldn't do the job. Just chill, there are plenty of other women kicking butt in this field (although we do need more)...
  • is that she is the interim chairwoman. I've seen a lot of people on here criticising the choice of Dyson as leader of the board. But I have yet to see anyone suggest another reasonable candidate.

    I understand that Dyson has made herself unpopular by some of her actions/comments during her tenure as interim chairwoman. I'm not too crazy about some of her comments myself. (The "people who are stupid" comment for example. I think if everyone wanted to vote for, say, CarrotTop, then he should be elected. :) But that's the risk when you're first starting an organization. Someone has to do the job, otherwise it will never get started. That's what she's there for, to set up the structure so that we can have elected officials (to complain about).

    I can think of a few people I would rather see in charge of ICANN. I'm not one of them. Frankly, I'm glad it's her job, because I wouldn't want it. Also, I'm also glad that she's making some mistakes; if she weren't, then I might be afraid of her. At least right now we know she isn't screwing anyone over - at least not very well. :) I'm sure I wouldn't do any better at that job, and I challenge anyone who says otherwise - if you think you can do better, quit talking and get out there and do something!
  • My point was that her actions are so blatently obvious that she isn't getting away with anything. I didn't mean she wasn't trying.
  • You have to agree with this part;

    "Many opposed the interim board's proposal to elect permanent members through an indirect process. But Dyson, the interim chairwoman, defended the policy of using an electoral council instead of letting the world's Internet users vote directly for their board representatives. That was the best way, she told the group, to prevent the nomination of "people who are stupid." "

    She must be familiar with the outcome of Slashdot polls.
  • From the sound of it, Esther Dyson can and is doing more than Martha Stewart. Or maybe I should say she's the Marth Stewart of the Internet? Or would that be too insulting (to Esther Dyson I mean).

    In some ways, the Godwin guy's right - it's a tough job, and it took someone like Esther Dyson to give the organization credibility. Too bad that she's now also treated as the goat.

  • No, you're wrong. But then again...
  • (Sorry about the previous AC post. I thought that I was logged in.)

    You've obviously bought deeply into the victimology of women created by the self-appointed leaders of the feminist movement. I've got news for you: Their only purpose is to enhance their power at your expense.

    Wow, that's a staggeringly broad statement. Do you have some references to back that up?

  • Like it or not, your "leaders" have defined modern feminism exactly as I stated it.

    References please.

    (And please find some that are relatively influential. By finding some nutcases, I could "prove" that Christians want to turn America into a version of Iran.)

  • Esther Dyson is the only person in the world who can log onto IRC and say "I 0wN j00" ... and be right?
  • by ekinnee (141255)
    Isn't this the woman from the IBM commercial with Gordy Howe and Stan Makita? The one they call the "Internet Guru"? The same one who had one line in the commercial and ends up showing how much of a "guru" she is by uttering, "The Intenet changes everything"?????
  • Esther Dyson has some point that direct election can lead to stupid people being chosen. I won't turn this into a political discussion by quoting examples, but I think everyone can find some examples just looking in the history books.

    Direct representation can lead to people being chosen because they have a lot of influence, money ("Vote for me and you get a free thingie!"), or because they are make use of scares and rethorics. ("Vote for me! I'm against kiddie porn!")

    This two stage mechanism is meant to provide some stability, but why should it only be used by corporate types? Protesters should forget the knee-jerk reaction about direct democracy and use this process to get themselves more influence. Convince Esther and her crew that you are not "stupid people" and get yourself a place in that structure.

    Inez{R}

    P.S. I won't protest the fact that the US appoints someone to overview something international. After all, it is probably the only way to get some results in a few years instead of in a few tens of years... [sigh]

  • Instead, democracies are set up so that people elect representatives. If the people in charge are supported by the public, if they prefer to have that group of people running things over any other group, then you have a democracy.

    No, you don't. You have a Republic... The notion that the U.S. and other "free" countries are democracies was Cold War propaganda.

    To get back on topic, ICANN strikes me a being an oligarchy, a rule by a select few... This is similar to how Communist systems actually ran (i.e. a central "Party"). This is ironic considering how capitalist friendly Dyson's perceived to be.

    --
    Des Courtney

  • the /. community will love her (even?) more after this article - If someone uncomfortable in interacting with other human beings can get to hold such a post as the one she holds in the first place, that means any guy with "huge intellectual capacity" who nevertheless does lack some social competence can as well.

    In other words: Yes, Joe Random Geek, you too can become a politician / talk show host / #prefered high status job involving every now and then having to talk to another person#

  • At 5 foot 3 and 47 years of age, Dyson is a wiry, almost elfin figure, with seeming disregard for the trappings of makeup and fashion. She keeps her hair short and simply cut. She scurries around her office and official meetings wearing socks without shoes. And she often wears faded blue jeans, typically accompanied by an oversized T-shirt.

    Let's face it, we don't get treated to descriptions of Stallman and Torvaaldes' dress sense and grooming. How much of this "friction" is due to Dyson, and how much of it is due to the fact that lots of self-styled "hackers" can't hack it when faced with an intelligent, articulate woman? And in either case, why can't the MY Times get rid of its annoying misogynistic habits?

  • whooooo, a link to dictionary dot com. Somebody get out the +1, informative moderation, quick.

    Unlike you, I am aware of the meaning of the word "misogynistic" without having to visit a lame website. And it is used in feminist theory to refer to patriarchal discourse aimed at marginalising women and removing them (treating them, if you will, as Other) from the main field of discourse. Dyson is a woman, she fails to meet the narrow standards demanded of women, therefore she cannot be treated as a human being. We, the New York Times, reserve the right to take one look at her and then dismiss her as "funny" because she is a woman. I think that counts as "hatred of women", don't you?

    Sadly, there is no "getridofyourtiredpatriarchalpreconceptions dot com", otherwise I could post a link and get +1, informative, too.

  • Er, I think it's time to stop reading radical feminist literature,

    Of course you do. But you have that luxuiry, not being a woman.

    By the way, the article was written by a woman. I guess she's just been corrupted by the male-dominated world, and she feels she has to attack her "sistahs" in order to break through.

    You say this as if it were funny. It is not.

  • So what would you say to the person who said on this very thread:
    I define feminist literature as "glorification of women at the expense of men."

    Christ, this year's crop of unthinking sexist slashbots is even denser than last year's

  • by meff (170550)
    Can't blame someone for trying something else, maybe it will work well ;)

    -meff
  • You know, I am getting a bit sick of all the abuses of freedom of speech that Slashdot tolerates. Freedom of speech does not mean "freedom to libel", or freedom to promote illegal warez trading [slashdot.org]

    You freedom loving zealots don't seem to have read your own constitution. Perhaps slashdot could set up some "basic educational links" from the home page so that under-educated 14-year old linux zealots could learn a bit more about the real world beyond their screens.

    It's almost as if the slashdot readership has no sense of social responsibility. They are too busy playing Quake, and downloading warez and pr0n to see the big picture.

    Sexism like this is not just unpleasant, it is in fact illegal. Just because it is posted on a web forum does not make it any more legal. Not only under US law, but also under the higher international law as laid down by the UN, which the US agreed to be bound by.

    I look forward to the day when slashdot is held responsible for its crimes. Especially the warez trading which is killing legitimate software development.

    thank you

    dmg

  • A friend of mine worked for a DC lobby org much frequented by digerati interested in public policy. Her recounting of E.Dyson's visit protrayed a prima donna that was difficult to work with.

    I was surprised Esther got the ICANN appointment given the personal experience recounted by my friend. At the time I thought perhaps Esther had had a bad day in DC. Now it appears more likely someone(s) didn't meet Esther and/or understand the job before making this placement.

    Too bad because ICANN is an important tool in hammering out a great many of the agreements-by-convention that keep the "net" running.

  • A talent for politics is not a bad thing, but defining politics in such a limited way certainly is. If you've ever talked your way through a toll booth or convinced your Mom to let you feed your broccolli to the dog, you've not only practiced politics but demonstrated a talent for it.

    Politicing is a fundamental human activity that everyone practices and, even though we demonize it, politics will keep our civilization from being just another bug on the windshield of history.

    Dictatorships, even "benevolent" ones, are doomed to failure not because of any moral lack but because of their inherent inefficiency. Rule by compulsion works only as long as the compulsion is applied effectively and often. Look back into history, and you'll see the rusting hulks of dictatorships that either forgot this principle or ran out of resources applying it.

    The nature of our society demands that our leaders be good politicians. Leaders who are poor practitioners, no matter how well-meaning or technically adept, will fail.

FORTUNE'S FUN FACTS TO KNOW AND TELL: A guinea pig is not from Guinea but a rodent from South America.

Working...