Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers

Respectful Communication and Behaviour

The community is reminded of the Statement on Respectful Online Communication found at: http://www.icann.org/ombudsman/respectful-communication.pdf

Statement on Respectful Online Communication

Drafted jointly and agreed to by consensus April 20, 2007 at the 5th International Forum on Online Dispute Resolution in Liverpool, England - held in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

"While information and communications technologies (ICT) enable unprecedented interactions between individuals around the world, they also introduce some dynamics that can degrade dialogue.

ICT enables people to communicate immediately and anonymously, often without moderation, and in some circumstances this encourages behavior (such as threats or insults) that most individuals would never engage in face-to-face. This behavior may make people feel unwelcome, disrespected, or harassed in their online interactions. Ultimately, individuals may be dissuaded by these dynamics from participating, which undermines the vibrancy of our global conversation.

As a result, we encourage individuals to:

  • communicate online with respect
  • listen carefully to others in order to understand their perspectives
  • take responsibility for their words and actions
  • keep criticism constructive
  • respect diversity and be tolerant of differences

We embrace full and open communication and recognize the unique opportunity for expression in the online environment. We support freedom of speech and reject censorship. These principles are not intended to address what ideas can be expressed, but rather the tone with which communications take place."

The community is more specifically reminded of The ICANN Accountability and Transparency Framework states:

ICANN EXPECTED STANDARDS OF BEHAVIOR

"Those who take part in ICANN multi-stakeholder process including Board, staff and all those involved in Supporting Organization and Advisory Committee councils undertake to:

Act in accordance with ICANN's Bylaws. In particular, participants undertake to act within the mission of ICANN and in the spirit of the values contained in the Bylaws.

Adhere to the conflict of interest policy laid out in the Bylaws.

Treat all members of the ICANN community equally, irrespective of nationality, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion or beliefs, disability, age, or sexual orientation; members of the ICANN community should treat each other with civility both face to face and online.

Act in a reasonable and informed manner when participating in policy development and decision-making processes. This includes regularly attending all scheduled meetings and exercising independent judgment based solely on what is in the overall best interest of Internet users and the stability and security of the Internet's system of unique identifiers, irrespective of personal interests and the interests of the entity to which an individual might owe their appointment.

Listen to the views of all stakeholders when considering policy issues. ICANN is a unique multi-stakeholder environment. Those who take part in the ICANN process must acknowledge the importance of all stakeholders and seek to understand their points of view.

Work to build consensus with other stakeholders in order to find solutions to the issues that fall within the areas of ICANN's responsibility. The ICANN model is based on a bottom-up, consensus driven approach to policy development. Those who take part in the ICANN process must take responsibility for ensuring the success of the model by trying to build consensus with other participants.

Act in accordance with ICANN policies.

Protect the organization's assets and ensure their efficient and effective use.

Act fairly and in good faith with other participants in the ICANN process."

All of these principles of behaviour, when used in communication between members of the global ICANN community, will help to ensure that we're all given the chance to be heard, and to listen, in a respectful, cooperative manner that will move the community towards dialogue and productivity.

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