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How Will WE Deal with Confrontation?

1 November 2017

Herb WayeHerb Waye, ICANN Ombudsman

There are two common ways people react to confrontation.

One way is taking a noble, ethical, or diplomatic course or response, especially in response to negativity or ill treatment – choosing the course of action which is the least likely to harm or upset other people.

The other end of the continuum is to face confrontation with confrontation – reacting to an attack with a counterattack or reacting to what is perceived as someone else’s fallacy with your own facts. Throwing diplomacy and restraint to the side, you join your opponent in a never-ending duel of what observers often perceive as disruptive and tiresome behavior.

I circulated an image a few weeks ago about two people looking at a number on the floor, one was yelling “6” – while the person on the other side of the number was yelling “9.”

There is no absolute right or wrong. There are only individual perceptions, seen through personal lenses with professional, cultural, social… well, the list of filters can go on forever.

The ancient Greeks are credited with the concept of four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire. We humans are carbon-based, 60% water, breathe air, and are warm blooded. But the Greek also had a fifth element, ether, which represented everything beyond the terrestrial sphere: the unseen, the unknown, the misunderstood. Ether completes the other four elements in ways unclear to human comprehension. It’s a bit like what we now call the Internet. If it hasn’t happened already, soon, everybody on this planet (and now beyond) will be in some way reliant on or affected by the Internet or some form of local network interestingly enough called an Ethernet.

We often hear advocates, politicians, scientists, or industry arguing about air, or the earth or our water. There is science supporting and debunking everything that is said or done involving controversial aspects of the elements. Much the same way, conflicting science, beliefs, and subsequent arguing apply to the Internet.

So, keep these thoughts in mind during your next meeting, or in your next email. There is no absolute right or wrong, everyone is entitled to their opinion; if you don’t agree, offer your opinion and move on. Just because you see a 6 doesn’t make the other person wrong for seeing a 9. Let’s be respectful of others as we debate the Internet and make this a safe productive place for all

Herb Waye
Herb Waye
ICANN Ombudsman

Herb Waye

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