Kabul. Bagdad. Rio.

Esther Dyson on ICANN reform, user participation, and more fundamental issues: Yes, it matters to some extent who is on ICANN’s board — or who is in power in Iraq — but it’s not as important as it may seem. Change the structure and you don’t nec…

Esther Dyson on ICANN reform, user participation, and more fundamental issues: Yes, it matters to some extent who is on ICANN’s board — or who is in power in Iraq — but it’s not as important as it may seem. Change the structure and you don’t necessarily change the texture that determines much of what actually goes on. Structure helps change things over time, but it doesn’t work on its own. People need to know what to do to use and reinforce the structure. She then (accurately) observes the importance of having a physical seat at the negotiating table, as opposed to just participating online.

I’d emphasize the word “just” in the sentence above: Online participation works much better once you had a beer (or Caipirinha) with the people you are working with (or against). Of course, cynics would express this by saying that making friends and manipulating people is much easier that way…