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I’m not kidding, ICANN is flirting with banning jokes

Kevin Murphy, October 6, 2021, 10:54:13 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN has come a long way since 2005 or thereabouts, when, at a public meeting, I made deputy general counsel Dan Halloran laugh so hard he vomited out of his nose.

Now, the increasingly po-faced Org has crawled so far up its own arse that it’s openly talking about banning — or at the very least discouraging — humor and lightheartedness during its thrice-annual get-togethers.

Ombudsman Herb Waye today blogged up his traditional pre-meeting reminder about the Expected Standards of Behavior, ahead of this month’s ICANN 72 AGM, which is taking place virtually.

There’s nothing wrong with this — the ESOB is merely a form of institutionalized politeness — but it’s being embellished this time around with a warning not to joke around in the Zoom chat rooms.

Waye wrote:

the intention of a comment can be difficult to ascertain without the benefit of vocal tone and body language. What was intended as a joke or light-hearted observation online to a group can unintentionally make the subject of the comment feel unfairly targeted.

I consulted with the ICANN community and organization (org) leadership for thoughts on how to promote a respectful virtual environment while also supporting the spirit of open dialogue that drives ICANN. I am grateful for their input. To ensure our Zoom sessions are engaging, inclusive, and productive, please remember these tips:

  • To avoid confusion and to respect the session’s planned agenda, please keep your interventions in the public chat on the topic that is being discussed.
  • Use private messages for off-topic comments.
  • Before commenting or adding a joke, please remember the cultural diversity of the ICANN community and consider how your comment could be perceived.

Remember, ICANN meetings are designed to be soul-crushingly dull, and attended only by sensitive North American children, so let’s keep them that way.

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Comments (7)

  1. amplify says:

    This is what happens when you give the left an inch—they’ll take the darn mile. You can’t joke about anything around anyone anymore as there’s likely a victim in your joke, and if not, it’s rooted in racism.

  2. amplify says:

    I’m kind of surprised that they did away with jokes before implementing jazz hands. Have I spoken too soon though?

  3. Janitor Jeff says:

    Snowflake industry?

  4. lifesavings says:

    Jokes put them at risk of uncontrollably blowing out their buttplugs.

  5. Samer says:

    They call this “cancel culture.” Jokes, too?

    Ready for the next step, Kevin?

    Starts at 0:19 second mark; 3 min 15 secs long.
    Copied and pasted for you to start from there:

    Embrace the future, Kevin!


  6. Brad White says:

    Brings up an interesting philosophical question – Can you ban jokes… when so many consider you to be one?

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