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ICANN drops the “man” from Ombudsman

Kevin Murphy, December 1, 2023, 16:13:59 (UTC), Domain Policy

ICANN is looking for a new “Ombuds”, having quietly dropped the “man” from Ombudsman following the resignation of Herb Waye.

The Org said it has hired a recruitment consultant and put out a call for expressions of interest in the role last night.

The Ombuds’ job is to handle complaints independently of ICANN Org and board and be an “objective advocate for fairness”. It’s one of ICANN’s bylaws-mandated accountability mechanisms.

The Org seems to have officially made the switch from “Ombudsman” to “Ombuds” at the start of October when Krista Papac took on the job on an interim basis. The old URL now forwards to

Like many middle-aged men, I often roll my eyes at this kind of terminology change, despite my impeccable woke credentials.

I have always assumed that “Ombudsman” was etymologically a gender-neutral term, given its Scandinavian roots, but I’ve read around the topic today and it seems that that assumption is open to debate.

I’ve concluded that it doesn’t matter either way — nobody’s getting hurt by the change, so fuck it, “Ombuds” it is.

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Comments (4)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    They also dropped “person”, because it could be Ombudsperson. Which means the new Ombuds might also be an AI.

  2. Matthias Pfeifer says:

    ICANN should raise fees and hire more lawyers to address such world-eating problems.

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