Public Comment

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Public Comment Proceedings seek to gather opinions on proposals initiated by a working group or department. Public Comment is a mechanism that gives the ICANN community and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide input and feedback. It is a key part of the policy development process (PDP) and the Multistakeholder Model. It is meant to allow for the refinement of recommendations before further consideration and potential adoption. It is also used to guide the implementation, review, and operational activities of ICANN. All comments and email addresses are displayed in the archive for each proceeding and are visible to the public.

Public Comment Feature

The Public Comment Team, which is a part of the Policy Development Support Team, runs the public comment feature on ICANN's website. The feature is an interactive platform that includes upcoming, open, closed, and archived public comment records as well as links for making comments and reporting summary report errors. The Public Comments feature underwent a review in 2017–2018 and is currently under renovation, as part of the Information Transparency Initiative.[1]

Public Comment Proceedings apply to the following categories

  • ICANN or community governance documents, such as the ICANN Bylaws, operating procedures, and community charters
  • Policy recommendation reports (draſt, initial, and final) of potential, ongoing, and completed policy development processes
  • Organizational reviews and specific review recommendations
  • Implementation plans for policy and specific review recommendations
  • Cross-community working group recommendations
  • ICANN org base agreements with registry operators and registrars
  • Documents that impact community policy, recommendations, or advice

Public Comment Reports

The first systematic analysis of ICANN Public Comments was an outcome of the first Accountability and Transparency Review Team (ATRT) recommendations (Jan 2012). The analysis concerns community usage and participation patterns rather than the content and outcomes of public comments. In June 2014, the ICANN Board requested specific action plans to address the ATRT2 recommendations for improving the ICANN Public Comment infrastructure and operations, which resulted in the formation of the Public Comment Team, who developed a set of enhancements that were vetted before and during ICANN 50. The procedural changes went into effect in January 2015. In 2016, the Public Comment Team decided that the Public Comment Data Analyses should be refreshed annually.

Trends in Public Comment Proceedings (2010–2018)

On September 1, 2019, the Policy Development Support Team released a trends report on public comments from 2010 to 2018, which included findings from the sixth such analysis.[2] The team found that

  • the number of public comment proceedings had decreased by 10% over the years.
  • From 2010–2013, the Policy Development Support Team opened the most proceedings; from 2014–2017, the Global Domains Division GDD opened the most proceedings. In 2018, the Multistakeholder Strategy and Strategic Initiatives (MSSI) opened the most proceedings.
  • The number of days public comment proceedings remained open increased from 43 to 51.
  • Far fewer proceedings (2%) are receiving zero submissions from the ICANN community than in 2010–2011.
  • The median number of submissions per proceeding was relatively stable at 6 until 2018, which saw a median of 9.5 submissions.[3]


Public Comment is the default mechanism for gathering feedback from ICANN members and the general public; however, alternative options include operational consultations and surveys, which gather input from more targeted audiences. These avenues must be approved by ICANN org.'s Executive Team.[4]