Tonight, I have sent final messages to the icann-europe and atlarge-discuss mailing lists, both of which were sponsored by FITUG. Both lists were dead for months or even years. Both are gone now.
icann-europe was the first thing ICANN I did: I set it up during the nomination phase of 2000's at-large elections, as a tool to enable informed discussion between potential candidates and the interested part of the community. Many candidates joined, and for some time, this list was one of the better places for talking about ICANN. The list slowly degraded after the elections, until the only remaining traffic was spam, and the occasional lunatic. In a way, this list marks the missed opportunity to turn the traction generated by the elections in 2000 into a viable mechanism for public input into ICANN.
atlarge-discuss was started shortly after the board dismissed the ALSC report in Accra, when some 1,000 people subscribed to the effort at icannatlarge.com. A number of mistakes were made there, and I feel responsible for some of the early ones.
Given that the GNSO's GA list is dysfunctional (or at least it was when I left), this means that, to the best of my knowledge, there are no mailing lists that enable public, cross-constituency debate of ICANN topics. ICANNwatch is the closest thing to this. (I don't know what the BWG is doing these days, since I was never subscribed to its list.)
I find this development worrisome: I continue to believe that ICANN needs public input. I continue to believe that it needs open and, also, online discussion. I continue to believe that it needs accountability and fresh blood. What we see instead is ever-decreasing interest in ICANN (after all, it's not as bad as, say, recent developments in copyright), and a nominating committee that extends the deadline for statements of interest.
What can we do about that?