ICANN drops the “man” from Ombudsman

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 icann.org/ombudsman now forwards to icann.org/ombuds.

Like many middle-aged men, I often roll my eyes at this kind of terminology change, despite my impeccably 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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