Re: [105attendees] Fwd: And a third [was: A couple of opinion pieces]

Ted Hardie <> Mon, 22 July 2019 15:04 UTC

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From: Ted Hardie <>
Date: Mon, 22 Jul 2019 11:04:18 -0400
Message-ID: <>
To: John C Klensin <>, IETF <>
Cc: Brian E Carpenter <>,
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Subject: Re: [105attendees] Fwd: And a third [was: A couple of opinion pieces]
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Hi John,

I've added the ietf list, since the issue you raised includes those who are
not attendees.

On Mon, Jul 22, 2019 at 10:18 AM John C Klensin <> wrote:

> --On Monday, July 22, 2019 08:48 -0400 Ted Hardie
> <> wrote:
> > Just to add to Brian's note, this is more than likely, as the
> > IAB is asking the community specific questions around how to
> > move forward.  The questions are in the IAB report to the
> > community (
> >
> > ietf-105/); as that notes, Olaf Kolkman will also present a
> > review of the current RFC Editor model to help frame some of
> > the timing questions.
> Ted,
> I didn't see any substantive questions other than whether to
> appoint (acting?) RSE and then start thinking through the role
> or to try to just move forward with a selection process there.
> Were those the questions you had in mind.
The choice laid out in the IAB report is:  should we delay issuing an RFP
until community discussion on the RFC Editor model has moved further along,
or should we issue an RFP now?  The current model already gives an RSE
responsibility for evolution of the series, so recruiting one with a strong
early focus on the evolution of the model is within the current model.

The current SOW has been shared with the community to allow comment on it
to proceed in parallel, should the community not wish to delay issuing and
RFP.  The IAB's intent is to continue soliciting discussion on the larger
point at least through the time the SOW is under discussion.  Having a few
hundred people in a room does, of course give some opportunity to get the
discussion going, but it will not be the end of it.

> I am glad you said "asking the community" rather than "doing a
> survey", but some of the same issues apply.   As others have
> pointed out several times, the RFC Series (and hence the ISE)
> serve much of the broader Internet Community, not just the IETF.
> FWIW, one theory about the role of the IAB is that it is
> supposed to serve  the broader Internet community too although I
> think we sometimes loose sight of that (and the IEtF-centered
> selection process doesn't help).  At least without a great deal
> of caution, a survey to collect opinions is only as good as the
> population being asked and how well those who respond represent
> that population.  "Asking the community" isn't much better:
> unless the IAB is just interested in confirming what it already
> believes -- and I assume that is not the case-- the usefulness
> of "asking the community" is only as useful as the parts of the
> community you choose to ask and who answers and how.  In
> particular, if "ask the community" is really going to be "ask
> around the IETF", then those other parts of the Internet
> Community who benefit from the RFC Series are effectively
> disenfranchised.
I encourage you to share the question beyond the IETF and IRTF, and the IAB
would be happy to work with you or others on structuring the message,
should it need re-framing for those audiences.

Even within the communities we have already heard from, the breadth of
opinion of what to do from here is substantial.  The only universal is that
we all regret Heather's decision.  Beyond that, the range of ideas shared
with me has included:

* make this a NomCom appointed position
* make this an employee of the IETF LLC, who has no contract term
* make this position a long term contract, in a model similar to judicial
* merge this position with the ISE role to reinforce the need for technical
* eliminate this position entirely
* retain the position largely as described, but make the RSOC NomCom
* focus this position on libraries and publication venues and recruit with
that focus
* retain this position but remove the oversight of the RFC Production
Center and RFC Publisher (with many variants of what that means for other
* retain this position but make it more junior and more overseen by
community members

I am pretty sure that this is only a selection of the ideas out there.
That breadth is part of why the choices we're asking about are only about
how to order the community discussion and the recruiting process; we are
sure that a larger community discussion is needed.

> I was very strongly reminded last Tuesday just how small of a
> fraction of the Internet community, even the portion of the
> community that is interested in the Internet's protocols or how
> they are applied in practice, IETF participants represent.  If
> the IETF (not just the RFE Series) are going to remain relevant,
> I think we need to pay significant attention to that.
> The other problem, as Brian, I, and others, have pointed out is
> that the RSE position is a very specialized job, one into which
> it would be no more reasonable to drop someone whose skill set
> is in network engineering than it would be to expect the
> managing editor of, say, a biochemistry journal to be able to
> step into the IAB or IETF Chair roles or even to start designing
> network protocols (unless he or she had considerable network
> engineering background and experience in addition to their
> biochemistry one).  I assume and hope that Olaf will explain
> that in more detail on Wednesday.
> I'd lay good odds that, before the recent discussions broke out,
> only a small fraction of IETF participants had given any real
> thought to the role of the RSE and that many were only vaguely
> aware that it existed.  If that awareness level has risen,
> perhaps that is a good consequence of this otherwise bad
> situation.

I appreciate the kindness in suggesting a silver lining here.

> However, it suggests that, at least in addition to
> asking the community, you should be seeking out people with real
> expertise and/or history and asking them rather than either
> assuming that advice can come from general asking of the
> community or that sufficient expertise in those matters exists
> within the IAB or the present RSOC.
I cannot tell you how may times I have missed Joyce's wise counsel in these
past weeks.  As the first person to be recruited to join Jon and the first
to succeed him, I have read and re-read her text in RFC 2555, along with
Jake's, Bob's, Steve's,  and Vint's.  But I think we are honestly at a
moment where we must both look back and look forward.  The ecosystem in
which this series came to be has changed and, as you note, the community
has grown well beyond the borders of the IETF's halls.  That has left me
grateful that Leslie in RFC 4844 and Olaf in RFC 6635 clearly envisioned

  This document, and the resulting structures, will be modified as
   needed through normal procedures.  The RSE, and the IAB, through the
   RFC Oversight Committee (see Section 3.1
<>), will continue to
   discussions within the community about potential adjustments to the
   RFC Editor model and recognize that the process described in this
   document may need to be adjusted to align with any changes that
   result from such discussions; hence, the version number in the title.

While it is possible that the discussion will end with a long-term
retention of the current model, I must say that I honestly expect change.

best regards,

Ted Hardie

>    john