Re: [68ATTENDEES] Returning to Prague (was: Re: Hilton Prague)

John C Klensin <> Sun, 25 March 2007 04:09 UTC

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Date: Sun, 25 Mar 2007 00:08:58 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Fred Baker <>, Aaron Stone <>, Nemeth Krisztian <>
Subject: Re: [68ATTENDEES] Returning to Prague (was: Re: Hilton Prague)
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--On Saturday, March 24, 2007 22:47 +0100 Fred Baker 
<> wrote:

> What, specifically, is your complaint? It looks to me like
> this is exactly what happened. What John is complaining about
> is that there was an area that remained available to smokers.

Fred, others may be making exactly that complaint.  I'm not.  I 
believe it is possible to have smoking areas, even indoor ones, 
from which the smoke does not escape.    How far one needs to go 
is a judgment call and my expectation is that IASA can, and 
should, do site evaluations and make such judgments.

Let me give an example:  The Hilton rather aggressively 
advertises the Chezhouse restaurant as completely non-smoking. 
However, at least normally, there are large open doors at the 
entrance of that restaurant.   There is a sitting area 
immediately outside that door.  Smoke drifts in and does so in 
moderately large quantities -- as Randy has noted a couple of 
times, the stuff is not good at obeying signs and while, by some 
definitions, "no smoking" means no one in an adjacent chair is 
smoking, that is not the point (anyone else remember when a 
well-known airline defined the non-smoking area as the seats to 
the left of the aisle and the smoking area as the seats to the 
left or vice versa?).    Now, in my experience, there are a 
number of methods that separate a smoking area from a 
non-smoking one.  One of them is known as a "door".  Two such 
devices are often even more effective.  It is also possible to 
arrange HVAC systems so that air flows outward from the 
restaurant rather than inward.  With such arrangements in place, 
if I had to hold my breath or wear a mask and goggles to 
traverse the portion of the lobby in front of the restaurant, I 
wouldn't like it and I'd probably whine a lot, but I could live 
with it.  But, for some of us, "non-smoking restaurant" needs to 
be "no smoke in the restaurant" (or smoke at homeopathic 
(homeopathological?) levels) to be meaningful.

Nemeth Krisztian <> wrote:

>> Even the "need to look at the people various visa regulations
>> will keep out"  issue is, to me, secondary to this one even
>> though I consider that one very,  very, important and hope we
>> will never again hold two consecutive meetings  that de facto
>> exclude the same people.
> I don't understand that. Why excluding people because of visa
> issues is better (or secondary, as you say) than excluding
> people with health issues? In my understanding in both cases
> someone innocent is excluded. In this case I'd count both
> parties and decide according to that. Or, better, think about
> is it possible to locally arrange a smoke-free zone (probably
> yes) or a visa-free zone (not likely).

In principle, you are, of course, correct.   In practice, ending 
up with sets of rules in which the system is so badly 
overconstrained that one can't hold meetings would put us into a 
fairly silly state.    As I mentioned in my earlier note, we 
normally meet in places where a significant number of IETF 
participants live.  Prague would probably be marginal except 
that people argued that, for the purpose of that guideline, the 
"place" was "Europe".  If there were no cities or facilities in 
Europe with acceptable breathing conditions, we would presumably 
have an overconstrained system because there are a _lot_ of IETF 
participants from Europe.   But such facilities exist, so we do 
have alternatives, and _that_ ought to put Prague (or at least 
this facility) well down on the list -- below some absolute 
cutoff -- until and unless things change.

The visa situation is unfortunate in just that regard.  The 
world's visa rules are such that a "don't go anywhere with 
unreasonable visa rules that would restrict attendance" would 
leave us nowhere to go.    So that, IMO, turns the visa 
situation into precisely the kind of counting, balancing the 
tradeoffs, and trying really hard to be sure that no one is 
excluded twice in a row if that is possible that your comments 
above suggest.   Because there are alternatives, the smoking and 
accessibility issues should, to me, be a nearly-absolute rule.


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