[72attendees] Meeting arrangements and costs (was: Re: Clarifying Host Responsibilities )

John C Klensin <john+ietf@jck.com> Sun, 03 August 2008 14:10 UTC

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Date: Sun, 03 Aug 2008 10:10:58 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john+ietf@jck.com>
To: Randall Gellens <rg+ietf@qualcomm.com>, Kurt Erik Lindqvist <kurtis@kurtis.pp.se>
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Subject: [72attendees] Meeting arrangements and costs (was: Re: Clarifying Host Responsibilities )
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--On Saturday, 02 August, 2008 06:30 -0700 Randall Gellens
<rg+ietf@qualcomm.com> wrote:

> At 1:07 AM +0200 7/29/08, Kurt Erik Lindqvist wrote:

>> "the powers that be" are trying to optimize location /
>> internationalization / the host that PAYs preferences to
>> location for their needs / and a number of factors including
>> availability of a hotel. This equation is far from easy, but
>>  what worries me greatly is that we in the future find any
>>  hosts at  all given that the only thing you can expect as a
>> host is  complaints and endless threads about visa / robbery
>> / cookies / how  the showers works threads on mailinglist.
> Well, if we don't care about visa issues, crime, cookies, nor
> showers, I'm sure there are a *lot* of places we could meet!
> :-)

Let me add two comments to Randy's, noting that this is not
about the facilities for IETF 72 at all (and that I waited until
now to post this in the hope of avoiding confusion of what I'm
about to say with a complaint about that particular location).

(1)  Ray advertised these per-meeting lists as the place to post
information about, and issues with, the meeting before and
during it.  While my personal opinion is that some of the
threads (including this one and the earlier/related Guestroom
Network one), and some of the complaining/ whining went on much
too long, if you (the IAOC) don't want the input, don't ask for
it.  And, if you don't think the hotel or host doesn't want to
hear the input, don't tell them about the list.

(2) I note with some chagrin that Kurt's optimization list of
"location / internationalization / the host that PAYs
preferences to location for their needs / and a number of
factors including availability of a hotel" does not include
"total cost to attendees".   Given that we come from different
locations and have different needs, I don't even know how IAOC
figures that out, but I'm worried that it periodically does not
appear to have been high on the consideration list.   

To repeat something I suggested just before this meeting, even
if the IAOC cannot optimize for total cost of attendance, I
believe that the IAOC and Secretariat should be able to
determine and post, well before the meeting, estimates of local
contributing costs -- options for airport transport and their
costs; typical costs of meals in hotel restaurants and other
restaurants within short distances; ranges of food choices
available; maybe local air quality reports; whether the hotel
guestroom network was to be lashed up to the IETF one or kept
separate (and, if the latter, what it was going to cost guests);
whether the terminal room arrangements will be made by an
experience team under contract to the IETF or by a sponsor and
what is expected; transport plans to and from the city center if
that is relevant; and so on.   I think others in the community
can add to that list, but with the understanding that the items
on it are data to be collected and reported rather than things
we really expect IAOC to use as criteria.   

I think it is a wonderful accomplishment of the IAOC/IASA model
that we now have meeting dates set well into future and sites
lined up a year or so in advance rather than carrying out that
process on a just-in-time basis.  I am extremely impressed by
the degree to which sponsors and the Secretariat have been able
to remedy problems once they have occurred, whether those be
problems with networks, problems with room environments (meeting
rooms or sleeping rooms); alternate transport arrangements, and
so on.  But I believe we need to get far more of those
activities, and the likely need for them, into the long-term
understanding and planning process, rather than dealing with
them "just in time" or a tad later.   As with hotel
construction, I don't believe that we should try to constrain
IAOC to avoid a location that is likely to be suboptimal on one
of these characteristics.  But I do believe that IETF
participants should have information sufficiently far in advance
that we can make rational decisions about whether to attend.

With information on a timely basis, if the overall choice of
location and facilities does not meet the needs of one of us,
then he or she has a better ranger of options, including remote
participation.  Clearly having those options might stop a lot of
the endless whining that others have complained about -- if I
have the ability to make a truly informed choice, than I can't
very well complain about its consequences.   And, its IAOC
selects a site and a significant fraction of the community
decides to vote with its feet and participate remotely (or, with
many site arrangements, even just stay elsewhere), that would be
measurable and unambiguous wrt appropriate criteria for future
meeting site selection.


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