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

Kurt Erik Lindqvist <> Tue, 05 August 2008 19:12 UTC

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From: Kurt Erik Lindqvist <>
To: John C Klensin <>
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Date: Tue, 5 Aug 2008 21:12:49 +0200
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Subject: Re: [72attendees] Meeting arrangements and costs (was: Re: Clarifying Host Responsibilities )
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On 4 aug 2008, at 13.55, John C Klensin wrote:
>> I'll note that it was several times pointed out that the hotel
>> room network issues should be bought up with the hotel as
>> noone on this list had any relation to it except that the host
>> kindly improved the service over what we would otherwise have
>> had. Which I think was the point missed on this list.
> Again, speaking to the general case rather than this specific
> one, there are three ways we can have in-room networks.  The
> hotel can stick with its standard arrangements, we can replace
> their WAN connection with ours, or we can install some routing
> and try to run both.   We can't do a thing about their
> in-building infrastructure unless we start putting our own
> (presumably wireless) infrastructure in the halls.   If there
> are problems with the in-building infrastructure, of course one
> needs to take it up with the hotel... except for two little
> things: (i) CityWest notwithstanding, the average hotel around
> the world has a staff that knows absolutely nothing about its
> Internet infrastructure other than how to power cycle devices
> when they stop working and (ii) when the IAOC advertises free
> Internet access in rooms, there is some limited IETF obligation
> to understand that "Internet access" implies connections that
> work, deliver addresses, route packets, etc., not just plug in
> and to provide an interface with the hotel about that...  or to
> say "well, there are Internet connections in the rooms, and they
> are free, but maybe they won't work".
> That is another "full information; full disclosure" issue, not
> any need to be coddled, especially since some of us may choose
> locations based on the likelihood of being able to work there at
> night.

Sure, for planning ahead I agree. But once a the venue and told where  
to report problems -  you have to agree that people (besides trying to  
help each other) should bring the complaints to the responsible, and  
not to the general IETF attendees. .

>> I can only speak for the time I was on the IAOC, but at least
>> then we frequently tried to estimate the total cost. The
>> problem however isn't so much the total cost as to where to
>> set the barrier. For example with a weak USD exchange rate,
>> Europe might seem very expensive to US participants, while
>> when the USD was almost twice the current exchange rate,
>> Europe probably seemed very cheap, while for Europeans it was
>> prhibitly expensive. It also depends on your employers
>> policies etc. But the IAOC still tried to make an estimate for
>> total costs. But I agree that is hard too.
> That is precisely why I'm suggesting more information.  If IETF
> participants decide that a particular meeting is too expensive,
> or that the hotel is, and vote with their feet, then the IAOC
> will get bottom-line feedback, not just complaining from those
> who tend to be loud.  If that bottom-line feedback causes a
> budget crisis, presumably there would be learning.

Agreed. I still believe the issue is what level of detail is needed  
and worth the effort. Before the IAOC apparently this was less of an  
issue, now we seems to have come far enough that these are the issues  
to worry about, which I assume is a good thing! (Yes, I know there  
where "how big are our cookies" discussions before, but they centered  
around the cost of the IETF meetings, not the personal attendance cost).

>> While I think some of the suggestions above are good ones, I
>> also think there is a limit to how much the IAOC/IAD
>> need/should work on to help attendees. We are al grown ups
>> with different backgrounds, experiences, culture and how used
>> we are to travel. The IAOC/IAD can't possibly be expected to
>> deal with can cater for all people in all given circumstances.
> I agree completely.  When I make my own arrangements for a
> meeting in a particular location, I decide whether local
> arrangements are adequate and, if they are not, either figure
> out how to make them adequate, decide I can deal with it, or
> decide to not go.  In the case of the IETF, I have little
> control over those decisions and those who do take on some
> responsibility to provide information or pointers to
> information.  For example, in the case of CityWest, it was hard
> to even find out exactly where the place was located or what the
> local alternative options were and the information that the only
> practical way to get there was taxi came as a rude, and late,
> surprise.

I agree that transportation information should be available well in  
advance. Especially perhaps at destinations where expectations of  
command of the english language might be less (for example Japan vs  
Dublin). As for finding CityWest and directions, I simply Googled for  
CityWest, and then clicked "Location".

>> ...
>>> 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.
>> I guess I am naive, but I have always based my attendance on
>> the benefit for my employer and the achievements I believe I
>> can contribute to, rather than my personal comfort.
> Across the IETF, circumstances differ.


>  I'm older than you are,
> probably have a few more health issues, and my employer is the
> guy I look at in the morning while shaving.  Any IETF meeting
> costs come out of my pocket and any days I spend at IETF (or
> getting to or from) are days I cannot bill to anyone.  For any
> meeting, I make a decision as to whether to attend based on a
> combination of overall costs, weighing the value of my showing
> up versus what could be accomplished by remote participation,
> perception of health risks (some of which you might classify as
> "personal comfort"), and so on.

I agree that making data that is easily available publicly to aid  
decisions for attendees is a good thing, I also think there is a limit  
to how much effort should be put into this.

>  But that doesn't stop me from being very concerned
> when I see meeting fees and overall cost of attendance rising
> rapidly toward historic ISO or ITU levels.  If those rising
> costs are combined with discomfort, serious problems finding
> food I can eat, perceived health risks, etc., my incentives to
> just stay home increase significantly.

All of these concerns was around already when I was on the IAOC. But  
again, the IAOC also needs to handle the trade-off against getting  
venues at all, venues that offer a reasonable accommodation cost,  
covering international locations, finding a host/sponsor (and taking  
their wishes into account. Or the meeting fees would be even higher),  
travel costs to the various locations, etc. I've said it before and  
it's not an easy equation to make work.

Best regards,

- - kurtis -

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