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

John C Klensin <> Tue, 05 August 2008 11:53 UTC

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Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 07:55:11 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Kurt Erik Lindqvist <>
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Subject: Re: [72attendees] Meeting arrangements and costs (was: Re: Clarifying Host Responsibilities )
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--On Monday, 04 August, 2008 10:07 +0200 Kurt Erik Lindqvist
<> wrote:

> On 3 aug 2008, at 16.10, John C Klensin wrote:
>> --On Saturday, 02 August, 2008 06:30 -0700 Randall Gellens
>> <> wrote:
>> 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),
> 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

>> and some of the complaining/ whining went on much
>> too long, if you (the IAOC)
> Please note that I am no longer on the IAOC.

I was aware of that.  I also assume that many members of the
IAOC, and Ray, are reading this list.  Apologies for the
confusing pronoun.

> 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.

> 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,

>>  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.   Because of some of those
factors, I travel only in business class to Europe or Asia.
That actually makes me less sensitive to on-site meeting costs
and registration fees than many participants because, usually,
the majority of my costs are spent as soon as I set foot on an
airplane.   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.  


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