Re: [Diversity] Participation in active IETF work (was: Interim step on meetings site feedback for sites currently under active consideration)

<> Tue, 19 April 2016 14:20 UTC

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Cc: Hui Deng <>, Dhruv Dhody <>, "" <>, Christian O'Flaherty <>, Alvaro Retana <>, "" <>, Vinayak Hegde <>
Subject: Re: [Diversity] Participation in active IETF work (was: Interim step on meetings site feedback for sites currently under active consideration)
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At 12:50 18-04-2016, wrote:

I wonder if there has not been more participation in active IETF work before from other regions because there was no structured way to start participating and language insensitivity.  (BTW, there is a new member of the Mentoring Team from Latin America, that I met in Buenos Aires who will translate the Mentoring emails into Spanish.)

Attendance figures were used as a substitute for Participation figures. The IETF Community did not show much interest in doing anything about that.  A few years ago, an IAOC Chair posted the following to justify the meeting policy:

There wasn't any formal effort (as the one you are doing) to train people from other regions to start participating except for the meeting training sessions.  A person who is not used to discussing in English faces a higher learning curve in comparison with someone from Australia.

>I joined Huawei in 2005, just as they began to ramp up participation in IETF, and in Paris, I was talking with a Chinese co-worker who had done a presentation in one of the RTG working >groups, and asked, "so, was this the first time you've done a presentation like this in English?"
>It was, but it was also the first time he'd done "a presentation like this" at all. That wasn't a thing, at his university, probably two decades ago (I'm guessing). At least back then, teachers >talked, and students listened.
>He also said, in his meeting report, "understanding questions in English after your presentation is the short stave in the water bucket" (that was the show-stopper, at least for him).
>I've developed a lot of respect for IETF participants who are working outside their first language ... and in an unfamiliar culture.

Yes.  Indeed.
I see three initiatives which fall under mentoring where we can help.  I want to do this slowly and carefully.  One initiative per IETF interval.  Make that initiative work, then go on to the next.
1.  Internet draft review teams (already started)
2.  Internet draft writing teams (will start next time.)   Help people form a group around an idea so they can write a draft together.
3.  Internet draft critique teams (will start time after next!)  Help people who have a draft make it better.  Do dry runs.   Have people ask really hard questions so the person is prepared.  First in native language (if appropriate) then in English.   Improve your PPT.
All of these will need remote mentors.