Re: [Diversity] Participation in active IETF work

Fernando Gont <> Tue, 19 April 2016 13:26 UTC

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To: SM <>,,
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Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2016 10:26:02 -0300
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Cc: Hui Deng <>, Dhruv Dhody <>, Vinayak Hegde <>, Christian O'Flaherty <>, Alvaro Retana <>
Subject: Re: [Diversity] Participation in active IETF work
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On 04/19/2016 05:58 AM, SM wrote:
> Hi Nalini,
> 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:

Well, that's kind of a chicken and egg problem, right?

The IETF meets mostly in Europe and North America, because that's where
most contributors reside, and hence meeting elsewhere might prevent such
contributors from attending the meeting.

Obviously, with the same logic in mind, it would be virtually impossible
to encourage participation from developing regions, where participants
are usually less funded, or not funded at all.

> 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.

That's only part of the problem. The cost of attending meetings, and the
fact that in practice attending is more important than in theory ;-),
are another important part of it.

> The regional mentors (in the Cc) might be able to comment about why
> there has not been more active participation before.

So... I have the short, politically-correct and easy-to-digest list of
possible reasons, and the real one. Pick one. :-)

Fernando Gont
SI6 Networks
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