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

SM <> Tue, 19 April 2016 17:14 UTC

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Date: Tue, 19 Apr 2016 09:33:23 -0700
To: Vinayak Hegde <>, Spencer Dawkins at IETF <>, Fernando Gont <>,, Nalini Elkins <>,
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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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Hi Vinayak, Spencer, Fernando, Dave, Nalini,
At 04:12 19-04-2016, Vinayak Hegde wrote:
>English is generally not as much as a problem for India as it is for
>China or LATAM. As India was a English colony before independence,
>English has been adopted as a language by elites. A decently large
>part of our education in urban centres is in English. A majority of
>the people who are likely to contribute to the IETF (Graduate and PG
>academia, researchers, Network engineers and programmers) already know


>The most common barriers to IETF contribution in India are 1.
>Awareness 2. Funding (for the meetings) and time spent.

Thanks for the above.

At 06:14 19-04-2016, Spencer Dawkins at IETF wrote:
>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.

The last sentence is about learning by observing.

>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.


At 06:26 19-04-2016, Fernando Gont wrote:
>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.

It is usually a funding problem.

>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.

In other words, an important part of participation in active IETF 
work means attending meetings even though that is not what is written 
in IETF documents (the theory).

At 06:40 19-04-2016, Dave Crocker wrote:
>Since we are supposed to do our primary work on mailing lists, the 
>actual model has the simple premise that increasing participation 
>from a region warrants extending the range of regions we hold 
>meetings at. That is, to get the IETF to come a region, there first 
>needs to be more people from that region actively contributing 
>through working group mailing lists.

The North America region is mostly the U.S.  Most of the attendees 
from Asia are from China.  If the approach is to "share the pain", 
IETF meetings would regularly be held in China as that is the case for the U.S.

At 06:50 19-04-2016, wrote:
>Yes, of course.  But, it is a bit more nuanced than that.   I think 
>it is difficult to get a real sense of the IETF & the excitement & 
>purpose unless you attend live & get involved.

It's difficult to get a sense of the IETF by attending one 
meeting.  There are people who have attended several meetings and did 
not get involved in active IETF work.

Is the main problem the difficulty to get funding to attend IETF 
meetings and does that have an impact on active IETF work?