[Diversity] Consideration for participation (was: Value and respect)

S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com> Thu, 16 June 2016 01:58 UTC

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Date: Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:55:54 -0700
To: Melinda Shore <melinda.shore@gmail.com>, diversity@ietf.org
From: S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com>
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Cc: Ted Hardie <ted.ietf@gmail.com>
Subject: [Diversity] Consideration for participation (was: Value and respect)
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Hi Melinda,

[Cc changed to diversity@ietf.org for focus]

At 13:21 10-06-2016, Melinda Shore wrote:
>I do think that we could probably benefit from being
>a little more rigorous about what it means to be an
>organization in which the primary consideration for
>participation is the ability to make technical contributions.
>To the extent that there are conditions that exclude
>people (or make it more difficult for them) on the basis
>of matters unrelated to technical chops, we fall short
>of the goal of being both open and meritocratic.

The above mentions "ability to make technical contributions".  The 
wording might be unclear to a person who is trying to understand how 
the organization works.  One of the considerations is whether the 
participant can review [1] a technical proposal as the organization 
relies on those reviews for a technical proposal to be approved.

A person may be reluctant to comment on a public mailing list if 
he/she is unfamiliar with an environment which is excessively and 
unreasonably critical, especially of small faults.  Without feedback, 
it is not possible for the person to determine whether his/her 
comment was considered as useful.

The origins or the word "meritocracy" is from a satire published in 
1958 [2].  The conditions that exclude a person on the basis of 
matters unrelated to the person's IETF work raises questions about 
one of the goals [3] of the IETF.

I'll quote [3] an email from 2012: "One of the great aspects of the 
IETF's openness is that anyone can participate for the cost of an 
Internet connection".  I could have made that argument in response to 
the issue which was raised [5].  I would be ignoring the issue by doing that.

Regards,
S. Moonesamy

1. The word "review" can also be unclear.
2. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2001/jun/29/comment
3. openness and fairness
4. https://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf/current/msg75940.html
5. http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf/current/msg98135.html