Re: [Diversity] draft-arkko-ietf-trends-and-observations-00

S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com> Mon, 25 April 2016 08:00 UTC

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Date: Mon, 25 Apr 2016 00:11:48 -0700
To: nalini.elkins@insidethestack.com, Jari Arkko <jari.arkko@piuha.net>, Alia Atlas <akatlas@gmail.com>, Avri Doria <avri@apc.org>, Tobias Gondrom <tobias.gondrom@gondrom.org>, Olaf Kolkman <kolkman@isoc.org>, Steve Olshansky <olshansky@isoc.org>, Benson Schliesser <bensons@queuefull.net>
From: S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com>
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Subject: Re: [Diversity] draft-arkko-ietf-trends-and-observations-00
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Hello,
At 08:57 23-04-2016, nalini.elkins@insidethestack.com wrote:
>The Impact of Diversity
>------------------------
>Diversity and culture need much more discussion.  These are among 
>the most important issues facing us if we want to navigate this 
>transition gracefully.  I live in the United States in the State of 
>California.  There is no racial group that has over 50% in California.
>
>http://kff.org/other/state-indicator/distribution-by-raceethnicity/
>
>In California, we are all minorities.  This is likely to be where 
>the IETF is going.

Is California an adequate comparison or is it better to compare the 
IETF with the tech industry?  The figures for the tech industry do 
not reflect the distribution in California ( 
http://www.npr.org/sections/alltechconsidered/2016/02/03/465270938/intel-discloses-diversity-data-challenges-tech-industry-to-follow-suit 
).

>So, what does this mean?
>
>The IETF has a culture, which IMHO, works quite well to support 
>innovation.  Having said that, the IETF culture is redolent of the 
>culture of Berkeley in the 1970s (with some of the political 
>correctness of Northern California in 2016 thrown in for good 
>measure!).   Some of us (esp. those of us who live in Northern 
>California) find that familiar and feel quite comfortable in that 
>culture.  Others, not so much.

The following is one of the concluding thoughts of the authors: "As 
the IETF changes, improving its cultural diversity and seeing the 
motivation for participation increasingly based on business 
interests, it remains important that we as an organization and a 
community take steps toward maintaining some key cultural 
values".  The message says that the IETF has a culture which is close 
to the one of North California.  Is that one of the key cultural 
values which the authors of 
draft-arkko-ietf-trends-and-observations-00 would like to maintain?

>We have much experience with issues of diversity in 
>California.  Battles over what language(s) will be spoken in 
>schools, dress codes and other issues are constantly on the ballots 
>in local elections.  As is the inevitable backlash over the sharing 
>of power that is entailed.  Hence, the Trump reality show disguised 
>as a primary contest.
>
>Obviously, this issue is not unique to California or the United 
>States.   Consider Germany with their generosity and kindness in 
>taking many, many refugees.   They are now dealing with the impacts 
>of their generosity.
>
>To truly deal with diversity, requires sensitivity and awareness as 
>well as having the right people be a part of that 
>conversation.  Moving forth, sensitivity about culture, language, 
>food preferences, what is "affordable", venue, etc, will become more 
>and more important.   I would submit that this actually requires a 
>draft co-authored by a number of people on how best to navigate these waters.

According to the authors, "First, creating an environment that is 
good for diverse participants is the right thing to do".  Is there 
any institutional bias?  If so, how does creating an environment help 
to address that?  There is a draft from 2013 in which a change was 
proposed ( 
https://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-moonesamy-nomcom-eligibility-01 
).  There was a polite unfavorable response to the proposal even 
though the draft did not discuss about sensitive issues.

The impact of diversity is that it became a problem in the IETF when 
it turned into a problem for the tech industry in the United 
States.  The impact of diversity on the IETF is that it has a 
negative impact on the IETF brand as a body in which there is 
supposed to be equal opportunity.

Regards,
S. Moonesamy