Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Dominique Lazanski <> Tue, 23 February 2021 08:18 UTC

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From: Dominique Lazanski <>
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Date: Tue, 23 Feb 2021 09:18:16 +0100
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To: Bron Gondwana <>,,
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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I would support Bron’s experience and also say that there are several other barriers to entry that I’ve found. One is different approaches to topics than the mainstream IETF approach held by most IETF attendees. I am thinking about privacy/encryption, for example. But the other big barrier to entry is the draft upload tools. For a new person attending for the first time the tools are a relic of 1990 of thereabouts and can be confusing and difficult.

In any case, I shall join the gendispatch group to discuss further!


> On 23 Feb 2021, at 05:19, Bron Gondwana <> wrote:
> Thanks Fernando,
> I would add to this document something about inertia, backwards compatibility and existing dysfunction.
> Many ideas are shut down because they aren't in the right place, or don't fit comfortably into the existing corpus of IETF documents.
> When we brought JMAP to the IETF it was after a long process of socialisation, and still there was significant work in the first couple of meetings just to convince people that "this is worth doing, the existing work the IETF has done in this neighborhood is not sufficient".
> JMAP also had an authentication scheme in it originally.  It was a good authentication scheme, but applications don't do authentication schemes, that's the bailiwick of OAUTH, where ideas go to die (in my experience, that working group has been dysfunctional for my entire time at IETF - exhibit 'A' being the "Milestones" section of the about page, which lists 6 items all due in 2017)
> So we just removed all mention of authentication method and handwaved "the connection will be authenticated", because we wanted to publish something during the decade with years starting '201'.
> ... all that to say.  One of the biggest barriers to entry in the IETF is stumbling across an area in which no work is able to progress due to entrenched issues within that area.
> And I'm not arguing for "no barriers to entry", because there needs to be a sanity check that we're actually producing high quality specifications, and that our specifications are compatible with each other so the entirety of the IETF's work product is a coherent whole.  But it's hard to get started if you don't already have the connections to have your work sponsored by somebody who already knows their way around the IETF's idiosyncrasies.  I'm doing some of that sponsoring myself now for the people from tc39 who are trying to get the IETF to look at defining an extended datetime format.
> Cheers,
> Bron.
> On Tue, Feb 23, 2021, at 11:07, Fernando Gont wrote:
>> Folks,
>> We have submitted a new I-D, entitled "Diversity and Inclusiveness in 
>> the IETF".
>> The I-D is available at: 
>> <>
>> We expect that our document be discussed in the gendispatch wg 
>> ( <>). But given the 
>> breadth of the topic and possible views, we'll be glad to discuss it
>> where necessary/applicable/desired.
>> As explicitly noted in our I-D, we're probably only scratching the 
>> surface here -- but we believe that our document is probably a good 
>> start to discuss many aspects of diversity that deserve discussion.
>> Thanks!
>> Regards,
>> -- 
>> Fernando Gont
>> SI6 Networks
>> e-mail: <>
>> PGP Fingerprint: 6666 31C6 D484 63B2 8FB1 E3C4 AE25 0D55 1D4E 7492
> --
>   Bron Gondwana, CEO, Fastmail Pty Ltd
> <>