Re: [Gendispatch] New Version Notification - draft-eggert-bcp45bis-04.txt

Lloyd W <lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk> Sat, 18 September 2021 08:54 UTC

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From: Lloyd W <lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk>
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Date: Sat, 18 Sep 2021 18:54:26 +1000
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Cc: Lloyd W <lloyd.wood=40yahoo.co.uk@dmarc.ietf.org>, draft-eggert-bcp45bis.all@ietf.org, Barry Leiba <barryleiba@computer.org>, GENDISPATCH List <gendispatch@ietf.org>, "Rob Wilton (rwilton)" <rwilton=40cisco.com@dmarc.ietf.org>
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To: Lars Eggert <lars@eggert.org>
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] New Version Notification - draft-eggert-bcp45bis-04.txt
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> On 18 Sep 2021, at 17:25, Lars Eggert <lars@eggert.org> wrote:
> 
> I added this quote from Wikipedia, because SAA is a pretty US/UK-centric term, and I received feedback that it is confusing to participants from other regions when they first encounter it.
> 
> I'd be happy to point to a different explanatory definition. I'd also be happy to remove it again.

Sergeant At Arms  is a loaded term with multiple meanings. If you look at the origin of the term, it's a lackey appointed by the king... which is to say, here, the IETF chair. And yet the IETF has a mantra, increasingly hard to believe, about no kings or presidents.

If you look at the US house of representatives, the SAA is appointed by the house - the deliberative body. If you look at Robert's Rules of Order, beloved by a certain type of US military mind, it's slightly different again. The reference to Wikipedia does not clarify the sense of use or the scope of the role intended in your draft.

Now, the SAAs have indeed proved to be lackeys of the IETF Chair, doing the chair's bidding, and that has been well documented (the former chair restricted my and others' postings on a pet  terminology topic for five days a year ago. major embarrassing snit.) That hasn't changed. I do think it should be changed -- no kings, presidents, or IETF chairs driving pet hobbyhorses -- and that the chair's powers are not yet restricted enough.

But, more immediately, the text as written in your draft says 'appointed by' twice in succession - by different entities. One of those is clearly not true, or you're not at all clear on what being appointed means. This is more than just a typo nit, it goes to,the heart of who the SAA is responsible to.

Personally, I dislike the SAA term and its militaristic and hierarchical connotations - but, given what the SAAs currently are, it's actually fair warning. And, as you say, it's unclear to those outside imperial or westminster trappings. 'moderators' may be clearer. it is, after all, just a mailing list. But how they are appointed and who they are responsible to needs to be clearer.

best

Lloyd Wood
lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk