[Gendispatch] IETF transparency and diversity

Tony Rutkowski <rutkowski.tony@gmail.com> Wed, 07 April 2021 16:35 UTC

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From: Tony Rutkowski <rutkowski.tony@gmail.com>
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Date: Wed, 07 Apr 2021 12:35:17 -0400
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Subject: [Gendispatch] IETF transparency and diversity
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Having watched dozens of standards bodies like the IETF try to assess 
themselves for the past forty plus years - generally not well - this 
list seems to follow the norm.  There are a relative handful of people 
on this list, and the participation is highly skewed.  3/4 of the posts 
are from just 21 people who are almost all insiders perpetuating status.

Perhaps the most significant issue facing the IETF was raised by Phil on 
31 March - namely that the lack of transparency of interest is an 
increasing challenge to the organisation - especially with 
anticompetitive behavior becoming the subject of regulatory scrutiny and 
litigation.  The metrics of this list underscores the challenge - the 
principal proponents and decision shapers/makers lack attribution.

During Steve Lukasik's last years, he viewed the IETF as one of his 
principal failures.  It was a great idea when he signed off on its 
initial precursor formation to get out-of-the-box collaboration among 
the researchers that DARPA was funding. Attribution as well as 
collaboration incentives existed through the funding mechanisms.  
However, when it was cut loose in the 1990s, any sense of attribution of 
individual contributors and decision shapers was lost.  As Phil notes, 
it opened the door was opened for all kinds of mischief; and in contrast 
to almost all other standards bodies, the IETF is alone in avoiding 
attribution. Getting the LLC to buy more liability insurance has its limits.

The IETF's diversity challenge is also tied into the lack of 
transparency.  If you crunch the numbers and examine how relatively few 
registrants for IETF meetings continue their participation, the 
organization is effectively self-distilling around a set of hardy 
perennials who are motivated by un-attributed factors to stick with the 
organization to pursue some obscure objectives.  Indeed, the IETF's 
substantial insularity and institutional self-aggrandisement coupled 
with a set of rapidly evolving technologies progressed in other far more 
active and effective bodies, does not bode well.

So all of the above suggest that maintaining a generic IETF discourse 
list is probably a good thing.  --tony r

Posts 	%/posts 	accum % 	From 	attribution ?
76 	10.1% 	10.1% 	Keith Moore 	network-heretics.com
68 	9.0% 	19.0% 	Brian E Carpenter 	gmail.com
61 	8.1% 	27.1% 	Fernando Gont 	gont.com.ar
42 	5.6% 	32.7% 	Dan Harkins 	lounge.org
41 	5.4% 	38.1% 	Pete Resnick 	episteme.net
40 	5.3% 	43.4% 	Salz, Rich 	akamai.com
24 	3.2% 	46.6% 	Francesca Palombini 	ericsson.com
24 	3.2% 	49.7% 	Rob Sayre 	gmail.com
20 	2.6% 	52.4% 	Alissa Cooper 	cooperw.in
20 	2.6% 	55.0% 	Eliot Lear 	cisco.com
18 	2.4% 	57.4% 	Lars Eggert 	eggert.org
18 	2.4% 	59.8% 	Niels ten Oever 	digitaldissidents.org
16 	2.1% 	61.9% 	Eric Rescorla 	rtfm.com
16 	2.1% 	64.0% 	Mark Nottingham 	mnot.net
16 	2.1% 	66.1% 	Stephen Farrell 	cs.tcd.ie
15 	2.0% 	68.1% 	Bron Gondwana 	fastmailteam.com
15 	2.0% 	70.1% 	Joel M. Halpern 	joelhalpern.com
12 	1.6% 	71.7% 	Christian Huitema 	huitema.net
12 	1.6% 	73.3% 	John Levine 	taugh.com
11 	1.5% 	74.7% 	Jay Daley 	ietf.org
11 	1.5% 	76.2% 	Livingood, Jason 	comcast.com