Re: [Ianaplan] Process concern regarding the IETF proposal development process

Andrew Sullivan <> Mon, 26 January 2015 03:41 UTC

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Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:41:54 -0500
From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Subject: Re: [Ianaplan] Process concern regarding the IETF proposal development process
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On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 10:28:54PM -0500, Miles Fidelman wrote:
> Well, on that later note, all I can say is that every time I get involved in
> a proposal effort, lots of people review the terms and conditions section,
> and provide input to council - we don't treat it as out-of-scope.

Do I read you correctly as suggesting that the IAOC needs input on
terms when it makes agreements?  If so, I think that is sort of right,
and sort of not.

The IAOC is not one person, of course, so to begin with we already
have a group of people who are reviewing one another's work.  Those
people are appointed in different ways, so that it's not even one
point of view that arranges the appointment.

Second, the IAOC works on instruction from the IETF.  If the IAOC came
back with some agreement that was contrary to IETF consensus, there'd
be a big to-do.  And the chair of the IETF sits on the IAOC _ex
officio_, which means that the interests of IETF consensus are
formally inside the room.

Third, the IAOC is exquisitely sensitive to these sorts of issues.  I
seem to recall the IAOC asking specifically some questions around a
knotty decision they had to make, involving some
cost-vs.-participation trade-offs.  It doesn't happen often -- you
really can't practically negotiate a contract with one party arriving
with 1200 of their closest friends -- but I think the IAOC tries
rather hard to strike the right balance (and when they mess up, boy do
they hear about it).

This is the way the IETF does it.  It's of course not perfect, and I
can see ways in which, were one inclined to think that processes can
be written to ensure nothing bad can happen, one would want to alter
the approach we're using.  I happen not to believe in processes to
that degree, and prefer an arrangement in which the community review
of results (coupled with the logical possibility of recall) sends
adequate feedback to a body of people who have in the past shown
themselves to use sound judgement.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan