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

Andrew Sullivan <> Mon, 19 January 2015 16:02 UTC

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Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:01:55 -0500
From: Andrew Sullivan <>
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Subject: Re: [Ianaplan] Process concern regarding the IETF proposal development process
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I am speaking only for myself in this message (as usual).

On Mon, Jan 19, 2015 at 06:33:23AM -0800, Alissa Cooper wrote:
> After draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response was submitted to the ICG, the ICG received the following comment:

I think Richard Hill's argument in that message contains a number of
faulty premises.  I disagree with most of the message.

To begin with, he supposes that there is a hard line between "bottom
up" and "the leadership".  This represents a misunderstanding of how
the IETF works.  We expect the so-called leadership to participate.
(I say "so called", because anyone who has worked in the IETF for any
length of time knows that the IETF leadership relies on the respect of
its IETF peers: an IESG member who does not command professional
respect will quickly find him or herself isolated and unable to
function.)  In the case of the IESG members (all the examples are of
one particular IESG member), we expect them not to abuse their
position of control, or even threaten to do that.  I see no hint of
any such threat in any of the example posts.  It's true that the
example messages are a little sharp.  That is a style of debate we
sometimes see in the IETF.

I disagree that with Richard's claim that the chairs did not justify
their view.  I think they did, at least in the ways that I would
expect in the IETF.  It could be that this is a cultural understanding
of people who have participated in the IETF for some time and that is
not widely shared among the rest of the human population.  But it
appears to me that the chairs referred to both the outcome of the
meeting in Honolulu and the messages to the list to justify their
conclusions of rough consensus.  I had to pay attention to their
decision as part of my duties as the WG document shepherd, and
certainly I was not confused about what they were saying or why they
said it.

I believe that I understand what Richard is saying in his paragraph
beginning, "In my view, as I tried…," and as nearly as I can tell the
WG simply disagreed with him.  That is sometimes what happens with
rough consensus.  I think Richard is "in the rough."  I am not a person
who makes that determination for the WG or the IETF, but I agree with
that determination on the part of the chairs and the responsible AD.

Finally, if Richard believes that there was a process irregularity
(and he seems to be arguing that), then he is quite mistaken that he
cannot appeal the decision.  That would indeed be grounds for appeal.

Best regards,


Andrew Sullivan