Re: [Ianaplan] on considering consensus

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Tue, 25 August 2015 15:10 UTC

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Date: Tue, 25 Aug 2015 11:10:03 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Eliot Lear <lear@cisco.com>, Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>, "Leslie Daigle (TCE)" <ldaigle@thinkingcat.com>, Marc Blanchet <marc.blanchet@viagenie.ca>
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Subject: Re: [Ianaplan] on considering consensus
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--On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 07:44 +0200 Eliot Lear
<lear@cisco.com> wrote:

> On 8/25/15 7:42 AM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>> We have this rule that rough consensus is established on the
>> list. And I would say the problem with the meeting text is
>> that journalists will spin it to say that the IETF agrees
>> with the whole plan.
> 
> But the text that you proposed will be spun the opposite way
> that there is not support for the proposal as a whole, which
> is worse.  And rough consensus can be CONFIRMED on the list.
> I don't say we have it at this point, but I'd like the 15
> people not to be ignored.

Eliot,

Speaking as someone who would have participated in the interim
but who was on an airplane and unable to even passively stream
it and as a long-term skeptic about interim meetings, I'm fine
with confirming consensus from a meeting (interim or otherwise)
on a mailing list.   However, such a confirmation process should
not give the meeting attendees special weight.  No one has
suggested ignoring them but "the fifteen" (or the the four or
five; see below) are not somehow special.  They should
especially not have an extra, or louder, voice when the number
of people who participated in the interim are a small fraction
of those who have participated on-list or if the consensus was
only rough (I note that, if there were 15 people on the call,
"Four or five people supported.  Nobody opposed" (from the
minutes) would not usually count as a strong statement of
support from the interim).

I think you have correctly identified the problem: independent
of discussions in any particular forum or among anyone and their
small circle of supporters, any of the obvious ways the
statement can written has the potential to be interpreted
("spun" if you like) in ways the IETF would find regrettable.
The solution to that does not seem to me to lie in unresolvable
debates about which risk we would rather take but in clearly
making the distinction I've suggested before, which is to
clearly distinguish between the positions of this WG about its
discussions and the IETF's needed and broader issues related to
ICANN or Internet administration and management.  Whether the
rest is stated as additional comments from the WG that do not
reflect a formal position or left to the IAB statement is an
issue I have trouble getting excited about.   You may believe
that Richard's comments are non-substantive, but I see him as
addressing much the same point.

I also note...

--On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 08:05 +0200 Eliot Lear
<lear@cisco.com> wrote:

>> But I disagree that Andrew has dispensed with it.
> 
> That is a charter issue for a chair, then, to decide.  Not the
> WG as a whole.

Ok, but note that a chair decision, without discussion with the
WG, on an issue that is apparently still this controversial just
invites an appeal.   FWIW, an appeal that was tightly focused
and that argued persuasively that significant harm could be done
by having a statement go out before it was resolved would almost
certainly result in the IETF and WG making no substantive
comment on this subject.  That is almost certainly worse than
any of the possible specific outcomes about what we might say.

And, again,

--On Tuesday, August 25, 2015 08:06 +0200 Richard Hill
<rhill@hill-a.ch> wrote:

> The IETF may or may not wish to comment on the entire plan,
> but I think that that discussion should take place on some
> other list, not on the list that was focusing only on the
> protocol parameters part.

I think this is important.  If the WG is going to make a
recommendation to the IETF that will then go through the normal
Last Call procedure, then I think it is reasonable to be
generous about scope and assume that any issues the IETF wants
to address differently will be sorted out there.  If the WG
wants to make a statement directly, or write one that will get
only pro forma IETF review, then I think it is obligated to
interpret its charter narrowly and confine itself to issues that
both fall within that narrow discussion and that it has
discussed in adequate depth.   Note that view is, I think,
slightly different from Richard's, but the conclusion about
focus may be largely the same.

best,
   john