Re: [Idna-update] [I18nrp] FWD: Re: [I18n-discuss] draft-faltstrom-unicode11, i18n "directorate", and related issues

Ted Hardie <> Thu, 06 December 2018 21:38 UTC

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From: Ted Hardie <>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2018 13:38:01 -0800
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To: John C Klensin <>
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Subject: Re: [Idna-update] [I18nrp] FWD: Re: [I18n-discuss] draft-faltstrom-unicode11, i18n "directorate", and related issues
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On Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 12:23 AM John C Klensin <>; wrote:

> Ted,
> I'm not sure whether we disagree or not.   So let me try a
> shorter comment that gets to the bottom line.
As I said before, the ADs have described this as a directorate and have
said that this will use that accountability model.  I think that's clear,
and I'm fine with it.  Presuming that this is a general understanding, I
see no reason for objecting and I do not plan to appeal.

Two smaller points below.

> (1) This <whatever> is going to be required to advise the ART
> ADs and, at their option, the IESG and/or the broader community,
> on i18n strategic questions.  There is no requirement on anyone
> to take their advice and the membership is presumably recruited,
> appointed, and serves at the pleasure of the ART ADs.
> (2) This <whatever> is, as Marc pointed out about PRECIS, going
> to get requests for help with profiles and the like.  Some of
> those requests may come from outside the ART Area.  Again, there
> is no requirement on anyone to take the advice that results
> although I would certainly hope that the community and the IESG
> would look on departures from it (or a deliberate effort to
> avoid asking) with some skepticism.   That is similar to, but at
> least initially with far less nominal authority than or various
> Doctor teams. For example, I'm not anticipating an
> entry/question in Shepherd templates although that would clearly
> be up to the IESG.
> (3) I am imagine interactions between the <whatever> or its
> members and the EDU team about needed and useful training
> activities and how to staff them.  Such questions would
> presumably be under the supervision of the ART ADs in addition
> to the overall supervision of the EDU team by the IESG.   I
> don't see anything different or problematic there and, again, no
> one would be obligated to take the <whatever>'s advice.
> I believe that the EDU team is also formally a directorate, under GEN:

> (4) At their discretion, the ART ADs could cut the <whatever>
> out of the loop entirely on a particular document.   I'd expect
> at least some of the members of that group to respond badly,
> either resigning, complaining loudly that the ART ADs were
> deliberately excluding input and then providing that input as
> individuals during IETF Last Call, or both, but I don't imagine
> the existence of the <whatever) would create, e.g., any appeal
> rights that do not exist today.
> (5) Strategic advice that the <whatever> might offer the ART
> ADs, or at their discretion, publicly to the community, might be
> similar to (whether consistent or not) advice that might
> ordinarily, at at its discretion, come from the IAB.  That is,
> AFAICT, no different from other directorates (or for that
> matter, individuals) offering strategic advice -- insofar as the
> IAB advice should get priority over that of others, it should be
> because of the quality of thinking and explanation it reflects,
> not because it comes _From The IAB_ or the pixie dust that is
> sprinkled over it every March.   More generally, not only are
> the ART ADs (or the IESG more broadly) not required to
> prioritize advice from the <whatever> over advice from the IAB
> (or vice versa), they are not required to accept either and
> neither the <whatever> nor the IAB have any specific rights in
> that matter.
> Now, if we had a huge supply of expertise, I could see some very
> strong arguments, starting with just sharing the load, for
> trying to parse those functions into separate bodies/ teams.
> But we don't have such a supply -- if we did and things were
> working well in traditional ways, there never would have been a
> BOF, the non-decomposing character issue would have been
> addressed a couple of years ago rather than being turned into an
> IAB statement that arguably added to the confusion,
> draft-faltstrom-unicode11 would not be trying to address four
> versions of Unicode at once, and so on.  So, do you have a
> suggestion -- preferably one that has not already been tried and
> been abandoned and does not involve Command Action or
> Proclamation -- for solving the problem of being unable to
> progress i18n documents, especially those that are intrinsically
> interrelated whether they say so or not?
I have two pieces of advice, neither of which is  a suggestion for a
different way forward.

The first is that a task not on this list (but which was on the longer list
you posted earlier) is among the most important in my opinion: develop new
expertise within the IETF, either by attraction or education.  If that is a
task given to this directorate, then I earnestly hope that it is close to
the top priority.   It's not a trivial task, and I sadly have no great
strategies to offer, but without it the long term prospect of effective
work by the IETF in this area is dim.

The second is that this list of tasks, even before that addition, is very
long for the pool of folks we have at hand.  Clear prioritization by the
ADs to the directorate would be very useful.  Without it, I suspect the
pace of requests for review will create a drum-beat to which the
directorate will march; that often happens to ADs with the bi-weekly
telechat, and it tends to happen by default to the groups on which they

As I said, not a suggestion for a different way; simply my observations on
this way.


(As an individual)

> --On Wednesday, December 5, 2018 14:55 -0800 Ted Hardie
> <>; wrote:
> > John,
> >
> > On Wed, Dec 5, 2018 at 2:02 PM John C Klensin
> > <>; wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>
> >> --On Tuesday, December 4, 2018 19:30 -0800 S Moonesamy
> >> <>; wrote:
> >>
> >> > Hi John,
> >> > At 01:56 PM 04-12-2018, John C Klensin wrote:
> >> >> As the last part of the note below will make obvious (I was
> >> >> planning on noting it to this list separately) I decided to
> >> >> summarize what I believe the discussion was about to the
> >> >> IDNA-update, EAI, PRECIS, and IAB i18n-discuss lists to
> >> >> lower the odds that someone who should be participating in
> >> >> the discussion is accidentally left out of the loop.
> >> >
> >> > The proposal sounds like a cross between a working group
> >> > and a directorate.
> >>
> >> To a considerable extent, it is a cross between a working
> >> group, a directorate, and a review team.   See my recent long
> >> note.
> >>
> >>
> > There are critical differences in membership among these
> > three.  In the case of a working group, all IETF working
> > groups are open to all comers. Generally, review teams are
> > closed but have their work evaluated by an open group,  and
> > they may be self-organized as well as assigned by chairs or
> > ADs.    Directorates serve at the pleasure of specific ADs.
> > The accountability models in each of these is quite different
> > as a result of the different membership models.
> >
> > If I understand correctly from conversations with them since
> > yesterday, the ADs are constituting a directorate and
> > associating that membership model and that accountability
> > model with the effort.  That's clear, and I'm fine with it.
> > Continuing to say it is a cross between or among other models
> > makes me concerned again, though, that there is some
> > mis-communication going on.
> >
> >
> >
> >> >  I gather that directorate is not an exact fit if
> >> > it operates as a review team.
> >>
> >> But this is where we go into either a rathole or a procedural
> >> swamp that wastes time and frustrates some of the relevant
> >> experts into deciding to spend their time in other ways.
> >> Certainly, if they wanted to, the ART ADs could propose
> >> setting up three (in the extreme case) separate groups, a
> >> directorate to advise them on i18n strategy, a review team to
> >> evaluate both in-area and out-of-area (but primarily
> >> out-of-area) documents with i18n topics or impacts, and a WG
> >> to generate new i18n work and process documents.  They could
> >> then consider the fairly small number of experts available
> >> (both by knowledge and ability and willingness to commit) to
> >> populate such groups and do i18n work and respond by (at
> >> least mostly) appointing the same people to the first two
> >> groups and encourage them to join/participate in the third.
> >> If only because of a shortage of volunteers, they might even
> >> appoint the same chairs/coordinators for all three.  Then
> >> they could figure out a way to make it clear which hat people
> >> were wearing when they said something and be prepared for
> >> complaints (or even appeals) when it wasn't sufficiently
> >> clear.
> >>
> >> Seems to me like a huge opportunity to waste time, spend
> >> energy on procedures that would be better spent on
> >> substantive work, and drive experts away from participation
> >> and the IETF and that it would have absolutely no advantages
> >> other than impressive ritual correctness.   YMMD.
> >>
> >>
> > While I generally like a good ritual (it's that background as
> > an anthropologist), I cannot agree that something that touches
> > on the accountability model is uselessly procedural. As I am
> > sure you are aware, some of the issues in this area have both
> > large sums of money and large-scale political implications at
> > stake; being able to describe exactly the scope of the power
> > allotted to a group and from whom is one way of avoiding
> > expensive confusion later on.
> >
> >> A directorate review cannot block a draft.
> >>
> >> Of course not.  Nor can a review team review or, by itself, a
> >> WG decision to not proceed with a draft.   An AD could take
> >> input from any of them and use it to block a draft or could
> >> proceed anyway (in the WG case by changing WG leadership,
> >> spinning up a separate WG, or handle the draft as an
> >> individual submission). Do you see enough difference there to
> >> justify quibbling over what this is called or creating new
> >> and elaborate procedures?  I don't but, again, YMMD.
> >>
> >> >  As Ted pointed out, it would be up to the Area
> >> > Director to take the decision on whether to "block" a draft.
> >>
> >> Exactly.   And that decision would be subject to pushback from
> >> other ADs in the Area, the full IESG, and to potential
> >> appeals. We have lots of protection against abuse against
> >> unreasonable blocking behavior... by anyone or any group.
> >>
> >> If we are clear that the model is that of a directorate and
> >> that the ADs
> > are the ones responsible, I agree.  In an open working group,
> > the mode by which one pushes back on a decision is very
> > different, though, which is part of why I continue to be
> > concerned at descriptions that make this a cross between or
> > among models.
> >
> > regards,
> >
> > Ted
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >>     john
> >>
> >>