48 hour consultation on response to feedback on registration fees for IETF 108

IETF Executive Director <exec-director@ietf.org> Tue, 16 June 2020 04:12 UTC

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From: IETF Executive Director <exec-director@ietf.org>
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Subject: 48 hour consultation on response to feedback on registration fees for IETF 108
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Date: Mon, 15 Jun 2020 21:12:21 -0700
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The IETF Administration LLC has reviewed the feedback provided by the community in response to its decision regarding registration fees for IETF 108 [1] and invites further community feedback on proposed changes to address this feedback.

The LLC set new registration fees for IETF 108 [2] based on its understanding of its authority to set registration fees as detailed in RFC 8711 [3]. This was in response to the exceptional circumstances of deciding whether to meet in person and, if not, whether and how to hold a fully online meeting.  Because of the very short timescales the LLC decided that there was insufficient time to substantively consult with the community and so instead consulted solely with the IESG.

In retrospect, the decision not to consult with the community was a mistake as this deprived the community of an opportunity to express their views and for us to respond, and because that process was not consistent with the documented consensus guidance of RFC 8711.

Based on recent community feedback, the LLC proposes the following changes to address the other key concern expressed - that the new registration fees might prevent people from participating who would otherwise do so remotely and without fee if this were an in-person event:

- Unlimited Waivers: Remove the cap on the number of fee waivers available.[4]

- Clarify Honor System: Update the registration page to note the cost of the meeting and to clearly state that fee waivers are offered on a trust basis to those for whom the registration fee is a barrier to participation, with no requirement to demonstrate eligibility.

- Remove Waiver Deadline: Remove the deadline to request a fee waiver - this can occur up until the conclusion of the meeting.

- Refund Fees If Needed: If any participant has paid for a registration but now needs to apply for a waiver, they may do so by contacting the IETF Registrar at registrar@ietf.org

While this proposal is not made from a financial perspective, we do not expect any financial impact as the fee waiver system is intended for those people who would not otherwise pay the registration fee.  As one member of the community put it: [5]

    “IETF likes to experiment. So we should experiment with a trust
     model. Trust that only those who need the waiver will request it,
     and see what happens”.

We understand that this proposal will not address all of the community feedback, particularly the view that setting a fee for a fully online meeting requires community consensus.  However we believe this proposal will address the major practical issues raised and enable a successful meeting. These fees only apply to IETF 108 and so should not prejudice any future community discussions regarding fully online meetings.   Should IETF 109 or a later meeting move online and no new community consensus guidelines be available then we commit to engaging in a community consultation process as set out in RFC 8711 before making a decision.

Given that the meeting date is quite close and so operating on a compressed timetable, we invite feedback on this proposal within the next 48 hours (ending 18 June 2020 at 03:59 UTC).  The LLC can then review the feedback and implement a final decision before the currently published closure of the fee waiver period on 18 June 2020 at 23:59 UTC.

[1] https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ietf-announce/TH2O7LE5WyoG60A3ERoKVz53x2E/
[2] https://www.ietf.org/blog/ietf108-registration-fees/
[3] https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc8711#section-7.5 
[4] As of 11 June 2020, fifteen waivers had been requested.
[5] https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ietf/kZr2bc7Bw2jSWwx8HABIQb-Bo0Y/ 

Jay Daley
IETF Executive Director