Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100

IAOC Chair <iaoc-chair@ietf.org> Wed, 25 May 2016 22:08 UTC

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From: IAOC Chair <iaoc-chair@ietf.org>
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Subject: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100
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All,

In the IAOC's previous message on this topic we stated that the IAOC believed that it is possible to hold a successful meeting in Singapore, and that meeting in Singapore is the best option for IETF 100.  This statement was based on several factors, including evaluation of the site based on the requirements and process now being updated and tracked in draft-baker-mtgvenue-iaoc-venue-selection-process-02.  In particular, this included consulting with the additional information sources identified in the document (specialty travel services, etc), and no specific issues were identified as to actual situation in Singapore.  More detail on the information we have to hand is provided below.

Additional arguments have come forward since our earlier messages,  which leads us to continue exploring.  The IETF Chair has been in touch with the meeting host, which is obviously another factor in whether we can/should move.   But we need to make a decision, so this message contains such information as we have at present.  We understand that it is difficult to express a view about what to do in the absence of known alternatives; but we do not know what the alternatives are now, and we need urgently to make a decision, so we are sharing the incomplete information we have in the interests of transparency.


Laying this out in a pro/con format:


Not Singapore:
--------------

If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward positive impacts include:

	. We might have the opportunity to establish the meeting in a venue that permits more IETF participants to be comfortable being present and engaging in a celebration of this milestone meeting, which is important to some.



If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward negative impacts include:

	. Losing approximately $80,000 (USD) hotel agreement cancellation fee[1]

	. Losing up to approximately $150,000 (USD) in Singapore government incentives [2]

	. Re-prioritizing people time to find a new location (the IAD, Secretariat staff) who have full plates for lining up other future meetings; there’s an unknown amount of impact in terms of how that impacts *other* meetings (N.B.:  some of this effort is already underway to obtain the information on possible alternatives and outline the pros/cons outlined here).

	. Likelihood of IETF 100 in Asia is very small — we have few prospects and it takes us months to get all the pieces aligned to get to a signed contract in Asia (Singapore took over a year).  This would create additional challenges for our Asian community members (travel distance, visas).

	. Possible shift of dates — to be able to find a venue elsewhere that works

We have some wiggle room in the point about time to find a new venue insofar as it would be easiest to use a North American site that we have used before.   If we have to consider non-North American, and/or new venues where a site visit is needed, effort and cost will be higher.

Note, we should only cancel the Singapore contract once we know that an alternative venue, that is acceptable to community, is ready to put under contract.   The cost of cancellation ($80k now) goes up to $192k if we don’t cancel before November 2016 (i.e., a few months from now).


We do have to give the hotel a reason for canceling our contract:

Reasons for Cancellation of IETF 100 Meeting in Singapore, and the IAOC understands that to be:

“    Singapore laws against same-sex relationships between men and
    preventing the recognition of same-sex marriages could create
    difficulties for same-sex partners and their children; these have
    discouraged affected members of our community from participating
    at the IETF meeting in November of 2017 and have also influenced
    others to decline to attend in principled solidarity with them.


    Accordingly, the IETF has decided to postpone indefinitely the meeting
    in Singapore and is pursuing alternative venues.”



If we stick with Singapore for IETF 100:
----------------------------------------

If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward
positive impacts include:

	. we have a functional meeting venue set for our 3rd meeting of 2017

	. meeting site research resources can remain focused on filling in the remaining gaps in the 3-4 year timeframe

	. we don’t have the financial hit of the cancellation fee, and possible loss of government incentives

If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward negative impacts include:

	. we have a meeting at a location where some community members will perceive themselves as unwelcome and unsafe, unable to bring family

	. possibly fewer attendees than we might otherwise expect — which is a consideration for both getting work done and financial reasons (registration fees per person)







The above is the practical information as we can best scope it.


If you would like to provide some considered feedback on this matter, please feel free to send it to venue-selection@ietf.org .  Please note that mailing list is a PUBLICLY archived “drop box” [3].


Leslie Daigle, for the IAOC.


[1] The cancellation fee can be recovered if it is used as a deposit at a later meeting with those hotels in Singapore, if it is before 2020; for this discussion, it’s perhaps best to consider it gone.

[2] Government business incentives are not unusual; we might obtain these in another country hosting IETF 100, but we are late to be expecting incentives and opportunities for good deals, and are unlikely to get this in a North America venue.

[3] The venue-selection mailing list is not open for subscription, and it is not intended to archive dynamic conversations (i.e., don’t cc it on an e-mail discussion thread, because there will be too many addressees and your mail won’t go through).

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Leslie Daigle
Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
ldaigle@thinkingcat.com
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