Re: 'Paywall, ' IETF self-sufficiency, increasing participation (was Re: Remote participation fees)

Dave Crocker <> Wed, 25 February 2015 16:10 UTC

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Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2015 08:10:28 -0800
From: Dave Crocker <>
Organization: Brandenburg InternetWorking
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To: Eric Burger <>, " Discussion" <>
Subject: Re: 'Paywall, ' IETF self-sufficiency, increasing participation (was Re: Remote participation fees)
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On 2/25/2015 6:10 AM, Eric Burger wrote:
> Moving forward, what I was hoping to avoid was for people to think that because the IETF conference fees defer the costs of operating the IETF (the meeting itself, the secretariat, and a portion of the RFC Editor), that we have to try to squeeze every penny from all sources. That is not necessarily a bad mindset to have: we should be striving to be independent on the largesse of the Internet Society and their contributors if we can manage it. That is not an infinite pot of cash, and no one wants to be beholden to a single funding source. However, what I wanted to get out to the community is the message that the Internet Society believes deeply in expanding access to the IETF and the IETF process. If charging for remote access inhibits participation (the unfortunate ‘paywall’ comment), then I would have no problem at all suggesting the IETF (IAOC in specific) ask the Internet Society to fund remote participation. I think the Board (speaking as an individual, NOT in my role !
 as an In
ternet Society Trustee) would treat such a request sympathetically.

(To achieve a sufficiently broad base of funding that our loss of any
single source of revenue is tolerable would be particularly healthy.
However there really is nothing concrete in the IETF's current efforts
that will move us in that direction.  Some statements of desire, but
nothing that looks like an orchestrated plan or even a consistent

Note that our current participation model is:

  Free:  Email list discussion.
         Remote attendance, with poor-to-mediocre access

  Pay:   IETF Meeting f2f Attendance

What's being discussed here is presumably far better remote attendance

As it approaches adequacy as a replacement for the basic uses of f2f
meeting attendance, it's not automatically clear that it should be
excluded from having a fee.  And I say that in spite of my continuing
concern that the IETF effectively restrict serious participation by
those with constrained budgets (and/or time.)

We already have a model with a free/pay range of participation.  If we
consider the model independent of technical details, we might find
choices that make sense but still have charging for at least some forms
of remote attendance or at least some remote attendees.

Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking