Re: [rfc-i] IAB Seeks Feedback on Independent Submissions Editor

Nico Williams <> Sat, 14 September 2019 08:04 UTC

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Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2019 03:04:16 -0500
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From: Nico Williams <>
To: Melinda Shore <>
Cc: Randy Bush <>, Eric Rescorla <>, IETF Rinse Repeat <>
Subject: Re: [rfc-i] IAB Seeks Feedback on Independent Submissions Editor
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On Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 06:15:08PM -0800, Melinda Shore wrote:
> On 9/13/19 5:32 PM, Randy Bush wrote:
> >> [0] To the extent to which one believes -- mistakenly, IMO -- that
> >> traffic on the ietf@ list ought to be taken as a proxy for the views
> >> of the community.
> > ok.  i'll bite.  you have another suggestion that is not a closed space
> > with important people breathing each others' smoke?

We could limit the general list to announcements and IETF Last Calls.

Discussion of the sort that might not be possible to settle due to the
fact that no consensus call is involved, plus strong opinions from
forceful personalities, should be OK to start here provided it then
moves elsewhere.

> This is something we're going to need to deal with at some point -
> some number of community participants have indicated that they do
> not subscribe to ietf@ because of the volume/tone/low signal-to-
> noise ratio.  Those are people who are part of the community and
> not participating here.  We have never made an explicit decision
> to discount the views of people who can't/won't tolerate this
> mailing list but it's effectively what we're doing, I think.

Well, if they don't subscribe and participate because of volume and
noise-to-signal ratio, then arguably they're helping :/  OTOH, this list
is very important process-wise, yet here we are making it a DDoS on its
subscribers by filling it with noise.  If all IETF participants started
participating on this list, the resulting cacophony would make the past
few months' worth of archives feel like a peaceful walk in the park.

As for tone, it certainly doesn't keep me away, for whatever that's
worth, but the volume and the noise?  Oh yeah, that does.  Yet here I
am...  not helping :(  Others might be kept out by tone, but whatever
the causes for any one person, we almost certainly can't scale this list
to all IETF participants being active on it.

This was a thread about ISE, and once more we have (potentially, unless
everyone else can just not bite) a thread about about tone.  Every
thread (every thread!) seems likely to devolve into being a continuation
of the acrimonious debates we've been having lately that aren't
consensus calls, so there's no way to settle them.

> I don't know if that's the problem that EKR has in mind but I do
> think that it's one reason that the while the views expressed here
> are basically definitive, in terms of IETF process, they don't
> necessarily reflect the actual views of the community.  (Maybe
> someone is willing to argue that that the people who remove themselves
> are randomly distributed with respect to the community but I
> seriously hope not).

I've no idea about that distribution.  I won't suppose it's uniform, or
that that matters.  There are probably many IETF LCs where we need only
miss one particular voice to possibly cause serious problems.

However, I suspect that most IETF participants who do not subscribe here
are WG participants who contribute to the development of WG work items
and aren't too interested in how the IETF process, and the IETF itself,
evolve.  For a long time that was a fair description of me, and the
noise from this list did not keep me so much as just not needing it at
all in my life.  It takes more than passing interest in such things to
participate here -- there's legal and business knowledge, experience,
and skills that one must have in order to really move the needle and not
merely add to the noise.  It's almost like a WG -- I don't participate
in most WGs...