Re: Last Call: <draft-moonesamy-ietf-conduct-3184bis-03.txt> (IETF Guidelines for Conduct) to Best Current Practice

S Moonesamy <> Fri, 08 November 2013 12:29 UTC

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Date: Fri, 08 Nov 2013 03:43:16 -0800
To: David Farmer <>
From: S Moonesamy <>
Subject: Re: Last Call: <draft-moonesamy-ietf-conduct-3184bis-03.txt> (IETF Guidelines for Conduct) to Best Current Practice
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Hi David,
At 16:29 07-11-2013, David Farmer wrote:
>In general I agree with keeping the particular issue of harassment 
>out of the draft.  However, there are some concepts in the 
>Anti-Harassment Policy that may be worthy of including.  I believe 
>the first paragraph of the policy is an excellent summary of what 
>the guidelines intend to achieve.
>    IETF meetings, virtual meetings, and mailing lists are intended for
>    professional collaboration and networking. The IETF strives to
>    create and maintain an environment in which people of many different
>    backgrounds are treated with dignity, decency, and respect. Those
>    who participate in the IETF are expected to behave according to
>    professional standards and demonstrate appropriate workplace
>    behavior.
>I'm not suggesting you simply insert that text, but maybe ensure all 
>of the ideas or concepts are embodied within the draft.  In 
>particular I'd like to see the concepts of "professional standards" 
>and/or "workplace behavior" more directly included.

I'll list some words from the text:

   - dignity

   - decency

   - respect

There is the following text in the draft:

   "Regardless of these individual differences, participants treat
    their colleagues with respect as persons ..."

There isn't any mention of the word "dignity" or "decency".  These 
two words usually appear in a code of ethics.  I would argue that 
"professional standards" and "workplace behavior" are influenced by 
social norms.  As an example, a speaker disclosed his affiliations in 
his opening remarks at the Technical Plenary.  The degree to which 
that is done varies.  People generally do not do that in a workplace 
as everyone works for the same company.  I am listed as the document 
editor of the draft.  It must have crossed people's minds whether I 
am doing it to get a vanity RFC.   It is unlikely that the average 
IETF participant would ask that question.

In some cultures it may be frowned upon if a person is 
confrontational.  Being confrontational may be considered as 
acceptable behavior in other cultures.

Let's say I add the word "professional" to the draft.  Someone will 
ask: what is the meaning of the word?  Is the person being 
difficult?  I don't think so.  What seems obvious to a person may not 
be that obvious to another person.  In essence, people would like to 
know what is acceptable or what is not acceptable.

>Additionally, a little shot of the "Golden Rule" wouldn't hurt 
>either, its always a good idea to remind people think about how they 
>would want to be treated if the roles were reversed.

There is the following sentence in the draft:

   "Seeing from another's point of view is often revealing even when it
    fails to be compelling."

The preceding sentence could be changed to:

   Regardless of these individual differences, participants treat their
   colleagues with respect as persons especially when it is difficult to
   agree with them; treat other participants as you would like to be treated.

and the "Seeing from ..." sentence be removed.

>Finally, in my opinion, part of being "professional" is to apologize 
>when from time-to-time we each act in an unprofessional manne, we 
>all fail occasionally.  And, regarding Appendix A, a simple polite 
>request for an apology is frequently the most professional, 
>appropriate, and expeditious coarse of action.

A person might have sent a hasty message or maybe the message was 
poorly worded.  Mistakes do happen.  I prefer not to explain that a 
meaningful apology might help to resolve the problem.  My reading of 
the word "meaningful" is that the person means what he or she says.

S. Moonesamy