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

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Sat, 14 September 2019 06:18 UTC

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Date: Sat, 14 Sep 2019 02:18:41 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Stephen Farrell <stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>, Mike StJohns <mstjohns@comcast.net>
cc: IETF <ietf@ietf.org>, RFC Interest <rfc-interest@rfc-editor.org>
Subject: Re: [rfc-i] IAB Seeks Feedback on Independent Submissions Editor
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--On Saturday, September 14, 2019 01:12 +0100 Stephen Farrell
<stephen.farrell@cs.tcd.ie>; wrote:

> 
> Mike, (but also addressing John):
> 
> On 14/09/2019 00:51, Mike StJohns wrote:
>> If Adrian will be reappointed regardless of the result of the
>> review, then there’s no obvious reason for gathering
>> review material between now and the expiration of the new
>> appointment period.
> Huh? Gathering, anonymising and providing feedback seems
> like a fairly obvious and entirely normal reason to me.
> Doing that every couple of years regardless of whatever
> else is going on also seems entirely unremarkable to me
> too.

Stephen,

I don't see any inconsistency between what Mike wrote (at least
as I understood it).   I think gathering feedback as you suggest
is entirely reasonable and appropriate.  All I've questioned is
the timing.  

If, as Mike suggests, Adrian will be reappointed regardless of
the result of the review and the IAB likes the month in which
the renewal cycle occurs, announce his appointment and then,
either immediately or at a time convenient to the community,
announce that you are soliciting feedback for his information
and that of the IAB.  Note that I did not say "conduct a review"
because, if the reappointment has already been made or will be
made regardless of the feedback, then there really is no review
in the sense of evaluation of the feedback results potentially
changing the outcome.

On the other hand, if the IAB really does want to conduct a
review and possibly even a request for nominations/suggestions
for who might be a better ISE than Adrian, then I continue to
believe this is the wrong time to do that.
 
> Honestly folks - those of you suspicious of the IAB and
> all our doings don't need to be quite so concerned. It
> is just not the case that everything the IAB does is
> shrouded in one of scheming or ineptitude;-)

I don't think hyperbole helps here.  I'm not suspicious of "all
your doings" and while there may be people in the community who
are, I think most of the postings of the last several weeks that
have addressed the IAB have been much more focused than that..
I do believe that there has been less transparency of late than
I think desirable and that the lack of transparency is
independent (although sometimes reinforcing) of what you
describe as "variously messed up".  Whether it is lack of
transparency or because the analysis has not been done, I
haven't seen reports to the community that analyze those "mess
ups" and explain what the IAB is doing to prevent recurrences
without in the process casting blame on others (especially IAB
appointees) or discussing what is being done to prevent similar
failures in the future.

If there have been significant disagreements within the IAB
about how to handle some of these things, both transparency and
the mechanisms the IETF uses to select its leadership suggest
that the community be told about that and be told who is taking
what positions.   In the presence of more than one mess up in a
relatively short period of time, anything else looks like what
is known on this side of the pond as circling the wagons. 

> I say that
> as an IAB member who does think the IAB has variously
> messed up recently.

And I appreciate your saying that because, up to this point and
at least as far as any messages I'm managed to read in recent
weeks are concerned, we still don't know whether there were
dissenting voices in the decisions (or failure to make
decisions) that led to the problems that the rest of the IAB
overruled or whether your recognition that there were problems
or mess ups came only after the difficulties occurred and the
community responded badly. Coming back to some of the earliest
postings on the RSE mess (Mike's notably), if no one on the IAB
saw even the possibility of at least some of these mess ups
occurring, that is something the community should know about if
only to help with feedback about what is needed in the IAB
membership profile for upcoming nominations and the nomcom's
evaluations.
 
> I can say that there have been no IAB discussions at
> all that I could see leading to any chance whatsoever
> that we cause the same kind of bad outcome as happened
> with the RSE.

I appreciate that information and hope others do to.
 
> Does that help assuage any suspicions or worries?

It does.  But I can still believe in bad timing even if I had no
suspicions or worries at all about this particular topic.

best,
   john