Re: How to get diversity of nominees was Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

Vittorio Bertola <> Wed, 27 January 2021 09:12 UTC

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Date: Wed, 27 Jan 2021 10:12:35 +0100
From: Vittorio Bertola <>
To: "STARK, BARBARA H" <>, "" <>
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Subject: Re: How to get diversity of nominees was Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
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> Il 26/01/2021 19:26 STARK, BARBARA H <> ha scritto:
> IIRC, all the nominees were WG Chairs. This is generally considered an intermediary step towards the NomCom-appointed leadership positions. I strongly suspect (but don't feel incented to get real statistics) that the nominee pool diversity reasonably resembled WG Chair diversity, but that WG Chair diversity does not reflect attendee diversity. It may be useful to focus on how to increase WG Chair diversity. I actually think there are some rather simple-to-implement ideas that could move this in the "right" direction (where "right" => leadership diversity = regular attendee diversity).

I think that there is an implicit assumption underlying this, which is that the IETF leadership is meant to be made only by people who are very good and experienced at writing RFCs and shepherding the related process. 

I am not challenging that assumption, but of course that assumption will always restrict the leadership to a narrow set of professional profiles. 

On the other hand, the complaints about lack of diversity at the IETF have often been not just about the stats of its participants and leadership, but about its inability to consider the perspectives of stakeholder groups different than "senior engineers from the developed world".

However, the people who could be able to supply different perspectives are unlikely to have the attitude, the skills and the time necessary to follow a ten-year document author -> WG Chair -> AD path. These are people who participate in meetings and contribute comments and text here and there, but never go beyond that, no matter how many efforts you make, simply because they are not interested nor able to be good WG Chairs.

As I said, I am not necessarily challenging the idea that the leadership is to be made of great standards process managers; that kind of different perspectives could be achieved through other organizational elements (which however currently do not seem to exist). But if you are concerned about the lack of diversity in leadership, first of all you should be sure of what you want it for, and then design processes accordingly.

Vittorio Bertola | Head of Policy & Innovation, Open-Xchange 
Office @ Via Treviso 12, 10144 Torino, Italy