Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?

Keith Moore <> Mon, 19 April 2021 17:42 UTC

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Subject: Re: What's the alternative to "snarling"?
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From: Keith Moore <>
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Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2021 13:42:13 -0400
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On 4/19/21 1:30 PM, Randy Presuhn wrote:

> Agree. But that requires careful listening to their ideas, as well
> as a willingness to examine dogma.
And the amount of careful listening required is often roughly the same 
for a Bad Idea versus a promising idea.   Wrapping your head around 
someone else's idea is hard work, especially when you have to re-examine 
deeply held assumptions to do so.   Also the difference between a really 
Bad Idea and a more promising idea might be subtle, as in: if you make 
this slight change, it would be a much better idea.   So you not only 
need to examine the presumably bad idea but also some amount of 
variation around that idea.

> Too often, the ideas aren't actually bad, but rather are at odds with
> some relatively arbitrary choice a WG has made in the past, and that
> decision has since ossified into an article of faith.  Consciously or
> unconsciously, there seems to be reluctance to admit that an
> original choice might in any way have been arbitrary or unconsidered,
> much less admit that it may have with time proven to be suboptimal,
> even as protocols are pressed to handle situations well outside their
> original design parameters.  Perhaps it's just human nature to be
> unwilling to admit that one's beautiful baby has developed
> into an ugly juvenile delinquent, as much as we might love that
> delinquent and in any case be stuck with them.
> This is where diplomacy comes in: there's a big difference between
> admitting that an idea might be a good one, but has come at the wrong
> time, and just snarling "Bad Idea" or doing the "bzzzt, thank you for
> playing" that I remember ADs and WG chairs using to squelch discussion.


I wish I knew of a way to quickly filter or refute truly bad ideas in 
order to leave more time/energy for the better ideas. And assuming it's 
possible, a way to teach that skill to everyone in IETF.