Re: Updating BCP 10 -- round two

Donald Eastlake <> Wed, 11 February 2015 17:37 UTC

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From: Donald Eastlake <>
Date: Wed, 11 Feb 2015 12:37:26 -0500
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Subject: Re: Updating BCP 10 -- round two
To: "Murray S. Kucherawy" <>
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Some points on nomcom eligibility criterion:

(1) There is great virtue in simplicity and stability.

(2) No system will be perfect, for many reasons. Everyone's idea of
the perfect criterion is different and changes with time and
experience. Fully implementing any particular person's idea criterion
would, in almost all cases, be way to complex. See item 1.

(3) I see no reason for nomcom eligibility to be sticky. Seems like a
clear move towards an old boy network. If the criterion are good, they
should do a reasonable job of identifying who should be eligible at
any particular point of time. See items 1 and 2.

(4) Over the years, there has been a marked increase in the stridency
of efforts to get more and more volunteers. I never quite understood
this. The claim is almost always made that a bigger pool of volunteers
is more "representative" and always better but, in an organization
with no membership, this is completely meaningless. While too small a
pool (say, less than 42) would be problematic, IETF participants cover
a vast range of interest and involvement and it seems pretty clear to
me that we want only those with relatively high interest and
involvement. Pushing people to volunteer who would not otherwise have
volunteered, on balance, causes more volunteers with a low level of
interest or involvement. I have been on 4 nomcoms, once as chair, once
as past chair, and twice as a voting member. In every case, there was
a voting member that was pretty much deadwood - either doing notably
less than any other voting member or doing almost nothing. In those 4
cases, I'm not aware of any special extenuating circumstances - they
just turned out not to be that interested in doing the work - and
those 4 nomcoms decided to continue with only 9 really active voting
members. Perhaps if the volunteer recruitment was less strident, this
would be less common, but there is obviously always a chance of it
happening for a variety of reasons. So it seems to me to make sense to
have one or two alternates who would not vote unless a voter was

(5) I think the current criteria are pretty good, maybe 80% of ideal.
But, hey, pretty much ignoring my own points 1 and 2 above, I might as
well say what I would do if I had a magic wand: The attendance
requirement could be relaxed some to 3 out of 7 or the like and a
requirement should be added that the volunteer have been either a
shepherd or front page author/editor of an IETF stream RFC issued
within the past 4 years or served on the IESG or IAB within the past 4
years. (I don't see any reason to add WG Chairmanship as, to a first
order approximation, they should have been a document shepherd if
their WG did anything.) But you can see that this is already more than
twice as complex as the existing criteria and still isn't perfect in
any sense. But it is my feeling that this change, if it could ever get
through, would improve the criteria to maybe 90 to 95% of ideal...


PS: I think Allison's suggested text is good.
 Donald E. Eastlake 3rd   +1-508-333-2270 (cell)
 155 Beaver Street, Milford, MA 01757 USA