Re: Re: [IAB] Last Call: Modern Global Standards Paradigm

Michael StJohns <mstjohns@comcast.net> Mon, 13 August 2012 03:03 UTC

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Date: Sun, 12 Aug 2012 23:03:16 -0400
To: Glen Zorn <glenzorn@gmail.com>,ietf@ietf.org
From: Michael StJohns <mstjohns@comcast.net>
Subject: Re: Re: [IAB] Last Call: Modern Global Standards Paradigm
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Glen and others - 

I wanted to go back and comment on the assertion that Glen made that the IETF and IAB chairs do not "'represent' [him] or any one other than themselves".  I believe he is correct with respect to himself, and incorrect with respect to the IETF.

I agree the IETF is not a "representative democracy", the IESG and IAB (and not the IETF) are probably best described as electoral meritocracies.  We randomly select "electors" from a "qualified" pool which self-selects mostly from the set of all participants which in turn selects the IESG and the IAB from that set of all participants.  I'm pretty sure that Carsten was using "elect" to describe that process.

While the IESG and IAB may not speak for the IETF participants, they de facto and de jure do speak for the IETF.  It's a subtle difference, but an important one.  [CF the various RFCs detailing the responsibilities and duties of the IESG, IAB and their respective chairs, the RFCs detailing the standards process, and the various liaison's that have been arranged over the years.]

I've noted over the years that the constituency of IETF participants tends to have bouts with BSDS - back seat driver syndrome, and this is mostly not helpful.  We (referring to the broad set of IETF participants going back 25+ years) have over time evolved and agreed upon various ways of moving forward for generally accepted values of "forward".  Those ways include having granted the IESG the power to set the standards agenda, the IAB to negotiate and approve liaison agreements with standards bodies, the IESG to ultimately approve the standards, and the IESG, IETF Chair and IAB chair to declare a perception of consensus.  


We (the participants) have reserved to ourselves the rights jointly and severally to comment on all of the above, to be heard on even items delegated to the IESG and IAB and at times to carp and cavil on every single point of order.  Some of this is good for the process.  But we go too far way too often.  

In this case, the IAB, IESG and their respective chairs are doing the jobs we've asked them to do.  Russ, correctly I believe, asked for objections to the issuance of such statement, he didn't ask for consensus.  I also believe it would have been well within the current job description of the IAB and IETF Chairs to just go ahead and sign the thing.

I think it comes down to this:

If you (an IETF participant) have an objection to the statement, make it here.

If you have an objection to the process in general then - form your objections, write an ID, and socialize what you want changed.   If consensus shows you correct, it will apply down the line.

If you have a belief that the process has been violated, it's appropriate to make that point, but give details rather than vague intimations.

If you have an objection related to the members of the IESG or IAB performance, make them to the Nomcom or offer yourself as a candidate if you think you can do better or both.

We've - collectively, through process established over many years - selected a team of our colleagues to perform a circumscribed set of tasks.  Efficiency suggests we should mostly stand back and let them get on with it.

Mike



At 10:06 PM 8/11/2012, Glen Zorn wrote:
>On Sat, 2012-08-11 at 17:13 +0200, Carsten Bormann wrote: 
>>
>>
>>On Aug 11, 2012, at 16:41, Dave Crocker <<mailto:dhc@dcrocker.net>dhc@dcrocker.net> wrote:
>>
>>> consensus-oriented process
>>
>>Sometimes, though, you have to act.
>>
>>While a consensus-oriented process*) document could certainly be used to improve (or deteriorate) the document by a couple more epsilons, I agree with Randy Bush: Signing it now is a no-brainer.
>>
>>Grüße, Carsten
>>
>>*) Well there was a call for comments, and it already supplied the first such set of epsilons.  
>>That may have to do when time is of the essence.
>>
>>(That's also what you choose your leadership for.  
>>If we don't like the outcome, we can always decide not to re-elect Russ :-)
>
>Did the IETF morph into a representative democracy while I was sleeping?  Last time I checked, Russ was the chair of a committee of managers, chosen by a random selection of proles who may or may not have taken the opinions of others into account in that selection.  He was not "elected", nor does he "speak for the IETF"; ditto for Bernard.  If they wish to sign this statement (with which I, by and large, agree, BTW), that's fine.  If they wish to list all their titles (IETF-bestowed & otherwise), degrees, etc., that's fine, too, but not if the intent is to imply that they somehow "represent" me or any one other than themselves.  If support by IETF members at-large is to be signified, then an online petition of some sort would be a much better idea & much less deceptive.
>
>>
>>
>>