RE: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input

"Christian Huitema" <huitema@huitema.net> Mon, 23 May 2016 21:32 UTC

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From: "Christian Huitema" <huitema@huitema.net>
To: "'Paul Wouters'" <paul@nohats.ca>, <dcrocker@simon.songbird.com>
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Subject: RE: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input
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On Monday, May 23, 2016 9:23 AM, Paul Wouters wrote:
> ...
> According to https://www.ietf.org/blog/2016/04/ietf-95-summary/ we had
> 14% participation from the region at IETF-96. Those are people that were
new
> or possibly rarely attend. I can tell you that I would have never become
an
> active participant in IETF if during my first meeting I hadn't had so many
great
> face to face talks with people who took the time to help me with my ideas
and
> my (lack of) knowledge and procedures. That is quite unlike the mailing
lists,
> where things tend to get heated, buried and somewhat unpleasant.

Paul is onto something there. Most of the time, when I read messages on an
IETF mailing list, I can picture in my head the face of the writers and even
imagine the sense of their voice. I can often remember their priorities,
their personal point of view, and maybe discount some oratory effects. (Not
always, man is fallible :-). This helps a lot with assessing trust, getting
the subtext in the messages, etc. But I cannot do that with messages from
most newcomers, and the newcomers probably cannot do that with most
participants.

Our "remote meeting" efforts address the participation in discussions, but
they are still a bit dry. We do have mentoring efforts, but they seem to
only happen during meetings. If we do believe that personal communications
are important, maybe we should take that as an explicit target. Maybe some
form of electronic mentoring. Maybe some simple steps like making the
pictures of participants available somewhere. Maybe have people record video
greeting messages. Yes, you get some of the effect in meetings. But
technology has progressed somewhat since the 80's, and we ought to be able
to build personal contacts outside of meetings as well.

-- Christian Huitema