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

John C Klensin <> Sat, 21 May 2016 21:50 UTC

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Date: Sat, 21 May 2016 17:50:12 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Brian E Carpenter <>,
Subject: Re: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input
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--On Sunday, May 22, 2016 09:00 +1200 Brian E Carpenter
<> wrote:

> On 22/05/2016 08:13, John C Klensin wrote:
>> Jordi,
>> I am almost completely in agreement with Ted's comment and
>> summary which are, I think, exceptionally reasonable and
>> well-balanced.
> I agree, but I also agree with Jordi. The main reason for
> having a diversity policy is ethical and moral, but there's
> also a 'business' reason - making use of everybody's talents
> to the maximum - and that surely is the fundamental reason for
> the whole site selection policy anyway. It certainly isn't
> providing tourist and vacation opportunities for family
> members. So...
> <snip>
> ...
>> In particular, "nice place to bring family or companion(s)" is
>> either a selection criterion or it isn't.  I'm not talking
>> about where it is in the list of priorities and tradeoffs;
>> I'm talking about whether or not it is on the list.
> It could be on the list if we believe that it has a significant
> impact on attendance and therefore on financial viability. But
> that's surely secondary to 'getting the work done' and
> 'getting the best range of people to the meeting'.

Again, I have no problem with putting it on the list if that is
what the community decides is appropriate.  My only concern is
that, if the community makes that decision, then there is no
longer an option of saying to some particular subset of the
community "well, too bad, you don't get to bring your family
even though we can bring ours because your note being able to
bring your family doesn't interfere with getting the work done
or otherwise having a successful meeting".   Putting that into
the terms you use above, we should decide that ability to bring
families, or a nice environment for companions, or whatever the
issue is, should be on the list of criteria only if we consider
it important to getting the work done and/or getting the best
range of people to the meeting.  But, if we make a decision that
"family-friendly" or "companion-friendly" is part of a
successful meeting, then it needs to apply to everyone, not some
privileged or locally politically-acceptable subset.

>> If it is on the list,
>> then I think there is an absolute responsibility on the
>> Meetings Committee and IAOC to select only those locations
>> where everyone in the community who is inclined to bring
>> non-participants along can do so.   No one gets to say (I
>> don't think you have, but a few others have come close) "It
>> is ok if your particular family doesn't feel comfortable
>> coming because our main priority is getting work done".
>> Either "nice for companions" is a criterion or it isn't and,
>> if it is, then it needs to apply to _all_ plausible
>> companions.
> Certainly, if we consider it, even as a secondary criterion,
> it needs to have a non-discriminatory effect, for moral,
> ethical *and* business reasons.

>> As to Singapore, if the conclusion is that we should hold IETF
>> 100 there (or that we can't plausibly extricate ourselves),
>> I'm strongly drawn to the suggestion I think I heard Ted make
>> at the plenary, that, out of respect for his situation and
>> that of others, _no one_ should bring a family or other
>> companions to Singapore.
> I'm not sure how realistic that is, but I can no longer resist
> a comment that may be politically incorrect but to my mind
> shows how complex this discussion could easily get.
> I love Chicago. But some stupidity in the US system means that
> citizens there are now able to carry concealed guns pretty
> much anywhere anytime. I will no longer feel comfortable there
> next time I visit. I'm not sure I'd want to bring family
> members to such a dangerous environment (and the same went for
> the last meeting in Dallas). So by your logic, no_one should
> bring family or a companion to IETF 98.

The analogy does not work.  First, there is the point that has
been made several times on the list (most recently by Melinda
today).  State-prohibited (i.e., illegal) behavior is different
from environmental risks.  

But let me push the analogy a bit further.  First, I grew up in
a place where "open carry" (i.e., people can carry just about
whatever weapons they like as long as they are in plain sight)
was the norm going back to the 1940s and 1950s and probably
still is.  Probably that makes me feel a little less
uncomfortable about the idea that someone might be carrying a
gun (whether I can see it or not) than you are, even though I
don't like the idea and prefer places with stronger gun-carrying
restrictions (I note that is, at least historically, by not
means a universal view in the IETF).  If there were enough
people who felt strongly about gun-risk (or, in principle, the
risks associated with _not_ being able to carry guns) to affect
participant attendance or meeting effectiveness, I'd certainly
hope that the meetings committee would consider it in selecting
sites.     However, that is the second place your analogy breaks
down -- you may be willing to take risks for yourself (e.g., "go
to Chicago and risk some loony with a gun") that you are not
willing to take for your family, but that is your personal risk
assessment, not fundamentally an IETF issue unless assessments
like yours are likely to affect meeting attendance.  Again,
again, in Melissa's terms, the issues are environmental, not
state action.

A more interesting analogy is that there are some potential
meeting cities with fairly horrible air quality.  That isn't
just a statement about the obvious location in East Asia -- the
IETF has met, or considered meeting, multiple times in European,
especially Eastern European, cities that, at a poorly-chosen
time of year, have had air quality poor enough to constitute a
health threat to those of us with chronic respiratory problems.
That is also not a matter of state action -- no one is going to
arrest me for breathing -- but, if I go to such a place and am
not _really_ careful, I can have breathing problems that are
potentially life-threatening and from which it can take me a
long time to recover.  Now, I do expect the site selection
process to take "some likely participants will be unable to
breathe" into account.  If the numbers of those who won't come
are likely to be high enough to reduce meeting effectiveness (or
reduce the credibility of any decisions that might be reached,
even tentatively), then I expect they will decide against that
city as a meeting site.  On the other hand, if they decide we
should meet there, I would expect them to be open to a
conversation about reasonable accommodations, e.g., doing some
surveying and making information available to help me find a
hotel room where air is sufficiently filtered that I can sleep
and breathe at night.  I even believe that, on the same
principle of reasonable accommodation, the IAOC should be
willing to pick up at least part of the marginal costs if such a
room and associated facilities turn out to be much more
expensive than the "normal" IETF spaces.   I'd expect the same
accommodation model for people needing crutches/wheelchairs if
the IETF chose to meet in a location where elevators/ lifts were
not generally available and ground floor rooms were either hard
to get or significantly more expensive than upper floors.

Again, for that sort of case, no one is going to arrest me and
throw me in jail for wheezing.  And there are no laws that allow
or encourage them to do so, whether those laws are actively
enforced or not.