Re: The Next Generation

S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com> Wed, 11 September 2019 22:13 UTC

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Date: Wed, 11 Sep 2019 15:12:17 -0700
To: Nico Williams <nico@cryptonector.com>, ietf@ietf.org
From: S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com>
Subject: Re: The Next Generation
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Hi Nico,
At 12:47 PM 11-09-2019, Nico Williams wrote:
>Did the SAAs call out Sayre's post as off-topic??  I didn't notice.  But
>you know, there's so much noise on this list lately...  If they said
>nothing even privately, then frankly that would be another stain on
>their recent performance.  We can't quite know if they objected
>privately, of course, so it's hard to say.

I don't know whether the Sergeant-at-arms pointed out that the 
message wsa off-topic.  My comment was about the message which I was 
sending instead of the message from Mr Sayre.  The aftermath of the 
last intervention(s) made it very difficult to discourage postings to 
the mailing list.

>Not quite so.  We're a VOLUNTEER organization.  That means we're
>self-selected.  ADs don't get to select participants.  ADs may get to
>select or help select chairs for WGs, but that's about it.

I gather that the point in the above is that participation in the 
organization is voluntary.  I was reading a 2013 message in which it 
is mentioned that the organization has a bad reputation in other 
communities.  People who are unfamiliar with the IETF style of 
discussion would be reluctant to get involved in mailing list 
discussions.  When I look at the mailing  list, I see emails from 
about the same persons as in 2013.

>Now, some volunteers are asked by their employers to work on IETF
>matters, some by their customers, and others do it for other reasons.

Ok.

>In principle the IETF could ask employers to be more, er, discriminating
>as to who they assign to work at the IETF.  I wonder what the EEOC in
>the U.S. would think of that, were the IETF to do such a thing.  I can
>imagine lawsuits.  So before the IETF does any such thing, I'd recommend
>talking to lawyers.  In any case, that leaves all other self-selected
>volunteers free to self-select.

The person(s) transmitting that message on behalf of the IETF might 
end up getting the IETF involved in the internal matters of some 
other organization(s).  A lawyer might ask why the person is even 
doing that as it does sound like a bad idea at the outset.

>IETF leadership is another story.  Though again, one wonders what the
>EEOC would think of the NomCom discriminating on bases for which
>discrimination in employment is forbidden -- the NomCom isn't an
>employer, so perhaps "nothing" is what the EEOC would think, but maybe
>Congress would think something else entirely.  Again, speak to a lawyer
>before you think of engaging in such discrimination at the NomCom!

I'll leave it to anyone familiar with the (U.S.) EEOC to comment 
about the above.

>Even so, the NomCom selects from among the group of self-selected
>volunteers.
>
>We can have a self-selected volunteer organization with zero control
>over its volunteers diversity scores, or we can have a non-volunteer
>organization that might be able to have an effect on the diversity of
>its actual participants through bylaws and governance that would have
>to..  not run afoul of American laws (the IETF, ISOC, and related
>entities being American legal entities).

The relevant laws is one of the topics which is rarely, if ever, 
discussed in public.

>Who here can imagine the IETF no longer being a volunteer organization?
>
>I can, with effort anyways.  I can imagine the IETF being like the
>Unicode Consortium, the IEEE, OASIS, ISO/ANSI, ITU-T -- pay-big-bucks-
>to-play.  It's somewhat surprising that the IETF has not yet become a
>pay-to-play organization, or that it exists at all instead of the ITU-T
>taking over its functions.  The IETF becoming pay-to-play would be the
>simplest way to put an end to all the recent bickering on this list, so
>there's that.

The recent quarrels are not directly related to the IETF functioning 
as a volunteer organization.  The IETF is, indirectly, and with some 
exceptions, pay-to-play, e.g. there is an attendance fee for 
meetings.  In my opinion, the current model does not work well in the 
Southern Hemisphere.  That opinion is based on the feedback which I 
received over the years.  I am not arguing for changing the model as 
it would be unrealistic [1].

Regards,
S. Moonesamy

1. 
https://www.ietf.org/media/documents/2019-06-ietf-monthly-statement_-_June2019.pdf