Forced virtual IETF 109 as well as 107 (was: Re: NomCom eligibility & IETF 107)

John C Klensin <> Fri, 13 March 2020 14:46 UTC

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Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2020 10:45:56 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Barry Leiba <>
cc: IETF discussion list <>
Subject: Forced virtual IETF 109 as well as 107 (was: Re: NomCom eligibility & IETF 107)
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--On Friday, March 13, 2020 09:43 -0400 Barry Leiba
<> wrote:

> The cancellation of the in-person IETF 107 meeting raises the
> issue of how that meeting affects NomCom (Nominating
> Committee) eligibility. This is especially important because a
> new NomCom will be formed between now and IETF 108, giving us
> all a fairly short time to figure out what to do.


Forking the thread in the hope of not cluttering up your NomCom
eligibility discussion, but...

We seem to be making strong assumptions that we will be able to
hold IETF 108 as planned, with f2f meetings in Madrid in late
July.  I suggest that the IESG (and the rest of us) think about
that and so sooner rather than later.  Our implicit assumption
is that things will settle down enough that IETF 108 can be held
normally and that we do not need to worry about a "new normal".
The infectious disease specialists and epidemiologists among my
colleagues is this novel coronavirus really is new in several
ways and, consequently, that we really cannot predict how
quickly the period of maximal spread and risks will wind down by
July.  That may be likely, but it is by no means certain.  

So, it seems to me that we should be sorting out possible issues
and making contingency plans about the conditions under which
IETF 108 would need to be virtual too, including both things
tied to the first or second meeting of the year and to how we do
things.   The circumstances that came upon us in the last six
weeks gave us little choice other than making quick decisions.
I personally think that, on balance, the IESG made reasonable
decisions and handled things about as well as they could be
handled, including the short-notice cancellation/ virtual
conversion and reformed agenda.  But we'd best not have that
"whoops, big surprise" situation followed by a scramble again,
if only because of the damage that the loss of the cross-area
review that has occurred at f2f meetings since the IETF started
could do to the quality of our work.  

So, let us -- soon, even if not in the next two weeks -- ask
ourselves such questions as to how the Nomcom will function if
it cannot meet f2f at IETF 108 (or 109), whether the possible
need for the Nomcom to do much more of its work remotely might
affect whatever advice is given to the ISOC President/CEO about
candidates for Nomcom Chair, and so on.   And then let's repeat
that with a review of all of the other issues tied to the
"second meeting" and how IETF 108 could be made maximally
effective if we were forced to hold it virtually... including,
of course, how that decision would be made and by whom.  

We could still view that as short-term with longer-term analysis
and solutions to follow.  But July isn't that far away and, if
things don't get better, we should not have to deal with any
plausibly-foreseeable situations by being surprised and