Re: Registration details for IETF 108

Vittorio Bertola <> Mon, 01 June 2020 17:12 UTC

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Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2020 19:12:10 +0200 (CEST)
From: Vittorio Bertola <>
To: John C Klensin <>,
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In-Reply-To: <D6AF5131729C554EA66DD64D@PSB>
References: <> <> <> <> <D6AF5131729C554EA66DD64D@PSB>
Subject: Re: Registration details for IETF 108
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> Il 01/06/2020 18:44 John C Klensin <> ha scritto:
> (3) While I note that almost every posting since Melinda's
> comments excerpted below has concentrated on the fees, I think
> she has identified the important issue.  We continue to claim
> that decisions are made --not just checked or last-called -- on
> mailing lists, but that seems factually to have become less true
> in recent years.  

Indeed, as someone that started attending IETF meetings regularly only in the last few years, I did notice a clear disconnect between what the organization thinks it is and what it seems to be in practice (again, in my limited experience).

Even the continuously restated principle (already twice in this thread) that "people participate as individuals and not representatives of their companies" sounds IMHO a bit hypocritical in 2020. I do not doubt that participants strive to make proposals that represent what's best for the Internet in their view, but what you do and who you work for shape your view a lot. When different parts of the industry have conflicting views, that generally emerges in what their employees say "as individuals" - so there is no practical difference in the end.

I was seriously disconcerted when I realized that people that were replying to me from an anonymous Gmail address, with no signature except their given name, were in fact high ranking officers of some of the biggest companies around. Perhaps this is not perceived as a problem since most people here seem to have known each other for ages, but for people that do not know who is who, this approach is intransparent - a weird form of security by obscurity. It is another barrier to meaningful participation by outsiders.

> I hope the IETF never has to go down the path of identifying
> participants with specific categories of interests and insisting
> that participants from all categories be present whenever a
> discussion occurs or a decision is made, partially because such
> rules are a horribly blunt instrument.  However, other voluntary
> (and supposedly open) standards bodies have adopted exactly such
> rules when their assortment of barriers to participation and
> entry have grown high enough to raise suspicion that they have
> become big-player industry cabals and/or are in need of
> regulatory oversight and scrutiny from competitiveness and
> antitrust authorities.  As things evolve, let's at least be
> aware of those risks and make adjustments to our path
> accordingly.

The Internet is now a multi-billion-$currency industry that basically runs the world, and transparency, conflicts of interests, accessibility, diversity, inclusiveness etc should be top concerns when designing mechanisms for participation and deliberation. But the instruments you mention are indeed horribly blunt, so it would be great if this organization found new ways to deal with this in innovative ways.

Vittorio Bertola | Head of Policy & Innovation, Open-Xchange 
Office @ Via Treviso 12, 10144 Torino, Italy