Re: Remote participation fees

Eric Burger <eburger@standardstrack.com> Wed, 25 February 2015 01:32 UTC

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Subject: Re: Remote participation fees
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From: Eric Burger <eburger@standardstrack.com>
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Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 20:32:47 -0500
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On Feb 15, 2015, at 1:27 PM, Dave Cridland <dave@cridland.net> wrote:
> On 15 Feb 2015 13:48, "Ted Lemon" <Ted.Lemon@nominum.com <mailto:Ted.Lemon@nominum.com>> wrote:
> >
> > On Feb 15, 2015, at 4:30 AM, Dave Cridland <dave@cridland.net <mailto:dave@cridland.net>> wrote:
> > > Charging the people we want to be contributing just doesn't seem logical to me.
> >
> > This isn't really what's happening, though.   What's happening is that corporations tend to have budgets for things like conference attendance, and IETF is getting participants to tap those budgets to partially fund the organization.   The idea isn't really for participants who are contributing to have to pay, and we do have scholarship programs, although it would be unusual for a non-student to be sponsored in one of these programs.
> >
> > Trying to turn the funding scheme into something "fair" isn't going to work, because the people who really benefit from this are users of the internet, and they don't even know who we are.   They are not going to fund us.   If we really think what we are doing is important, it's not unreasonable to expect us to try to figure out how to fund it.
> >
> > The idea of a fee for off-site attendees is not to make them pay, but to provide a way for them to get their employers to pay, or for them to pay.   I realize this is a subtle distinction, but the point is that if you think what the IETF does is important, providing funding from an available budget is a good way to support it, and we have not yet identified any better way to support it.   If you think that asking attendees to take on this responsibility is inappropriate, then you should probably be thinking seriously about an alternative proposal for how to fund the organization.
> >
> 
> I agree with everything you've written there. I don't think the IETF is pay to play, as such, and I think funding this kind of thing is particularly challenging at this scale.
> 
> But still, I'd rather avoid seeing participants as a revenue stream, so yes, seriously looking at an alternative funding structure that doesn't involve neither any non existent benefactors nor charging contributors would be interesting.
> 
> Dave.
> 
I think Dave nails it. What sets the IETF apart from government-driven or corporate-driven SDOs is if you have an Internet connection, you can be a vibrant contributor to the IETF. You don’t need $5,000/year minimum to play (ITU-T) or ~$8,000/year to play (IETF if you physically go to all three IETF meetings + various face-to-face interims). The IETF works hard to remove barriers to participation. The last thing we need as we are just beginning to have success reaching out beyond North American, European, Japanese, S. Korean, and Australian mid-size to large corporations is to toss up a paywall, some as much as a month’s salary or more, for the ‘privilege’ of contributing to the IETF.

My guess is the Internet Society might weigh in, not with just words but deeds (=funding), to make sure the IETF does not close its doors to the global Internet community.

- Eric