Re: Barely literate minutes (was: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")

John C Klensin <> Wed, 28 November 2012 20:54 UTC

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Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:53:43 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: SM <>
Subject: Re: Barely literate minutes (was: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")
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--On Wednesday, November 28, 2012 03:28 -0800 SM
<> wrote:

> At 01:25 28-11-2012, John C Klensin wrote:
>> This is, IMO, a consequence of our developing fancy tools and
>> then uncritically relying on them.  A Jabber log or real-time
>> Etherpad may be, and probably is, a very helpful way to keep
>> real-time notes within a meeting but some WGs have substituted
>> nearly-unedited versions of them (especially the latter) for
>> minutes.  They are not minutes, certainly not minutes as
> Yes.
> Nobody likes to write minutes.  Very few people volunteer
> their free time to do them (thanks to John Leslie for scribing
> the IESG minutes).  When there is a discussion about producing
> minutes people come up with proposals for fancy tools.  This
> is where someone says: "Etherpad can do that".  There is a
> moment of silence when somebody finds out that there's nobody
> using Etherpad to take notes about what's going on.  Who would
> have thought that these fancy tools cannot work without
> people? :-)
>> contemplated by RFC 2418, and I sincerely hope that the IESG
>> and the community push back on those "barely literate" notes
>> before there is an appeal against a WG decision or document
>> approval that is based, even in part, on failure of the WG to
>> comply with that 2418 requirement.
> The community is too lethargic to push back on those "barely
> literate" notes.  One of these days there will be such an
> appeal.

Let me be clear.  For most WGs and purposes, most of the time,
the "minutes" are the minutes and I'm certainly not going to be
the one who makes a big fuss about clarity or literacy unless
they are so incomplete and incompetent that posting them becomes
a joke.  _However_ if a WG wants to make/be an exception to the
principle that consensus has to be demonstrated on the mailing
list and instead wants to rely on face to face discussions, than
that WG is, IMO, obligated to have minutes complete and
comprehensible enough that someone who did not participate in
the meeting, even remotely, can determine what went on and why
and hence whether the proposed solution or agreement is
acceptable.   If  the WG cannot produce such minutes, then I
think it is obligated to be able to demonstrate consensus from
the mailing list discussions alone.

Rather clear tradeoff, IMO.