Re: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100

Lawrence Conroy <> Thu, 26 May 2016 17:25 UTC

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Subject: Re: Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100
From: Lawrence Conroy <>
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Date: Thu, 26 May 2016 18:25:47 +0100
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To: Leslie Daigle <>
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Hi Leslie, folks,
 Leslie asked for feedback from views not trumpeted so far on-list about
IETF meeting exclusions (of participants, and of locations/countries).
Normally I don't like non-technical issue discussions, but this has gone
on more than enough that adding to the flood seems warranted. I've read
back through the related threads on the general list; here's my opinion.

To the specific case of Singapore as a venue for IETF100 and the impact
of law section 377{A, B, and/or C} on potential attendees:

As Ohta-san pointed out, there is no international consensus on single
sex marriage as a human right. It would seem that the discussion on this
list so far has presented exactly this as a fundamental legal tenet. 
I think that this is merely an assumption, not a globally accepted
right. You may believe it, but not everyone does. Inclusiveness is an
aim, but is it really a requirement for participation in the IETF?

IETF meetings always were intended as an opportunity for high-bandwidth
exchange; I had always assumed that these were to work on Internet
Engineering. I may have missed it, but Public Displays of Affection were
not required to further that engineering work, no more than guns were a
necessary accoutrement (whilst tempting, in some WG meetings).
Facilitating attendance at those meetings by the majority of potential
participants to progress engineering would seem to me to be the
overwhelming priority; it was why they're there. All else fades.

Inconvenience is not a bar either; ISTR certain RFC authors being
reduced to eating corn flakes during an IETF meet as no religiously
appropriate/acceptable food was available; they still attended and were
active. Heck, the IETF went to SLC, and there it was VERY difficult to
get beer (i.e., with alcohol in it in more than trace amounts). That
must have affected a majority of attendees.
Somehow, work continued, even in the face of one of the more bizarre
Socials. It CAN be done.

From recollection, Singapore is a safe place to visit, and work will be
readily possible in such an environment, for the vast majority. I'm
unaware of any progroms being carried out, nor of people being picked up
on the street and interrogated, Strafanzeige being processed, people
being denied medical support, or otherwise stopped from going about
their daily business.
Why on earth would it be -impossible- to run a meeting there, as seemed
to be implied by postings on this list?

If some people find it impossible to attend because of their own personal
situation, or experiences of oppression elsewhere, that's a shame. However,
I'm pretty sure that the work will proceed, and the meeting will be useful.
[Look at the other places the IETF has been -- not even considering ICANN].

Finally, "Not in my name", or "What do you mean 'we,' paleface?":
Some have suggested 'showing solidarity' or protests. Whilst there have
been protests & complaints around past IETF meetings, these have NOT
been "official" as far as I can recall. For example, a bunch of folk
went to the Pillsbury HQ to complain about enforcement of the "bake-off"
trademark, but this was NOT in any way sanctioned as "an IETF activity",
no more than the drumming sessions that used to reverberate through the
meeting venues.

Personally, I'd be very uncomfortable with any attempt at pushing for
official status or support for such protest (as seems to have been
suggested on this list). It would both make an unwarranted assertion on
whatever "official" means for the IETF (and/or ISOC), and would impute
that all attendees agreed with any such action. They may not, or not
want disruption. Thus, please be careful of the term "we".

We now return you to your usual channel...

best regards
On 26 May 2016, at 11:23, Leslie Daigle <> wrote:
> Hi Tom,
> As I indicated in my personal mail earlier this week, there was thinking that this message would be accompanied by a survey or some way to collected some structured feedback from the community.
> In the end, the IAOC decided there was no way to do that properly (the challenges of constructing surveys so that they don’t bias for or against minorities, etc).
> Hearing peoples’ desire to “see the data”, this message was sent.  The IAOC is still collecting data, including from this discussion.  In laying out the various elements (the obvious and the hidden costs (staff time and reprioritization), the restricted range of available alternative sites that mean we (the IAOC) don’t see how we can find a good alternate for a meeting in 18 months, I think we’re hoping that the context of our business choices is clearer, and maybe some other person in this discussion will have an insight that has so far escaped us as to how to have an acceptable IETF 100.
> Speaking only for myself, I am deeply worried that, with only this discussion to hear, we are missing the quieter voices, the people who haven’t waded into the free-for-all, etc.  Those types of voices are more readily solicited/heard in a working group environment where there is time to consider multiple angles and from a more abstracted or objective perspective.  A working group is where we’ll ultimately come to conclusion on what broader set of of characteristics this community requires going forward.
> Leslie.
> -- 
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> Leslie Daigle
> Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
> On 26 May 2016, at 3:57, tom p. wrote:
>> Leslie
>> I am unclear what, if any, action is expected as a result of this
>> message.
>> I understand that the IAOC has to make a decision and yes, I can provide
>> more input via venue-selection if I wish to, but is that all?  Will the
>> IAOC now decide?  If not, what is it waiting for (and how long is it
>> waiting)?
>> Tom Petch
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "IAOC Chair" <>
>> To: "IETF Announcement List" <>
>> Cc: <>rg>; <>
>> Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2016 11:08 PM
>>> All,
>>> In the IAOC's previous message on this topic we stated that the IAOC
>> believed that it is possible to hold a successful meeting in Singapore,
>> and that meeting in Singapore is the best option for IETF 100.  This
>> statement was based on several factors, including evaluation of the site
>> based on the requirements and process now being updated and tracked in
>> draft-baker-mtgvenue-iaoc-venue-selection-process-02.  In particular,
>> this included consulting with the additional information sources
>> identified in the document (specialty travel services, etc), and no
>> specific issues were identified as to actual situation in Singapore.
>> More detail on the information we have to hand is provided below.
>>> Additional arguments have come forward since our earlier messages,
>> which leads us to continue exploring.  The IETF Chair has been in touch
>> with the meeting host, which is obviously another factor in whether we
>> can/should move.   But we need to make a decision, so this message
>> contains such information as we have at present.  We understand that it
>> is difficult to express a view about what to do in the absence of known
>> alternatives; but we do not know what the alternatives are now, and we
>> need urgently to make a decision, so we are sharing the incomplete
>> information we have in the interests of transparency.
>>> Laying this out in a pro/con format:
>>> Not Singapore:
>>> --------------
>>> If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the
>> onward positive impacts include:
>>> . We might have the opportunity to establish the meeting in a venue
>> that permits more IETF participants to be comfortable being present and
>> engaging in a celebration of this milestone meeting, which is important
>> to some.
>>> If we cancel the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the
>> onward negative impacts include:
>>> . Losing approximately $80,000 (USD) hotel agreement cancellation
>> fee[1]
>>> . Losing up to approximately $150,000 (USD) in Singapore government
>> incentives [2]
>>> . Re-prioritizing people time to find a new location (the IAD,
>> Secretariat staff) who have full plates for lining up other future
>> meetings; there’s an unknown amount of impact in terms of how that
>> impacts *other* meetings (N.B.:  some of this effort is already underway
>> to obtain the information on possible alternatives and outline the
>> pros/cons outlined here).
>>> . Likelihood of IETF 100 in Asia is very small — we have few prospects
>> and it takes us months to get all the pieces aligned to get to a signed
>> contract in Asia (Singapore took over a year).  This would create
>> additional challenges for our Asian community members (travel distance,
>> visas).
>>> . Possible shift of dates — to be able to find a venue elsewhere that
>> works
>>> We have some wiggle room in the point about time to find a new venue
>> insofar as it would be easiest to use a North American site that we have
>> used before.   If we have to consider non-North American, and/or new
>> venues where a site visit is needed, effort and cost will be higher.
>>> Note, we should only cancel the Singapore contract once we know that
>> an alternative venue, that is acceptable to community, is ready to put
>> under contract.   The cost of cancellation ($80k now) goes up to $192k
>> if we don’t cancel before November 2016 (i.e., a few months from now).
>>> We do have to give the hotel a reason for canceling our contract:
>>> Reasons for Cancellation of IETF 100 Meeting in Singapore, and the
>> IAOC understands that to be:
>>> “    Singapore laws against same-sex relationships between men and
>>>    preventing the recognition of same-sex marriages could create
>>>    difficulties for same-sex partners and their children; these have
>>>    discouraged affected members of our community from participating
>>>    at the IETF meeting in November of 2017 and have also influenced
>>>    others to decline to attend in principled solidarity with them.
>>>    Accordingly, the IETF has decided to postpone indefinitely the
>> meeting
>>>    in Singapore and is pursuing alternative venues.”
>>> If we stick with Singapore for IETF 100:
>>> ----------------------------------------
>>> If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward
>>> positive impacts include:
>>> . we have a functional meeting venue set for our 3rd meeting of 2017
>>> . meeting site research resources can remain focused on filling in the
>> remaining gaps in the 3-4 year timeframe
>>> . we don’t have the financial hit of the cancellation fee, and
>> possible loss of government incentives
>>> If we keep the contract we have for Singapore for IETF 100, the onward
>> negative impacts include:
>>> . we have a meeting at a location where some community members will
>> perceive themselves as unwelcome and unsafe, unable to bring family
>>> . possibly fewer attendees than we might otherwise expect — which is a
>> consideration for both getting work done and financial reasons
>> (registration fees per person)
>>> The above is the practical information as we can best scope it.
>>> If you would like to provide some considered feedback on this matter,
>> please feel free to send it to .  Please note
>> that mailing list is a PUBLICLY archived “drop box” [3].
>>> Leslie Daigle, for the IAOC.
>>> [1] The cancellation fee can be recovered if it is used as a deposit
>> at a later meeting with those hotels in Singapore, if it is before 2020;
>> for this discussion, it’s perhaps best to consider it gone.
>>> [2] Government business incentives are not unusual; we might obtain
>> these in another country hosting IETF 100, but we are late to be
>> expecting incentives and opportunities for good deals, and are unlikely
>> to get this in a North America venue.
>>> [3] The venue-selection mailing list is not open for subscription, and
>> it is not intended to archive dynamic conversations (i.e., don’t cc it
>> on an e-mail discussion thread, because there will be too many
>> addressees and your mail won’t go through).
>>> --
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------
>>> Leslie Daigle
>>> Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
>>> -------------------------------------------------------------------