Re: Venue Announcement for IETFs 98, 99, 102 and 111

"Leslie Daigle" <> Fri, 08 January 2016 15:39 UTC

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From: Leslie Daigle <>
To: John C Klensin <>
Subject: Re: Venue Announcement for IETFs 98, 99, 102 and 111
Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 10:39:11 -0500
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The other question that has been on my mind is whether or how we 
continue to meet as a community.  In my personal opinion, one of the 
most important things about the IETF *is* the community and having the 
opportunity to engage one on one.    I go to IETF meetings for hallway 
conversations as much as anything else.  But — in the span of the next 
10 years, it’s not clear to me if we can or should find non-meeting 
ways to achieve those effects, and get our work done.

Absent discussion within and direction from the community on where it 
thinks we’re headed on that front, I (as an IAOC member) was not 
comfortable with agreeing to hotel commitments 8+ years out.  It is my 
understanding that we, in fact, have the ability to cancel the contract 
for IETF 111 with a survivable penalty a few years out.  I.e., it’s a 
good deal for current course and speed, and if that changes 
significantly before we get to the 3 year window, we have the ability to 

I realize that doesn’t address all of the issues you raised, but 
hopefully it helps at the broad-brushstroke level.



Leslie Daigle
Principal, ThinkingCat Enterprises LLC
On 8 Jan 2016, at 3:26, John C Klensin wrote:

> --On Thursday, January 07, 2016 11:41 -0800 Ole Jacobsen
> <> wrote:
>> ...
>>> Independent of the specific concerns, complaints, and general
>>> whining about particular venues or choices, the thing I, and
>>> apparently others, have heard most consistently in recent
>>> years involves people in the community saying "we should
>>> reprioritize so-and-so" and the IAOC or meetings committee
>>> responding "can't do that because we are working three years
>>> out".
>> No, I hope not. What you have heard (or should have heard) is
>> that  there are incompatible requirements, kind of like the
>> "cheap, fast,  reliable, pick two!" joke. So every choice has
>> a set of consequences  and there is no such thing as a perfect
>> choice.
> Speaking personally, I'm less upset about the particular choices
> than many others seem to be.  That is in part because, as you
> have perhaps noticed, I am increasingly weighing how much I
> really need to go to a particular meeting and deciding against
> it.  As an example, an implication of that is that I can look at
> the specifics of the BA hotel debate and handling from the safe
> distance of knowing that the odds of my making that trip were
> very low before that situation made the aggravation and/or costs
> higher.  Maybe that is good for the IETF on balance, even (or
> especially) if it makes me less likely to volunteer for roles
> that would require me to show up f2f.
> I also understand the special circumstances, but, while 1-1-1
> has been repeated several times lately, Honolulu is not "North
> America" (especially in an environment in which Vancouver has
> been presented as "Asia-Pacific") and Honolulu, Dallas, Prague,
> Yokohama, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Seoul doesn't look a lot like
> 1-1-1.   So maybe 1-1-1 is now interpreted as "Western
> Hemisphere, Europe, East Asia" but, when I compare the airfares
> I can use (remember I've got some special requirements in that
> area) to BA to those to Tokyo, there is a less than 10%
> difference so one of the goals of 1-1-1, to balance the costs
> becomes meaningless, at least over that 2+ year period.
> What I am concerned about is accountability and responsiveness
> to the community.  I've seen Fred's note that says the IAOC
> really is in charge and making the decisions.  You have said
> similar things and I believe both of you.  At the same time,
> I've heard recent IAOC members respond to questions by
> attributing decisions to the meetings committee and being really
> out of the IAOC's control.  I've also heard the "three years as
> an excuse" claim made, not just by us whiners in the community
> but by recent IESG members.   I presume all of you are being
> truthful but that leads to a conclusion that things are a little
> out of the control of the community somewhere... and it is
> _that_ which concerns me.
> One of those accountability issues is that I think the community
> has made it extremely clear that alternate hotel arrangements
> should be in place and announced concurrent with the
> announcement of the primary hotel and opening of registrations.
> We used to be able to do that, even with less than three years
> lead time.  Of late, we haven't been, in spite of, presumably,
> nearly three years to prepare.  I think the community is
> entitled to understand why (or what is wrong with my logic) and
> who is responsible and/or what is being done to fix it... in
> less than three years.
> Coming back to the "cheap, fast, reliable, pick two!" joke, to
> which I'm very sensitive, that joke has another side, which it
> that it ought to be possible, at least after the fact, to ask
> "ok, which two did you pick?" and get a straight answer.  That
> is what accountability is all about because the community needs
> that information to provide informed advice on the choices.  It
> also needs that advice to be effective it is is provided.  If
> what it hears in response to advice is that there is no point
> giving it because circumstances and priorities will change
> enough by the time (in, e.g., three or 5 1/2 or 12 years), there
> is a different, but closely related, problem (bringing me back
> to the specific cause of my note and question to Ray).    But,
> instead, what we get is a longer list of criteria than three, an
> indication that different priorities are used under different
> circumstances and perhaps from meeting to meeting, and that is
> all -- a situation that is indistinguishable from the
> information available to the community from "we are going to
> make those decisions in secret and feel no obligation to tell
> you".
> That problem is somewhat exacerbated by the observation that the
> IAOC has chosen to not post hotel contracts, even redacted
> versions, for many years (if ever, and despite promises at
> various times) in what seems to me to be aclear violation of the
> transparency requirement of Section 7 of RFC 4071.  The
> community almost certainly does not need to know dollar amounts
> and other arrangements that would fall under "reasonable
> confidentiality obligations", but, precisely in line with the
> above comments about choices of priorities, the community should
> be able to understand specific guarantees and tradeoffs.
> In particular, almost everyone who has ever negotiated a hotel
> contract for a moderately large (or larger) meeting knows that
> relationships among meeting room costs (including the
> differences between meeting room charges to someone with a block
> of rooms in the hotel and someone coming in "off the street" and
> wanting to rent/use the meeting rooms alone), guarantees about
> guest room revenue (or equivalent), guest room discounts from
> "rack rate", guarantees about use of hotel catering services and
> other add-on costs/ profit items, and arrangements about
> "complementary" rooms or upgrades are all part of the
> negotiation.  Such things as the ratio between the number of
> rooms the hotel guarantees to have available for the group
> (i.e., the "room block size") and the number of rooms (or room
> revenue) the group guarantees to fill also often go into the
> mix.  That is all complicated and most of us know it is
> complicated, but that doesn't seem to me to be an excuse for
> systematically leaving the community in the dark about what is
> going on and what priorities are being used.
> I can remember times and places when the IETF got meeting rooms
> (sometimes all but the plenary ballrooms, sometimes those but
> not the smaller spaces) for nearly free in return for other
> commitments, commitments that sometimes increased costs
> (relative to what might otherwise have been possible) to
> individual participants.  Maybe a good tradeoff, maybe not, but,
> in the IASA model, a subject on which the IAOC (or the meetings
> committee, or the IAD specifically) ought to be able to be open
> and candid with the community.  Again, I'm not asking for
> violations of reasonable confidentiality, only that the
> community be told what the powers-that-be are trying to optimize
> and that we have reasonable input into those choices.
> We are not getting it now.
>> ...
>>> Even without believing that, if working three years ahead
>>> effectively suppresses priority determination by the
>>> community by  making any such efforts ineffective within any
>>> reasonable time, then  5 1/2 is much worse.
>> What specific priority, related to this announcement, is it
>> that you  think could, should or would change? That we start
>> meeting at  university campuses again, radically reduce the
>> number of paralell  sessions, have more or fewer meetings per
>> year, radically change  remote participation options? Those
>> are all things that COULD happen  and SHOULD happen if the
>> community agrees, but given how slow anything  moves in the
>> IETF, would it not make sense to at least assume things  will
>> continue more or less as currently when making deals for
>> resources that are decidedly limited and time sensitive?
> First, I hope we can keep this discussion as positive and
> focused as possible, specifically without introducing strawman
> options like university campuses.  We seem to be working on
> "radically changing remote participation options" and making
> some progress -- not as much or as rapidly as I would like --
> but progress nonetheless.  If some comments in these threads are
> indicative, BA may strain those arrangements more than some
> prior meetings and, as a likely remote participant (see above),
> I'm personally significantly more concerned about them working
> at least as well as they have in the last few meetings than I am
> about how close together hotels are in that city.  In any event,
> it would be very disappointing if those efforts did not bring
> about some measurable changes within the three year window.
> More broadly and just as an example, the number of meeting rooms
> we need has been cited repeatedly as a constraint on meeting
> hotels and facilities.   A sampling of agendas from Yokohama and
> a few meetings circa 5 and 10 years earlier indicates that the
> number of parallel WG sessions is holding constant at about
> eight.  That is up from six around IETF 56, but March 2003 was a
> long time ago, pre-IASA but still after the expansion to include
> Friday morning sessions.  So, if that is the constraint, it
> isn't changing much.
> What appears to have changed in the meeting room requirements is
> that number of smaller rooms needed to accommodate
> organizational requirements of the IETF and related bodies.
> That is anecdotal, derived from walking down the halls of small
> meeting/ conference room areas of the last few meetings I'm been
> too, because I haven't been able to get any data.    I (and
> others) have asked for those numbers, who is using those spaces,
> and what the trends look like several times and haven't gotten
> them.  The utilization ratios -- the amount of time those rooms
> are actually used for IETF-critical meetings versus as private
> work or conversation areas -- would also be good to know if the
> community is to make informed decisions.  Certainly the number
> of "small" meeting (and similar) rooms we require to qualify a
> venue is not confidential commercial information.  It is
> relevant to your questions above because I believe that, if the
> community were asked whether we required all of those rooms if
> the cost was venues that are less attractive along some of the
> other selection dimensions, the answer might well be some
> differences in priorities from what they are if demands or
> requests for all-day availability of conference room-sized
> spaces are taken as hard constraints.
> Again, more information would help a lot.
>> I do agree that a deeper analysis of the priorities should be
>> undertaken and discussed with the community of course.
> And that is the core of my disquiet and request.  It isn't as if
> no one had asked before.
> best,
>    john