Re: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input

Stephen Farrell <> Sun, 22 May 2016 12:17 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Recentattendees] IETF 100, Singapore -- proposed path forward and request for input
To: Ted Hardie <>, Eliot Lear <>
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From: Stephen Farrell <>
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Date: Sun, 22 May 2016 13:17:18 +0100
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Hi Ted,

On 22/05/16 11:32, Ted Hardie wrote:
> Hi Eliot,
> My comments up thread suggested that we start from a set of community
> agreed principles and use those to evaluate whether a particular venue did
> or did not meet our requirements; the contrast I was aiming for was from
> attempting to reason from individuals' reports of their own level of
> comfort or concern.
> A corollary question is, of course, what those principles ought to be.  I
> started with Fred's statement because I believe it is a reasonable
> statement to use as a basis for discuss.  I don't agree with all of it (I'd
> disagree with the weight given accessibility, for example, which seems less
> than it ought to be), but its statements on inclusion seemed to me critical
> for any group that aspires to base its legitimacy on its openness.
> If I understand you correctly, you see any and all of the principles as
> ones we might choose to let slide in order to meet some other goal.   In
> that context, I find the phrase "weighting the impact to participants" to
> be worrying.  If you naively attempt to do that weighting by assessing the
> impact per individual and multiplying it out by the number of individuals
> you expect to fall in the class, you can easily end up continually
> disadvantaging minority groups.  Doing it fairly by any means will be
> difficult.
> I personally believe, because of the importance of openness to our basic
> operation, principles of inclusiveness should not be part of the meeting
> trade-off except in extraordinary circumstances.

I agree with the above, but see a major problem: we have no
way to fairly consider economic inclusiveness that I can see,
and from my POV that far outweighs any other form of lack of
inclusiveness when it comes to affecting the ability of
potential IETF participants to get to meetings.

So even if we do reach consensus that family accompaniment is
a criterion, and figure out how to prioritise that amongst a
set of other criteria (safety, visas etc), there will always be
at least the economic unfairness issue, and maybe others we
didn't consider, that means that the opportunity to go to IETF
face to face meetings can never really be handled fully fairly.

So I think we need to recognise that when you said "difficult"
above, the right word might be impossible.

That said, it seems there are a couple of things that can be
done in the medium term:

- The IAOC could re-consider the criteria it uses for meeting
venue selection and how they ought balance those, get community
feedback on all of that, and then start operating based on the
results of that community feedback.

- We (the IETF) should start working more on a potential
future where we have the option of a virtual alternative for
some of the current IETF f2f meetings. The IESG did chat a
bit about starting work on that at our retreat, early days
though, so don't expect immediate results. Doing this will
be good for lots of reasons (e.g. as a backup) and not just
due to the current discussion.

To be clear: the above should be in addition to, and are
not a replacement for, the IAOC changing to a default-open
mode of operation. Without that overarching change, my
prediction is that initiatives such as the two above may
end up as mired in controversy as IETF-100.


> regards,
> Ted
> On Sun, May 22, 2016 at 5:15 AM, Eliot Lear <> wrote:
>> Ted,
>> I do not believe that the IAOC used "novelty" as one of their criteria.
>> My understanding was that this was an attempt to find a venue convenient
>> to Asian participants as part of the normal meeting cycle that also
>> happened to be affordable.  Perhaps someone from the IAOC would like to
>> comment further.  I'd also be curious to know if the number "100" had
>> any particular import in this process, referring to Jon Peterson's
>> comments.
>> Wikipedia indicates that quite a number of countries, including one in
>> which I believe you resided, do not support parental rights of same sex
>> couples.  If that is what this is about, there are a number countries we
>> have already been to that would have caused the LGBT community a problem.
>> We have had in a problem getting people into our meetings based on their
>> nationalities.  Certainly the Chinese among us must be having a good
>> chuckle about this conversation, especially those that were turned down
>> for their visas by one country or another.  Some of these issues are
>> simply unavoidable.  Consider the person who is in the process of a visa
>> renewal in the U.S.  In other cases, the situation is far more
>> complicated.  Case and point: the last time I went to Russia it required
>> an exhaustive visa process, which I am given to understand is due to how
>> Russians are treated by the United States.
>> There are many places where one can be arrested for saying or printing
>> certain things.  The laws vary.  This was a serious concern when we went
>> to one country in particular.  We've made the conscious decision to
>> weight other values over freedom of speech.  The same has happened less
>> consciously with freedom of religion, even though that has had at least
>> some impact on us with many stores being closed on certain days.
>> Each of these issues is not binary, but rather countries' positions
>> reside on a spectrum.  Their summation is not a simple ANDing.  Were it
>> so, we would not have any place to go.  The IAOC needs to consider these
>> matters, weighting the impact to participants.  On the whole I
>> sympathize with Stephen's position that the IAOC should be as
>> transparent as possible in its decision making.  Furthermore, certainly
>> polling the community for their views is always appropriate if the poll
>> is well constructed (queue Dave Crocker).
>> Eliot