Re: IETF 107 Vancouver In-Person Meeting Cancelled

"Theodore Y. Ts'o" <> Wed, 11 March 2020 15:23 UTC

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Date: Wed, 11 Mar 2020 11:23:06 -0400
From: "Theodore Y. Ts'o" <>
Subject: Re: IETF 107 Vancouver In-Person Meeting Cancelled
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On Wed, Mar 11, 2020 at 03:25:27PM +0100, JORDI PALET MARTINEZ wrote:
> I encourage everyone to do the same, to make sure that their rights
> aren't restricted. Nobody can restrict freedom in democratic
> countries in an indiscriminate way. Otherwise, what is the next
> reason governments will do it again?


There is a difference between what might be our individual "rights",
and what might decide to do from a perspective of our personal
morality, kindness, and consideration of our fellow human beings.

If it is true that containment is largely a lost cause from a global
perspective (given the number of community infections where the cause
of the infection can't be determined, all over the world), and that we
now we need to move into mitigation while we wait for various drugs
and vaccine treatments to become available, then there are many
scientists that are strongly urging that we increase our "social
distance" in an attempt slow --- not stop --- the epidemic.

This is why my company is recommending that everyone work from home,
and to prohibit any kind of large gatherings.  This was taken with the
best medical advice; not out of any kind of fear, but with a lot of
forethought and preparation.

With respect to your advice to get tested frequently (maybe even every
week or before/after every travel), in my home state, the number of
COVID-19 cases has been doubling every day, and it would have been
going up faster except that the state health authorities were
bottlenecked by the number of tests they could perform per day (and
hence could confirm that an individual was infected).  And the *vast*
majority of these cases were from a single conference held in my city.

Has my state prohibited these sorts of corporate conferences?  No.  As
I said earlier, in countries with a strong tradition of civil rights,
that is a hard thing for politicians to decide to do.  On the other
hand, would it be a *responsible* thing for any company in my state to
hold another major corporate conference?  I would say the answer to
that is "Heck, no!" --- and that is what my company has decided to

Not all things that we have a _right_ to do, is necessarily, the
_kind_, _moral_, and _considerate_ thing to do to our fellow

As others have said, I very much thank the IETF leadership for making
the call to cancel the Vancouver In-Person meeting.  I personally
believe that not only is the right thing to do from a "will the
meeting be able to get work done profitably" standpoint, it is also
the responsible thing to do a world health perspective.


						- Ted