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

Nadeau Thomas <> Fri, 08 January 2016 15:51 UTC

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Subject: Re: Venue Announcement for IETFs 98, 99, 102 and 111
From: Nadeau Thomas <>
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Date: Fri, 08 Jan 2016 10:50:56 -0500
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To: Leslie Daigle <>
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> On Jan 8, 2016:10:39 AM, at 10:39 AM, Leslie Daigle <> wrote:
> 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.

	While useful, many other very successful organizations meet only remotely and have periodic “summits” where people might or might not show up.  All actual work happens using remote tools and meeting venues.  I am not saying one is better than the other, but just that there are existence proofs of organizations working without requiring physical meetings.  I’ve tried to advocate strongly that this organization consider that, at least partially due to all the logistical reasons discussed not to mention the costs associated with physical meetings.


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