Re: Excessive use of interim meetings

Phillip Hallam-Baker <> Sun, 16 February 2020 18:16 UTC

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From: Phillip Hallam-Baker <>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2020 13:16:24 -0500
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Subject: Re: Excessive use of interim meetings
To: Keith Moore <>
Cc: IETF Discussion Mailing List <>
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QUIC has a serious problem - far more people with an interest in the work
than there is inter-personal bandwidth to process. I am staying out of that
work because there are too many cooks already.

That problem does not have a simple solution. I don't think email can cope.
And there is clearly more material to process than two sessions at an IETF
three times a year can support.

The HTML work faced the same problem and they didn't come to a more
satisfactory solution.

If I want to design something and arrive at the best design, I do not
invite a hundred people to the design meeting. I design in a small group
and then put out a proposal that others can use as the basis for
discussion. Design by committee doesn't work. Refinement by committee can

It does often take a hundred stakeholders to get the necessary buy in for

On Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 7:30 AM Keith Moore <>

> On 2/16/20 2:37 AM, Roni Even (A) wrote:
> > My personal experience when trying to attend a QUIC WG Interim meeting
> in Japan was very bad.
> Not to single out QUIC, but I've formed the opinion that some WGs are
> making excessive use of interim meetings (whether face-to-face or
> virtual) in preference to email.   Part of the purpose of using email
> for discussion (and insisting that consensus be reached over email) was
> to permit effective participation from anywhere, and thus, to encourage
> diversity among participants.   We recognize that occasional
> face-to-face meetings are very helpful, but interim face-to-face
> meetings thwart this long-established effort to encourage diversity.
> Even virtual interim meetings have this effect due to the difficult of
> participating from very remote time zones.
> (Sure you have to deal with jet lag if you physically travel. But it's
> easier to deal with jet lag if you actually travel to the location
> because you are surrounded by people and services that reinforce the
> local time zone.)
> I will freely admit that it has become more difficult over time to have
> effective discussions over email.   Part of the problem seems to be that
> so many people read email from mobile devices with small screens.
> Perhaps for this reason, it seems that email readers today often have
> short attention spans.   Another part of the problem seems to be that
> modern email user agents (including webmail user agents) are actually
> less effective at facilitating discussion of deep technical subjects
> than was the case 20 years ago.   In particular the reply style of
> quoting the subject message in the reply, with comments interspersed,
> which was once very effective at least for a few replies, seems to be
> discouraged by modern email user agents.
> I don't claim to know what the best answer is but I am concerned that
> IETF is losing its center.   The fundamental means of participation in
> IETF used to be email.   Interim meetings have always been somewhat
> problematic if not used sparingly.  I've certainly seen them used as
> part of a deliberate effort to reduce diversity of participation.
> Keith