Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY

Dave Cridland <> Fri, 13 February 2015 17:44 UTC

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Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 17:44:22 +0000
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Subject: Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY
From: Dave Cridland <>
To: Russ Housley <>
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On 13 February 2015 at 15:58, Russ Housley <> wrote:

> Sure, I appreciate that human contact is important. I've been to two IETF
> meetings in the flesh, and I enjoy, and have had significant benefit from,
> hallway conversations.
> But to claim it's "the most important thing", and to further imply that no
> other IETF participation or activity should count for anything is just
> astonishing.
> I said no such thing.  I said that NomCom members need to understand the
> culture, and that participation in the meetings is an important aspect of
> learning that culture.  In my view, this is confirmed by the survey results.
I'll accept that you didn't intend to suggest that, but comments like those
in this thread about the overarching importance of meeting attendance and
hallway discussions send a clear signal to people who "only" do
specification work that their opinion is not as important as those backed
by large companies or who can otherwise afford to attend meetings and buy
rounds of drinks.

Moreover, if you accept that the word "culture" is effectively
indistinguishable to outsiders from the term "status quo" (though the
intent is obviously different), it's really quite revealing. All this
"preserving the culture" talk comes out in an entirely different light.

> I would love for remote participation tools to offer the same experience.
> Today they do not.  Maybe some day, remote participation tools will become
> good enough, and when that happens we can deemphasize the meeting
> participation in the rules for NomCom eligibility.
a) The NomCom eligibility rules do not emphasize meeting *participation*,
but meeting attendance.

b) The NomCom eligibility rules do not *emphasize* meeting attendance, they
*are* meeting attendance.

c) The "NomCom eligibility" rules govern essentially any say in the
leadership of the IETF.

So you need to say "... when that happens we can change the rules for
having any say in the leadership of the IETF to something other than purely
meeting attendance."

Moreover, speaking as someone who has worked remotely for years, and who
currently works for a distributed company, I would argue that your
assertion that remote participation tools are not good enough is incorrect
- they're extremely close for everything aside from hallway discussions,
and even for those, the tools are pretty good -- if deployed. What kills
them without fail is if you have a mixture of remote and local participants
- it's really hard to balance those two.

But anyway - what would the incentive be to develop and deploy such tools
for the IETF?

Your own position is predicated on the "culture", and a significant portion
of IETF funding occurs due to meetings.

If we, as a community -- sorry, my mistake.

If you, as a community, were to aim to replace one meeting per year with a
virtual one, we'd push the quality of online meetings through the roof
almost instantly. (Preventing physical interim meetings would be a sensible
short-term step). I fondly imagine that the bulk of the costs for the IETF
are in holding the meetings; I also similarly imagine that the bulk of the
attendee costs are hotels and flights, so maybe the funding problem is
somewhat soluble.

If you, as a community, were to enfranchise remote participants, it would
have the inevitable effect of causing their views to be represented amongst
the I* leadership.

And yes, this would change IETF culture -- that is the point of diversity.

A sensible way of managing this change to avoid disruption would be to
provide several distinct criteria for eligibility, and select from each
pool proportionally, changing the proportions over time. So recall, for
example, might need 15 meeting attendees and 5 people qualifying under
active participation rules to initiate, gradually changing to emphasize
active participation.