RE: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")

"George, Wes" <> Thu, 29 November 2012 23:31 UTC

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From: "George, Wes" <>
To: Barry Leiba <>
Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 18:32:05 -0500
Subject: RE: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")
Thread-Topic: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")
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> From: [] On Behalf Of
> Barry Leiba

> we have a
> million things that are unspecified and should be unspecified and left
> to management choice.  Trying to find all of those and explicitly say so
> will be a frustrating exercise, and one that won't have a lot of value
> in the end.  In general, we specify what we want to specify, and what's
> left is up to judgment and management.
[WEG] I'm sorry if it was unclear, but I am not saying that *everything* must be specified, nor do I think anyone should undertake an effort to even identify all of the things that are currently unspecified. I'm pointing out a specific area of confusion and inconsistency that has been created by something that is unspecified and asking "should we specify?"
> > Further, no matter how good the individuals are at their "jobs" within
> > the IETF, applying undocumented policy (especially doing it
> > inconsistently) looks to the outside world as arbitrary and capricious
> Here's where we have a gap, you and I: what you call undocumented policy
> I call a management choice.
[WEG] that's not really a gap, especially because you can replace my words with yours and the statement above still holds. I am saying is that there is an inconsistency because different people are making different choices on how to proceed, hopefully with the consensus of the WG behind them. IMO, the inconsistency goes beyond merely being flexible to accommodate the widest variety of cases, and adds confusion and variability to the process. I think the gap arises from the fact that you do not see this as inconsistent or that you do not see the inconsistency as a bad thing. It may not be bad in all cases, but I think there's a middle ground between overcreation and overapplication of rules and relative anarchy. I'm just trying to make sure we're actually in that happy medium, and that this is indeed the result of a conscious decision rather than simply imitating what we see in other WGs because that seems to work. FWIW, the WG Chairs wiki is also silent on this matter, and perhaps that is the best place to add a discussion about WG adoption of I-Ds. Is that more palatable?

> We hire the best and the brightest as our working group chairs in order
> to rely on their judgment and management abilities,

[WEG] Well, no disrespect to any current or former AD, but this is giving us entirely too much credit for why the vast majority of our WG chairs are good at their jobs when it's more likely attributable to luck. Unlike other leadership positions in IETF, there's no formal interview or "hiring" process to determine who out of the group of engineers that make up IETF is best qualified to start chairing a WG. I certainly had no specific experience that made me any better than anyone else at being a WG chair the first time around. My qualifications included a non-zero amount of common sense, available cycles, interest in the topic, and <joking> the poor sense not to decline when asked to serve </joking>. There's no mandatory training class. If one is lucky, you get paired with an experienced co-chair (I did) and given a pointer to the wiki (I didn't) to help you learn on the fly. It's clear that we trust our WG chairs, and there's nothing wrong with that. But sometimes providing them with more guidance is helpful.

Wes George

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