Re: Specific Questions about Registration details for IETF 108

John C Klensin <> Sun, 07 June 2020 01:54 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost (localhost []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id AD0343A08B2 for <>; Sat, 6 Jun 2020 18:54:25 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -1.897
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-1.897 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, SPF_HELO_NONE=0.001, SPF_NONE=0.001, URIBL_BLOCKED=0.001] autolearn=ham autolearn_force=no
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id 5ABjxBCM0Uxc for <>; Sat, 6 Jun 2020 18:54:23 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( []) (using TLSv1 with cipher DHE-RSA-AES256-SHA (256/256 bits)) (No client certificate requested) by (Postfix) with ESMTPS id E3D5A3A08B1 for <>; Sat, 6 Jun 2020 18:54:22 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from [] (helo=PSB) by with esmtp (Exim 4.82 (FreeBSD)) (envelope-from <>) id 1jhkVw-000Nf6-Fm; Sat, 06 Jun 2020 21:54:20 -0400
Date: Sat, 06 Jun 2020 21:54:13 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Andrew Sullivan <>, IETF <>
Subject: Re: Specific Questions about Registration details for IETF 108
Message-ID: <AC2C084E4B54AAFC224B6631@PSB>
In-Reply-To: <>
References: <> <> <> <> <> <FB3BDBCABF6F5FE86E54BF6D@PSB> <>
X-Mailer: Mulberry/4.0.8 (Win32)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
Content-Disposition: inline
X-SA-Exim-Scanned: No (on; SAEximRunCond expanded to false
Archived-At: <>
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.29
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Sun, 07 Jun 2020 01:54:26 -0000


First and most important, I think you are helping to identify
the discussion(s) we should be having and trying to separate
those from ones we should skip, leave to staff, and get involved
in only to ensure that staff (and the LLC Board) are
sufficiently accountable to the community (again, different
discussions from e.g., trying to set fee amounts).  I, for one,
appreciate that.

More below about the part of this on which we _might_ not agree.
All of what follows is personal opinion; others may well not

--On Friday, June 5, 2020 23:01 -0400 Andrew Sullivan
<> wrote:

> Hi,
> [ObDisclaimer: employed by ISOC as CEO.  Not their/an official
> opinion, just mine.]
>> (1) The IETF has had a practice (I'd claim a principle) that
>> people are allowed to observe sessions in real time, without
>> identifying themselves or paying a fee, since "observe" meant
>> audio-only and multicast.
> In this case, we may be running up against realities of
> history and
> what was feasible.  I was certainly not around at the time of
> the
> earliest IETFs (my first was 64), but are you really asserting
> that
> the IETF _always_ allowed anyone to go into any meeting without
> "joining" in some sense?

Absolutely not and, if I was not clear about that, I apologize.
We have required registration for attending meetings for as long
as I can remember and have occasionally even had people standing
at doors keeping people out of sessions who don't have badges.
Perhaps oddly given recent discussions, there are at least two
reasons for that which have nothing to do with finances and that
would presumably require that we continue to have a registration
requirement even if the Internet Leprechaun showed up tomorrow
and handed the IETF LLC a sufficiently big pot of gold to pay
all Meeting, Secretariat, and other expenses for the next 50
years.  It is still a bad idea to have anonymous people
influencing that IETF (or any other) standards process and our
IPR rules require for their utility on the ability to identify
Contributors.  At least in theory, we know who is subscribed to
our mailing lists and, a twitch a few months ago
notwithstanding, we do not allow anonymous Internet Drafts.
Some of those activities require payment, some don't.  Whether
some of those -- other than participation in an all-online
meeting -- should require payment is a discussion we can leave
for another day.

That is tied to the reasons I think that the LLC does not need
permission to charge a registration fee for participation in
online meetings.  We have established the principle that
identification and registration of participants is required and
the principle that a fee may be charged for registration.
Applying such a fee to remote participants (and, incidentally to
remote participants in WG interim meetings) may violate
tradition and be a terrible idea (and that may be arguments
about where "pay to play" come in) but I don't think it breaks
any principles.

However, I suggest we have a different set of principles that
apply to use of IETF products and observing its processes.  We
do not charge people (or require that they identify themselves)
to obtain and read RFCs.  We not only do not require that people
pay for Internet-Drafts and other working documents, we don't
restrict access to them to "Members" or identified participants.
And we don't require anyone, even lawyers planning to draw up
into litigation, journalists with a record of hostility toward
the IETF, curious bosses trying to check up on what they are
spending resources when they allow employees to participate in
the IETF, or people who want to observe meetings for a while to
see if they want to participate or advise others to do so, to
identify themselves and/or pay a fee to observe meetings in real

Now that seems to me like a principle, not trying to micromanage
administrative matters.  It even seems like a fairly important
principle.  I am more than a little surprised, in an IETF that
claims that openness about its own work and privacy across the
Internet are important, that the LLC can define anonymous remote
observers in an IETF meeting as an edge case not worth worrying
about if they can pick the videos up on YouTube in a few days.
Or perhaps I misunderstood Jay's comment about that.

>  I thought the point of the "decisions on the
> mailing list" was to avoid this problem?  This is not to
> discount the
> issue that continues to plague the IETF about how decisions are
> actually made.

If it works, it solves several other problems.  If it manifestly
does not work, I hope that none of us ever have to answer the
question about who we think we are kidding and, perhaps more
important, look forward to guidance from the IESG about working
groups not taking any actions that might be hard to reverse
prior to minutes and videos being available.  But, again, that
is not my main concern in this note. 

> Still: a more-asynchronous and more-distributed form of work
> such as is being forced again on the IETF might actually be
> salubrious.  It encourages the mode of decision-making that
> includes people not actually in the room at a moment, even if
> mailing lists are not the ultimate mode by which such
> decisions ought to be made.  (I think those are separate
> questions, much as I personally like mailing lists as a mode
> of operation.)
> Indeed, they are separate questions.  But yes.
>  > (2) The IETF has never charged for active remote >
> participation, even when someone remote was asking questions >
> via Jabber (or its predecessors) or having audio (and >
> sometimes video) piped into the room so they could present.
>  But this way of describing the topic requires "the [real]
> room" and "the remote" as distinct entities, with one of them
> the preferred one and one a degenerate case.  One might just
> as easily cast this case as, "Remote participation as a
> degenerate case is, for exigent reasons, over: everyone gets
> the same experience."  In that case, it's not that "remote
> participants" are losing something, but that there is no
> class, "remote participants".  In other words, the flattening
> of the participation space into a single class means that
> everyone has to pay the same ticket, or not be in. 

And a variation on that explanation is connected to why I think
the LLC is within its authority to impose a remote
_participation_ fee.  At the same time (and again with the
understanding that I don't think the same principles apply to
remote _participation_ that apply to remote observers), there
are a non-trivial number of IETF participants who have been
participating remotely for multiple years and who have built
personal (or corporate) budgets and plans around zero-fee remote
participation.   Even if 100% of the community were convinced
that imposing a fee on them (along with everyone else) was
within the LLC's authority, I suggest that it was unwise and bad
for the IETF to effectively tell those people (well, us) to
choose between finding adequate budget on short notice, coming
begging (and hoping that, if the number of people who ask is
more than 100, they get lucky), or deciding that the IETF is
just not where they want to be putting in energy any more.  

Frankly, for me and I assume many of our colleagues from
industrialized countries, the size of this registration fee for
one meeting is unlikely to be an issue but I think we have
participants from developing countries for whom that might not
be true.  More important, if the new plan is "even after we go
back to f2f meetings, everyone who participates pays" the impact
might be significant even for "historically mostly remote"
participants who can shrug off the charge for IETF 108.  So,
since any change that affects who can participate and who cannot
affects the whole of the IETF and the range of perspectives that
go into making our standards, I suggest that, even if there was
no requirement for them to do so, it would have been appropriate
and wise for the LLC to come to the community --as early as it
became clear that, if we were likely to do more than one meeting
online-- and say "fiscally, we are going to need to impose
registration fees for everyone, everyone including those
participating remotely, consider this a heads up and a request
for community input on impact and/or alternatives".  IMO, the
possibility that IETF 107 might not be the last meeting we could
not to f2f was clear, as a possibility, to almost everyone by
the second week in March and such an announcement/ request for
input could have been made then, certainly no later then when
IETF 107 started.  To come to the community at the very end of
May and say, approximately, "this is the decision and we had to
make it without consulting the community because it was an
emergency and there was no time" is, at best, a little
uncomfortable for reasons that have nothing to do with the
calculation of the amounts and other fiscal rules and policies