Re: Planned experiment: A new mailing list for last-call discussions

John C Klensin <> Mon, 16 September 2019 13:44 UTC

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Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2019 09:44:46 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Eric Rescorla <>
cc: Bob Hinden <>, Barry Leiba <>, IETF <>
Subject: Re: Planned experiment: A new mailing list for last-call discussions
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--On Sunday, September 15, 2019 19:28 -0700 Eric Rescorla
<> wrote:

>> I almost agree.  There have certainly been weeks lately in
>> which I would classify the bulk of the traffic on the main
>> IETF list as unpleasant and have wished that much of hadn't
>> reached me. However, we claim that the basis of what we do is
>> "IETF consensus".  Today, someone who opts out of the IETF
>> list essentially opts out of that consensus process no matter
>> how active they might be in, e.g., particular WGs.
> I'm not sure on what basis you make that claim, but I don't
> agree. The discussion in the WG is part of the consensus
> proces.

Absolutely and I didn't intend to suggest otherwise.  However,
as Melinda has pointed out, WG consensus is not IETF consensus.
My continuing concern, as I have expressed in other contexts
recently, is that the quality of cross-area review -- careful
review by participants who are not active in the WG or even in
the WG's area of work-- is deteriorating and that what we mean
by "IETF consensus" is consequently changing without or
explicitly recognizing that.  

If WG participants choose to sit out the IETF LC on one if their
documents, I can understand that.  If an issue is raised during
IETF LC that has been discussed and resolved in the WG, I expect
that information to be injected into the LC discussion by WG
participants, document authors, WG Chairs, or the AD.  If none
of those people are watching and find that the issue has been
raised on the IETF list, we have a problem.   That is
particularly important, IMO, because "the WG discussed that
issue and concluded X" should be important input to a Last Call
discussion but must not end that discussion because there would
then be too much risk that a small number of participants (or
their companies) would determine the IETF decisions.

I am concerned that the need to copy WG mailing lists with LC
comments means that too many participants in individual WGs are
not taking on responsibility for reviewing work in other WGs and
areas but have no illusions that dropping those copies would
change the LC participation level significantly.  

But, again, my concern is that we get the best cross-area
reviews possible and reach IETF consensus on that basis, not
that WG participation and consensus within the WG is unimportant.