Re: New Non-WG Mailing List: unbearable

Douglas Otis <> Tue, 09 December 2014 20:04 UTC

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Subject: Re: New Non-WG Mailing List: unbearable
From: Douglas Otis <>
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Date: Tue, 9 Dec 2014 12:03:57 -0800
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To: John C Klensin <>
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On Dec 9, 2014, at 11:30 AM, John C Klensin <> wrote:

> --On Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:36 -0600 Nico Williams
> <> wrote:
>> On Fri, Dec 05, 2014 at 02:49:41PM -0500, John C Klensin wrote:
>>> As a member of or sympathizer with various societies for bear
>>> encouragement and preservation (black, brown, polar, Cub
>>> Scouts, Teddy, Pooh, ... in no particular order), I find this
>>> name really objectionable.  From the description,
>>> "unbearerable" might have been better, "betterbearer"
>>> certainly would have been.
>> If the outcome is intended to be proof-of-possession
>> extensions that render bearer token schemes
>> no-longer-bearer... then "unbearable" seems better than
>> "betterbearer", though I agree with you that "unbearable"
>> comes across as potentially insulting.  Maybe we should all be
>> thick- skinned[*] enough to get the joke and move on, but:
>>> I wonder if anyone has ever appealed a mailing list name.
>> The risk here is that key participants might simply... ignore
>> it until it's too late.  I think the AD can probably do some
>> promotion to try to avoid such an outcome.
> Nico,
> I was trying to keep the complaint light and at least slightly
> humorous, but I am concerned that we seem to often choose names
> for passing amusement value that later turn out to cause
> confusion, bad attitudes or worse.  Those reactions sometimes
> occur in communities who are not normally visible in the IETF.
> It may also be that my periodic involvement with the collection
> of policy, strategy, organizational, administrative, and
> regulatory issues that are mischaracterized as "Internet
> governance" (more outside the IETF than inside) has left me
> oversensitive, but I've had to listen to discussions --in
> obvious and not-so-obvious places-- in which the IETF is
> dismissed as a bunch of small children who are too impressed by
> their own cleverness and busy and  with activities like
> self-congratulatory giggling about their latest in-joke or
> esoteric debate about things that make no difference to be taken
> seriously.  
> Independent of how important those reactions actually are, with
> the sorts of discussions going on that have been represented
> here by the Internetgovtech and IANAPlan efforts, various
> clusters of countries trying to impose their own views about how
> the Internet should be structured and where those topics should
> be discussed, reviews of IGF and other discussion arrangements
> in progress, etc., it is probably not the best time to exhibit
> how clever we can be about silly names for Working Groups,
> Mailing Lists, or other activities.
> In that context, the risk of an appeal is that it would call
> even more unwanted attention to the topic.

Dear John,

Agreed.  Those within the IETF might be concerned even a simple concept is too politically charged.  Perhaps a mailing-lists "soap-box" might divert distractions without curtailing individual expression.

Douglas Otis