Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

Keith Moore <> Fri, 26 February 2021 00:21 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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From: Keith Moore <>
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Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 19:21:43 -0500
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On 2/25/21 6:49 PM, Salz, Rich wrote:

>>     So... mailing list are seen as a problematic mechanism to carry our work?
>> For some people I think the answer is yes.  It seems that overall use of email is declining, but it's hard to get real numbers without getting tangled up in email marketing newsletter business.

Some people prefer other ways of collaborating, and email also seems 
worse than it used to be.   As far as I can tell there are many reasons 
for that: mobile devices have resulted in reduced attention spans (who 
wants to read and mark up an Internet-Draft over a phone?), increasingly 
inconsistent user experience from one user to another, poor support for 
plain text, spam, a tendency of lots of different programs to clutter 
email with low-value notifications, etc.

It's still hard to beat email for IETF's purposes, though: it's very 
accessible and inclusive, low cost, doesn't require proprietary 
interfaces, easy to archive (and allows storage of arbitrary metadata in 
the message header), searchable, can use it without risk of vendor 
lockin, and seems to offer less risk to participants' privacy than other 
collaboration tools.

More generally I think the very nature of IETF - collaboration between 
large numbers of individuals from all over the planet and working in a 
wide variety of environments - inevitably requires some compromises.   
We will sometimes need to use tools that aren't our first choices, and 
we may need to use those tools differently than we'd use, say, with 
co-workers at our employers.   We can probably adapt and improve those 
interfaces over time, but some balance will need to be maintained 
because the same tool that optimizes one person's experience is likely 
to pessimize someone else's.