Re: [Ietf108planning] Registration open for IETF 108

Carsten Bormann <> Fri, 12 June 2020 21:55 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Ietf108planning] Registration open for IETF 108
From: Carsten Bormann <>
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Date: Fri, 12 Jun 2020 23:55:20 +0200
Cc: Toerless Eckert <>, IETF Discuss <>
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To: Christian Huitema <>
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On 2020-06-12, at 22:49, Christian Huitema <> wrote:
> On 6/11/2020 5:39 PM, Toerless Eckert wrote:
>> *rotfl*
>> At the risk of getting banned from Bremen for life:
>> a) How many hundreds of years ago was this model retired in Bremen ?

Sorry, I need to look this up (citation needed).
It sure was tied to the medieval idea of a city and its citizenship.

>> b) How many decades is Bremen now the poorest state in Germany
>>   living from subsidies by other states ?

(See off-topic comment on today’s Bremen below(*) if you care.)

> That model, (1) pay whatever you want, (2) it will be public what you
> paid, that is pretty much how operas, ballets, and museums are funded in
> the USA. That's called donations from the rich burghers, and they get to
> (1) claim a tax deduction and (2) get their names acknowledged in
> various programs, or in some cases carved on marble stone near the
> instance. But...

I thought hosts already get some marble plaques or some such.
(And they deserve them!)

>> Having said this: I would love for IETF to use this model and
>> think i have said so on this list in before. I think it does
>> work well when there is sufficient financial responsibilities
>> on all sides and i am quite confident this is the case for
>> IETF.
> But the "rich burghers" model has a significant impact on governance. In
> the case of operas and museums, that mean the board is largely made of
> rich donors and and caters to them. I think a model like that would have
> some interesting side effects on the governance of the IETF.

Yes.  That, of course, also was the idea of investing in your tax payments in medieval Bremen.
But the influence was much more subtle than a board seat: paying lots of taxes gave you reputation, and that was input to the meritocracy that ran the city.  Being the badly behaved rich parvenu didn’t help.


I was wondering whether a membership model might help, but that is even further along the axis of granting undue influence to those that can afford it.

Let me mention anyway that I like ACM’s lifetime membership model [1].
Pay once, with an amount reducing in steps based on age, and that’s it.
Needless to say: When I last had crossed one of these steps, I got one.
But the IETF is not a professional organization, and the issue of being able to expense the contribution wins over most other considerations.

Grüße, Carsten


(*): The current financial state of Bremen is mostly based on a federal decision in the 1960s that is extremely unfavorable to city states: income tax goes to your home state, not the state where you work.  So many of the rich Bremen citizens (I haven’t looked up recently whether we still have the highest millionaire percentage in Germany) pay their income tax to the state of lower saxonia, outside of Bremen, where their countryside mansions are.  Those “subsidies” are really stolen income tax (and only a small percentage).  And, yes, those rich people send their kids to schools in Bremen...