Re: Stray thoughts on ' Update of IESG statement "Last Call Guidance to the Community"'

Brian E Carpenter <> Fri, 23 April 2021 02:35 UTC

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Subject: Re: Stray thoughts on ' Update of IESG statement "Last Call Guidance to the Community"'
To: Keith Moore <>, Adam Roach <>,,
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
From: Brian E Carpenter <>
Organization: University of Auckland
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 2021 14:35:39 +1200
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On 23-Apr-21 11:20, Keith Moore wrote:
> On 4/22/21 6:42 PM, Adam Roach wrote:
>>>> More pointedly -- it lets folks see discussions of IETF work product 
>>>> without them getting lost among (checks notes) 150 messages about a 
>>>> New York Times article, 132 posts about QUIC and DNSSEC, and 234 
>>>> messages about inclusiveness.
>>>> I'm not necessarily saying these topics aren't worth discussing; but 
>>>> it's important to get broad consensus on the documents we publish as 
>>>> RFCs, and we can't afford to lose those conversations under the 
>>>> crush of high-volume topics. The risk of documents in last call 
>>>> getting lost in the noise is far more of a barrier to being 
>>>> "available to the community" than the use of a dedicated mailing list.
>>> One can credibly make the opposite argument also: that it's hard to 
>>> find the time/patience to scan all of the Last Call discussions that 
>>> happen, just so you can be "in the loop" for the relatively rare Last 
>>> Call discussions that seem important to you. 
>> That's the same argument on a smaller scale: I asserted that we needed 
>> (and then benefited from) a smaller haystack for the needles of 
>> interest, and you're saying that the new, much smaller haystack may 
>> still be too large for effective needle finding.
> Actually, no, though perhaps I didn't make myself sufficiently clear.   
> Let me try to describe it differently:
> Everybody has their own idea of which messages are relevant and which 
> are not relevant.
> If the list you're reading has a high percentage of relevant (to you) 
> messages, you may find it worth your time/energy/patience to deal with 
> the relatively rare irrelevant message, enough that you will peruse the 
> entire list.  By doing so, you also have the opportunity to discover 
> discussions which are valuable to you (and some of less value to  you) 
> that you would not have specifically looked for.
> But if everybody reads only from very narrowly focused lists, those 
> opportunities will be lost, and nearly everyone will be working from 
> within a narrow silo.
> So I specifically don't advocate "even finer grained breakdown".   But 
> I'm trying to brainstorm ways in which people can still at least be 
> aware of more diverse conversations, without getting drowned in the flood.
> Or from another angle: I doubt that the last-call@ list is actually a 
> high signal-to-noise ratio for many, because I suspect that few people 
> outside of IESG really want to read about every Last Call.   (Feel free 
> to tell me if I'm assumed incorrectly.) So I'm wondering if lists that 
> are organized along different dimensions would work better, say one list 
> per area with all of the announcements (BOF, WG discussion, LC 
> discussions, etc.) pertaining to that area included on the list.   But 
> why should we limit ourselves to statically configured lists, if we can 
> instead each specify what areas/topics/WGs we're interested in?

Well, last call threads are (or should be) cc'ed to the WGs concerned,
and if you sort your incoming mail by WG before sorting by "last call",
you will get that effect anyway. (Example: my filters sort anything with
an ipv6-related WG in its To/CC into an IPv6 inbox, and that filter
has higher priority than the filter for my "last call" inbox.) But
this breaks if somebody trims the CC list unduly.


On 23-Apr-21 12:11, Lloyd W wrote:

> Amazingly, section 4.5 of the Tao of the IETF, on mailing lists, makes no mention of mail management or filtering,
> Essential life tools, in my opinion.

I agree. does say this:

"You need to be using a mail program with a good method of automatically
sorting incoming mail into multiple inboxes."

but even that text has been criticised. Much bikeshedding lies ahead, but
you could send draft text to the Tao maintainers via
Not here, because that is like shouting into the wind.