"IETF work is done on the mailing lists"

Barry Leiba <barryleiba@computer.org> Tue, 27 November 2012 18:00 UTC

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Subject: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists"
From: Barry Leiba <barryleiba@computer.org>
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On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM, Dale R. Worley <worley@ariadne.com> wrote:
>> That attendance showed me that most of the IETF meeting was a
>> waste of time, that it was e-mail that was the main vehicle for work,
>> and I think that the IETF web site has it about right when it says
> This is all true.  Any decision come to during a meeting session must
> be reviewed and approved on the WG mailing list.  The reason for this
> is to ensure that one can participate completely *without* attending
> the meetings and paying the associated expenses.

This brings up a question that I have as an AD:

A number of times since I started in this position in March, documents
have come to the IESG that prompted me (or another AD) to look into
the document history for... to find that there's basically no history.
 We see a string of versions posted, some with significant updates to
the text, but *no* corresponding mailing list discussion.  Nothing at
all.  The first we see of the document on the mailing list is a
working group last call message, which gets somewhere between zero and
two responses (which say "It's ready."), and then it's sent to the
responsible AD requesting publication.

When I ask the responsible AD or the document shepherd about that, the
response is that, well, no one commented on the list, but it was
discussed in the face-to-face meetings.  A look in the minutes of a
few meetings shows that it was discussed, but, of course, the minutes
show little or none of the discussion.

We accept that, and we review the document as usual, accepting the
document shepherd's writeup that says that the document has "broad
consensus of the working group."

So here's my question:
Does the community want us to push back on those situations?  Does the
community believe that the real IETF work is done on the mailing
lists, and not in the face-to-face meetings, to the extent that the
community would want the IESG to refuse to publish documents whose
process went as I've described above, on the basis that IETF process
was not properly followed?

I realize that this question is going to elicit some vehemence.
Please be brief and polite, as you respond.  :-)

Barry, Applications AD