Re: "why I quit writing internet standards"

Abdussalam Baryun <> Mon, 14 April 2014 16:17 UTC

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Date: Mon, 14 Apr 2014 17:17:01 +0100
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Subject: Re: "why I quit writing internet standards"
From: Abdussalam Baryun <>
To: "George, Wes" <>
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I was thinking of why many quit reviewing adopted IETF drafts (or even quit
participating). In my situation there is a draft adopted in 6Lo WG and
still the author does not answer my question reminder, and it may make me
quit reviewing as well. I think IETF does not have problem of
participants quit to write but participants quit to review and contribute
more into drafts.


On Monday, April 14, 2014, George, Wes wrote:

>  I’m surprised that no one has sent this out yet:
>  "Summary: After contributing to standards organizations for more than
> seven years, engineer Vidya Narayanan decided it was time to move on.
> Although she still believes that these organizations make the Internet a
> better place, she wonders about the pace of change versus the pace of
> organizations."
>  My thoughts-
>  There are some nuggets of truth in what she says in this article, and in
> some of the comments. I think that the problems are real, so there’s value
> in taking the criticism constructively, despite the fact that the author
> chose to focus on the problems without any suggestions of solutions.
>  "while the pace at which standards are written hasn’t changed in many
> years, the pace at which the real world adopts software has become orders
> of magnitude faster."
> …
> "Running code and rough consensus, the motto of the IETF, used to be
> realizable at some point. … In the name of consensus, we debate frivolous
> details forever. In the name of patents, we never finish.”
> …
>  "Unless these standards organizations make radical shifts towards
> practicality, their relevance will soon be questionable.”
>   I don’t have too many big ideas how to fix these problems, but I’ll at
> least take a crack at it in order to spur discussion. My paraphrase of the
> problem and some discussion follows.
>  - We’ve lost sight of consensus and are too often derailed by a vocal
> minority of those willing to endlessly debate a point.
>  Part of the solution to that is reiterating what consensus is and is
> not, such as draft-resnick-on-consensus so that we don’t confuse a need for
> consensus with a need for unanimity. Part of the solution is IETF
> leadership helping to identify when we have rough consensus encumbered by a
> debate that will never resolve itself, without quieting actual disagreement
> that needs continued discussion in order to find a compromise. I don’t have
> good suggestions on how to make that second half better.
>  - We don’t have nearly enough focus on running code as the thing that
> helps to ensure that we’re using our limited cycles on getting the right
> things out expediently, and either getting the design right the first time,
> or failing quickly and iterating to improve
>  The solution here may be that we need to be much more aggressive at
> expecting any standards track documents to have running code much earlier
> in the process. The other part of that is to renew our focus on actual
> interop standards work, probably by charter or in-group feedback, shift
> focus away from BCP and info documents. Perhaps when considering whether to
> proceed with a given document, we need test as to whether it’s actively
> helpful/needed and ensure that we know what audience would be looking at
> it, rather than simply ensuring that it is “not harmful” and mostly within
> the WG’s chartered focus.
>  Thanks,
> Wes George
>  Anything below this line has been added by my company’s mail server, I
> have no control over it.
> -----------
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