RE: Sergeant at arms: please deal with

"Richard Shockey" <> Wed, 23 October 2013 14:37 UTC

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From: Richard Shockey <>
To: 'Melinda Shore' <>,
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Subject: RE: Sergeant at arms: please deal with
Date: Wed, 23 Oct 2013 10:36:58 -0400
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IN line below..

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Melinda Shore
Sent: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:41 PM
Subject: Re: Sergeant at arms: please deal with

The more I've been thinking about this the less comfortable I am with how
this was executed.  I have no disagreement whatsoever with removing this
person's posting privileges.
But, I have a huge problem with Jordi's statement:

  "As Sergeant-at-arms, I agree with other previous
  postings and believe that anonymous posting is not
  tolerable in the IETF mail exploders."

Clearly, there are non-trivial problems around making decisions on the basis
of something sort of like identity in unauthenticated email.  We don't
*really* know who other people are - we tend to assume that they are who
they say they are and evaluate their credibility (or not) on things like
content, reputation, past performance, etc.  The problem with isn't that he (and since we're pretty sure we know
who this is, we'll stick with masculine pronouns) has an email address that
doesn't look like a name (although his name could have been Mars Techno Cat,
as unlikely as that is).  The problem is that he had no prior history of
posting -as that name- and posted nothing but off-topic rants and personal
I would hope that the attacks would be sufficient to have his posting
privileges revoked and that having an unfamiliar email address would not be

Additionally, let me suggest that finding anonymous posts "not tolerable" is
inconsistent with the perpass discussions and concerns expressed *here*
about privacy.
We want accountability in our documents and that means knowing that the
people who contribute to our work 1) have technical substance, and 2) are
having their comments and text evaluated by other people of technical
substance.  It does not necessarily mean knowing their names or identities.
In many discussions about privacy and about whether or not various
cryptographic technologies have been deliberately weakened by some US
government agency, there have been repeated assertion that open processes
and aggressive review provide protection against that sort of problem.  That
ought to apply here, as well.

Anonymity is not a problem.  Behaving badly is a problem.

[RS> ]  That is the central issue.  Anonymity cannot be used as a shield to
protect abusive or criminal behavior.  That is an issue some of us are
struggling with in the RAI area with STIR and the global voice
communications network.  The right to privacy is also in part a "right to be
left alone".  

I really never want to see someone's ejection justified on the basis of
their putative "anonymity" again.  I am not arguing that ought to be allowed anywhere near an IETF mailing
list but that the reason that was given for throwing him off was not
correct.  We should be working to protect anonymity and privacy, not
punishing it.

[RS> ] With exceptions.  Nothing is absolute here.  There are exceptions
where various actors, state or otherwise, have to be able to break the cloak
of anonymity in order to protect the safety and health of others.  Sometimes
..sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the desires of the few.