Re: IETF 62

Sam Hartman <hartmans@mit.edu> Mon, 20 September 2004 00:30 UTC

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From: Sam Hartman <hartmans@mit.edu>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2004 20:28:06 -0400
In-Reply-To: <414BE4F9.3020503@netlab.nec.de> (Lars Eggert's message of "Sat, 18 Sep 2004 09:34:17 +0200")
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Subject: Re: IETF 62
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Two things brought up in this thread disturb me.  First, there seems
to be the idea that we should be choosing where IETFs are held for
political purposes--to make statements for or against certain
governments.  I'm not quite sure this was said or implied, but if it
was, I'm made a bit uncomfortable by it.      

I certainly understand we should carefully consider situations that
make people unable or unwilling to attend an IETF.  Maximizing the
number of active (and potentially active) participants who can make it
to a meeting is a valid thing to consider.  If the political policies
of a country make it hard to get the people we need in that country
then we should go there less frequently or not at all.  Note that one
way these policies can make it hard for us to get the people we need
in a particular country is for these people to be unwilling to travel
to that country.  

However in similar situations (not all of them within the IETF
context) I've seen the desire to avoid a particular country go beyond
what is justified by a desire to make the conference accessible.  In
some cases it seemed to venture into the realm of political statement.
The conference seemed to want to say that they were taking a stand
against the policies of a country.  That is dangerous: getting
involved in politics may compromise our ability to construct the best
Internet we can.  There may be some cases where we must get involved
in politics; I'm skeptical that any involve conference venue
selection.  Even worse, it sometimes seems like the desire is to go
beyond a statement and actually punish countries by not going that.
That's just stupid; we end up punishing our own attendees from those
countries, not the countries themselves.

Again, I'm not sure I see this problem in this thread.  It's not
entirely clear what peoples' motivations are.  I know that I feel more
comfortable with the outcomes of discussions based on fair
distribution of travel and convenience of participants than I do with
the outcomes of discussions based on fingerprinting, rules and who is
involved in a particular country's decision making process.  This is
true even when the discussions produce identical results; the process
matters.

Secondly, I'm concerned that people are proposing optimizing for
pleasant climate and good vacation spots.  I come to the IETF to get
work done; I'd rather be at meetings where the other participants have
the same goal.  We should be somewhat careful of optimizing for
enjoyable location.  I'd rather see us optimize for who can attend and
cost.

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