Re: Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF

S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com> Fri, 26 February 2021 05:59 UTC

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Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2021 21:43:20 -0800
To: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>, ietf@ietf.org
From: S Moonesamy <sm+ietf@elandsys.com>
Subject: Re: Diversity and Inclusiveness in the IETF
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Hi Brian,
At 12:44 PM 25-02-2021, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>That is not a simple question with a simple answer. If the person (or
>their employer) has a strong interest in the topic, they will invest
>the time to follow the email discussions, understand what is going on
>behind the apparent lack of progress, and decide how best to engage in
>and influence the conversation. Anybody with much experience in complex
>debates (whether or not in SDOs) will already know that things take
>time (months or years). If the person has casual interest, they may
>decide to leave the topic alone and check back a year later. Any
>choice between those two extremes is possible, depending on the case.
>I've certainly chosen many points on that scale during my time
>at the IETF (and the Global Grid Forum when it existed, and minor
>engagements with other SDOs).

My guess on a draft which I presented to GENDISPATCH was that it was 
unlikely that it would be sponsored by the Responsible Area 
Director.  It was better, in my opinion, to get the so-called 
"running code" experience on that.

In my opinion, whether it was a simple question or not depends on the 
level of experience of the persons engaged in the exchange.  The 
debates are, in general, complex given the vested interests.  I 
remember a question which was asked in a session about the IETF which 
was partially funded by an organization I am affiliated with.  A 
young woman from West Africa asked the speaker how he gets paid for 
what he what he was doing.  It was an awkward moment as there is an 
expectation that people residing in Africa should not ask such a 
question to a person who resides outside the region.

>Certainly, if one is not patient, persistent and open to argument,
>one will not succeed in the IETF, but that is nothing to do
>with diversity and inclusiveness. How we (those already here)
>treat newcomers is of course important, but that is a quite
>different question from the one you asked.

The "open to argument" is actually related to diversity.  In some 
cultures direct confrontation is viewed as immature and unnecessary.

>We already advise newcomers to watch the discussion for a while
>before contributing [1]. Perhaps that advice should be strengthened.

The advice to newcomers is likely against IETF Consensus [1].


Regards,
S. Moonesamy

1. There was a discussion about "adults in the room".