Re: AD workload [was Re: NomCom 2019 Call for Community Feedback]

Terry Manderson <> Wed, 06 November 2019 03:08 UTC

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Subject: Re: AD workload [was Re: NomCom 2019 Call for Community Feedback]
From: Terry Manderson <>
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Date: Wed, 6 Nov 2019 13:08:32 +1000
Cc: Brian E Carpenter <>, "" <>, ietf <>
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To: Mark Nottingham <>
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I’ve been watching this thread with an extreme level of interest.

And this, for better or worse, is my opinion. The IETF needs to want to change. The days, as Mark describes, of having that technical hero is gone. It’s time now to trust directorate reviews, and for WGs to make sure the WG does it’s own review. The days of a WG throwing a document over the wall to get AD acceptance really needs to be in the past. The “my AD will handle it” approach needs to be set aside. That document has to be proven before it gets to the rubber stamp process.

How you get there will require a culture change more significant than living through behaviours towards new participants, greater gender diversity involvement, cultural sensitives, and and understanding of the leadership/follower dynamic. The reason that it will be hard is that the extant culture (while I accept and appreciate my predecessors) is that it is built on the shoulders of legends. It’s now the time of the IETF to have a championship team, rather than a team of champions. Each member of that team needs to be responsible and accountable for their contribution. The world is changing around us, much faster than we can adapt. The IETF agility is, sadly, deserving of being turbo charged, and you can’t do that with a hand-full of brilliant people as the “fixers”. 

That is why the AD workload remains so high. Stop relying on the ADs to bless your “baby” (document). Make sure while in the WGs that WG-doc truely is ready to be published. Seek your own cross area and Directorate reviews. Be ruthless in what you write. Join Directorates en-masse. Learn how to review other’s documents and look out for your area or WG. Make sure you have thought about all scenarios. Work, above all, with your fellow contributors towards the best (not perfect) outcome that is deployable.

Understand that while the IETF has a huge reputation, there are other standards bodies that are doing this better, and faster, and resulting in bigger improvements to technology. 

This is not something one or two leaders can do for you. This you must all decide is appropriate and empower your leaders. Leaders can only exist with support.

You decide. The change comes from within first.

Mobile device, don't expect grammar.

> On 6 Nov 2019, at 12:23 pm, Mark Nottingham <> wrote:
> +1 to the Brian's thoughts below.
> I think this is one of the most important things we as a community need to address; we have a culture of expecting "heroes" to step up and take this job. That's going to bite us, sooner or later.
> Cheers,
>> On 6 Nov 2019, at 9:54 am, Brian E Carpenter <> wrote:
>> On 05-Nov-19 22:24, Benjamin Kaduk wrote:
>> ....
>>> The past few generic IESG job descriptions (as sent to Nomcom) have had
>>> some interesting text in this front (quoting from
>>> % An AD should be able to personally review every Internet-Draft that they
>>> % sponsor. For other Internet-Drafts an AD needs to be satisfied that
>>> % adequate review has taken place, though many ADs personally review these
>>> % documents as well. 
>> I'm sure the last clause is true, but maybe it's an error to include it in the job description almost as if it is a duty.
>> On 06-Nov-19 05:35, Eric Vyncke (evyncke) wrote:
>>> 1) AD are 'responsible' so they do need to check the intensive work of WG, shepherd, IETF last call and directorate
>> Yes, but that does *not* necessarily require this:
>>> 6) reviews are probably 50% of our time
>> And Eric also said:
>>> 2) sometimes the directorate reviews come too late for the IESG ballot for approval
>> In that case, perhaps the response should be to defer the ballot automatically, and make it public that the reason is a late review.
>> Also, do some areas only request telechat reviews? In my experience in Gen-ART, most issues and fixes occur during Last Call reviews, so that the telechat review is often a formality.
>> On 06-Nov-19 08:17, Kathleen Moriarty wrote:
>>>> Does every AD read all the drafts?  I don't know.  But changing the process to say one AD from each area would reduce the load.
>>> Some divide it up.  Pete & Barry had a split.  If there was a big load, Stephen would start from one end of the list and I'd start from the other.  We both mostly wanted to 'read' them all though.
>> The word that stands out for me is "wanted". Similarly, it's because I *want* to track the technology that I've been a Gen-ART reviewer for many years. But if (as people say every year at about this time) we really need to reduce the AD workload to something more like part-time, some things have to change.
>> It seems to me that the IESG itself can make such changes, since this is a matter of procedures rather than our formal rules. It's too late for this year, but maybe next year's NomCom could have an easier job.
>>  Brian
> --
> Mark Nottingham