Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY

Larry Masinter <> Sat, 14 February 2015 06:04 UTC

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From: Larry Masinter <>
To: Mary Barnes <>, Ted Lemon <>
Subject: Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY
Thread-Topic: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY
Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 06:04:04 +0000
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creating effective standards is a community activity to avoid the

that would result if individuals and organizations all went their own way.
The common good is “the Internet works consistently for everyone” needs to compete against “enough of the Internet works ok for my friends” where everyone has different friends.

For voluntary standards to happen, you need rough consensus — enough people agree to force the remainder to go along.

It’s a community activity, and for that to work there has to be a sense of community. And video links with remote participation aren’t enough to create a sense of community.

There are groups that purport t to manage with minimal face-to-face meetings, but I think those are mainly narrow scope and a small number of relevant players, or an already established community, and they regularly rely heavily on 24/7 online chat, social media, open source tools, wikis which are requirements for full participation.

The “hallway conversations” are not a nice-to-have, they’re how the IETF preserves community with open participation.

One negative aspect of IETF “culture” (loosely, the way in which the IETF community interacts) is that it isn’t friendly or easy to match and negotiate with other SDOs, so we see the WHATWG / W3C / IETF unnecessary forking of URL / URI / IRI, encodings, MIME sniffing, and the JSON competing specs based at least partly on cultural misunderstandings.

The main thing nomcom  needs to select for is  technical leadership (the skill of getting people to follow)  in service of the common good). And nomcom members should have enough experience to have witnessed successful leadership. One hopes there might be some chance of that just by attending 3 meetings, although the most effective leadership is often exercised in those private hallway conversations where compromises are made.