Re: Interim meetings - changing the way we work

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Thu, 26 February 2015 14:37 UTC

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Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2015 09:37:40 -0500
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Ted Lemon <Ted.Lemon@nominum.com>, Benoit Claise <bclaise@cisco.com>
Subject: Re: Interim meetings - changing the way we work
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--On Thursday, February 26, 2015 07:09 -0500 Ted Lemon
<Ted.Lemon@nominum.com> wrote:

>..
> Well, they certainly get more done.   I think 6tisch does
> bi-weekly meetings because it allows them to keep momentum and
> make continuous forward progress between IETFs.   I think this
> is a really good thing, although I agree with the observation
> that such meetings make things harder for people who are not
> able to be full-time contributors.

Such meetings also make things harder for those whose time zones
make the meetings difficult or incompatible with day job
schedules.  Of course, that might not have significant effect
anyone who is really a full-time IETF contributor (rather than
having other day job responsibilities) and who doesn't have a
personal life, but I suspect those people are fairly few.

That is also at least one big argument for doing things on
mailing lists rather than frequent interim meetings.  No matter
how much time they take up, mailing lists are intrinsically
asynchronous relative to time zones and non-IETF work and
personal schedules.  

> I think there is a real tension between a high clock rate
> enabling a good rate of progress and a too-high clock rate
> excluding participants.   I don't think there's an easy answer
> to this: 
>...

I agree, but I think it goes beyond that.  The more we shift
from doing almost all of our work on mailing lists to doing a
significant proportion of it in high-frequency interim meetings,
the more we tend to narrow effective participation to
vendor-supported people with dedicated time in convenient (for
the WG majority) time zones and reduce some of the diversity we
have claimed is important.

Reducing diversity in that way implies another risk: many
private-sector SDOs have been advised by counsel (or threatened/
forced by regulators) to establish measurable categories of
participants and then to not hold meetings or other discussions
unless minimum numbers or percentages of people from each
category were present.  I really hope we never need to go there,
especially if we are evolving in directions that reduce
diversity of interests and backgrounds.

     john