Re: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)

Ofer Inbar <> Mon, 19 April 2021 20:33 UTC

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Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2021 16:32:34 -0400
From: Ofer Inbar <>
To: Masataka Ohta <>, Keith Moore <>, Victor Kuarsingh <>
Subject: Re: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)
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On Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 08:37:22PM +0900,
Masataka Ohta <> wrote:
> As TERM is trying to restrict very basic human right of freedom
> of speech in an international organization of IETF, it can be

This claim is ridiculous on its face.  TERM is supposed to study
whether to make recommendations about terminology, and if so, what
recommendations to make.  If they end up making specific
recommendations that somehow affect someone's freedom of speech,
please point those out and explain at that time.

> However, from comments on NYT article, it is obvious that, even
> in US, there is no such consensus, not even roughly.

As I already addressed, NYT commenters are not even slightly
representation of "the US population".  And it is also not
relevant at this stage.

I supposed based on your premise that TERM is somehow restricting your
freedom of speech, it could be relevant, so at least I see why you're
talking about a lack of US consensus.  However, even in that context,
I don't see why you would ignore the fact that NYT commenters are a
tiny and *systematically un-representative* sample so you can't
conclude anything about some consensus of the US population, even if
it were a consensus on a matter that were relevant to this discussion
... which, again, it's not.

Keith Moore <> wrote:
> >However, from comments on NYT article, it is obvious that, even
> >in US, there is no such consensus, not even roughly.
> I don't think any conclusion about consensus within the US can be
> drawn from the NYT article comments.   The sample is too small and
> not representative of the US population.

Yes, as I stated in the very message Masataka Ohta is replying to here.
"Not representative" is key to that particular point.  He chose to
focus on your saying "too small", and in fact we don't know whether
the commenter sample is too small for a well designed poll, but we
also can't know whether people are using sock puppets so we don't
know the real sample size anyway.  The fact that it's systematically
different from the US population AND also probably very small, means
that it can't be used to draw any conclusions about the larger population.

Victor Kuarsingh <> wrote:
> Yes, I would agree. Also, I suspect the IETF's view of consensus is
> different than what the general population may think it is.   Our approach
> to consensus makes sense when determining how to move forward and get
> things done with respect to technology, however for this topic (terminology
> as it applies to humanity) is far more than a technical topic.

Yes, as I addressed at length in the very message Masataka Ohta is
replying to here.  The supposed consensus or lack thereof of the US
population, is both not relevant to IETF process, and is about a
different matter than the WG consensus would be about, so it's doubly

You also bring up that this is not a technical matter, and that may
mean it should be handled differently.  I think we had a separate long
thread about that (with people suggesting this is a matter for the
IAB, for example).  I'm not weighing in on that discussion, just
saying that it's a separate point and would be best dealt with
separately from this thread.

But the subthread here about supposed lack of consensus in the US
population is off target for several reasons, and should be rejected.

1: NY Times comments do not indicate anything about the US population.

2: The US population is not the same population the IETF cares about.

3: Consensus on whether a specific term is an individual problem for
someone, is utterly irrelevant to whether TERM should be chartered,
even if we were talking about the intended population and even if
we did know something about that population's state of consensus.

4: Objections to particular recommendations or points that the WG
seeks to adopt cannot be made in some purely vague hypothetical sense
without any reference to a specific thing the WG is discussing.
  -- Cos