RE: Qualitative Analysis of IETF and IESG trends (Re: Measuring IETFand IESG trends)

"Ross Callon" <> Wed, 25 June 2008 17:20 UTC

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Subject: RE: Qualitative Analysis of IETF and IESG trends (Re: Measuring IETFand IESG trends)
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2008 13:19:19 -0400
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Thread-Topic: Qualitative Analysis of IETF and IESG trends (Re: Measuring IETFand IESG trends)
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From: "Ross Callon" <>
To: "Lakshminath Dondeti" <>, <>
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I think that this is a very good partial summary of the trends, and I am
also concerned about these. 

My personal opinion only: I think that we need stronger guidelines on
what is a valid discuss, and what is not. We might need some mechanism
for the WG or the IETF or the IAB to override a DISCUSS that does not
represent consensus. As one example, personally I would prefer to not
allow DISCUSS's for the purpose of motivating future or ongoing work --
there are lots of people associated with the IETF who would like to get
their names on drafts, and if work is needed it should be possible to
motivate it without stopping progression of some different related
draft. Also, if work is being done motivated solely by the desire to get
past a DISCUSS comment and without any intention of ever deploying the
result, then there is a very real possibility that the work might not
result in the most practical solution.

I think that producing and coming to consensus on these guidelines might
be a significant challenge. However, I think that this is needed. 


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Lakshminath Dondeti
Sent: 25 June 2008 11:45
Subject: Qualitative Analysis of IETF and IESG trends (Re: Measuring
IETFand IESG trends)

Hi all,

I am concerned by the following trends:

* Number of outstanding Discusses is growing. (Thanks to Jari's data)

* The extent of text changes as part of Discuss Resolution is increasing

(I have only anecdotal evidence on this; perhaps others have

* In some cases, members of the IESG are pretty much writing core parts 
of documents (or worse yet make authors iterate until the text is 
satisfactory), overruling WG consensus, based on personal opinions or 
citing solicited reviews.

There are a number of derivative trends as well:

* ADs who cannot convince working groups seem to use the threat of 
DISCUSS to get their way.

* I would have thought document shepherds represent and defend working 
group consensus and shepherding ADs defend the completeness, accuracy, 
relevance of the drafts and defend their assessment of the IETF 
consensus.  But, increasingly, it seems to fall on an AD holding a 
DISCUSS position, and authors to discuss and agree on text which becomes

finalized without any other review.

(Note: I am a guilty party in some of these cases, as document author 
and document shepherd.  In all cases, I seem to have looked for an 
expedient way out rather than find a solution to what seems to be 

* One of the new trends seems to be to use DISCUSS to include 
applicability statements in current drafts to avoid potential DISCUSS 
positions on future drafts.

That or some variation of that is status quo.  It should not be that 
way.  I would like to see a better definition of the roles of the WG, 
authors of a document, document shepherds, shepherding ADs and other ADs

in our standards process.

I would like to hear others' opinions (I was going to put together a 
draft with some ideas on how we might define these roles, but I want to 
hear others' thoughts before I do that) on this topic.


On 6/25/2008 4:37 AM, Jari Arkko wrote:
<deleted text>
> That being said, it is beneficial to understand what is happening and 
> what changes are occurring in the process. Or understand where 
> improvements might have a negligible vs. visible impact.
> One of the things that the IESG has been concerned about recently is 
> that the number of outstanding Discusses is growing. We talked about 
> this in our May retreat and identified some actions to help reduce
> problem. For instance, better tool support so that the ADs would
> see the different things that are waiting for their action, getting
> document shepherds better involved in the resolution process,
> authors how they should respond to Discusses, using RFC Editor notes
> make small changes when the authors are slow in producing a new
> better checks of documents before they come to telechats (e.g., to 
> ensure that formal syntax in a document is free of errors), etc. These

> would be in addition to the usual things we'd do, like debate whether 
> the Discuss was within the Discuss criteria, whether the issue is
> try to ensure that the AD and the authors are being responsive over 
> e-mail, etc.
> Another interesting area to think about is the time that our processes

> take. For instance, documents that go through me take on the average 
> five months from publication request to approval. But there is a lot
> variation. This time includes everything from AD review, IETF Last
> to IESG review and waiting for document revisions, etc. One
> piece of information is that documents that require no revision during

> this process are very rare, but they go through the system about five 
> times as fast. If we look at the (unreliable) substates, they appear
> indicate that the IESG processing time is divided roughly 1:2:1 for 
> waiting on AD, authors, and mandatory process waits like last call
> I am working to extend the analysis a little bit further by including 
> individual draft and WG document stages. You see some of the results
> this in the third URL above, but I'd like to understand what fraction
> the overall draft-smith-00 to RFC time is taken by the different
> for all IETF work, and how the stages have developed over time.
> Comments and suggestions on what would be useful to measure are
> Jari
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