Re: Specific Questions about Registration details for IETF 108

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Sat, 06 June 2020 01:36 UTC

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Date: Fri, 05 Jun 2020 21:35:57 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Andrew Sullivan <ajs@anvilwalrusden.com>, IETF <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: Specific Questions about Registration details for IETF 108
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--On Friday, June 5, 2020 11:30 -0400 Andrew Sullivan
<ajs@anvilwalrusden.com> wrote:

>...
> (More generally, and not in reference to Bob's message in
> particular, I'm a little surprised at the degree to which the
> community wants to manage the LLC on this topic, given the
> oft-expressed concern during the IASA reform work that the
> community tended to try to involve itself in details that were
> really properly a staff question.)

I want to respond to that comment and that comment alone.  

I can't speak for others and wouldn't try, but I've been trying
to make and preserve an important distinction that the comment
above may obscure.  My understanding of the LLC and the IASA2
documents has been that the LLC is not permitted to make
decisions that change the standards process (or who can
participate in it) at least in non-trivial ways.  Such decisions
have to be made by the community, using ordinary IETF procedures
in ordinary ways.  I also don't believe there is anything in the
LLC documents that permits the LLC, or its contractors or
appointees, to say "this is an emergency and hence we get to
make changes to the standards process especially if those are
just consequences of other decisions".

So, as examples,

(1) The IETF has had a practice (I'd claim a principle) that
people are allowed to observe sessions in real time, without
identifying themselves or paying a fee, since "observe" meant
audio-only and multicast.  Some of us (maybe very few) believe
the availability of that option is key to perceptions of the
IETF being open and key to both the standards process and its
credibility.   Does the LLC get to say "for all-remote meetings
generally, or at least for IETF 108, we are charging for remote
participation and anyone who wants to observe anonymously just
has to wait for the YouTube videos" and to do so without
community discussion of the issues and tradeoffs?  I think that
violates their charter and authority.  YMMD.

(2) The IETF has never charged for active remote participation,
even when someone remote was asking questions via Jabber (or its
predecessors) or having audio (and sometimes video) piped into
the room so they could present.  Some people clearly think that
is as much as a principle (and as important to the standards
process) as the above.  I don't (for reasons that are outside
the scope of this note), but there is certainly enough of a
question there that the decision to charge, without community
discussion, seems like having a discussion about appropriateness
is reasonable.

I think there are also examples on the other side of the
boundary I'm trying to describe.   If things were "normal" and
the LLC were to decide to charge extra for cookies rather than
including them in the registration fee or to offer a discount on
registration for anyone who did not want a tee-shirt, I'd be
very concerned if the IETF felt a need to get involved in those
decisions and even more concerned if there were quibbling about
the amounts.   I would feel much the same way if we were having
a debate about whether the minimum registration fee for IETF 108
should be $100, $230, or $400.  In all of those cases, I think
the community would be within its rights to insist, as a matter
of accountability, on explanations of why particular numbers
were chosen, but that is different from debating the precise
values of the numbers, "managing the LLC", or trying to involve
itself in details that are properly staff functions.

Just my opinion.
best,
   john