Re: Things that I think obvious....

Margaret Wasserman <> Wed, 15 September 2004 13:38 UTC

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Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 09:19:08 -0400
To: Harald Tveit Alvestrand <>,
From: Margaret Wasserman <>
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Subject: Re: Things that I think obvious....
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Hi Harald,

As you say below, "clarity is good".  So, before I respond to this 
post, I would like to better understand what you are asking...

RFC 3716 includes the following section:

"4.3.  Who Can Decide

    The AdvComm believes that the IETF leadership, acting with the advice
    and consent of the IETF community and ISOC, have the ability and the
    responsibility to act on the recommendation to formalize the IETF."

So, given your definitions below and the contents of other messages, 
I think you are asking whether there is IETF community consensus on 
the following statement:

    The [IESG and IAB], acting with the advice and consent of the [people
    who do the technical work of the IETF] and ISOC, have the ability and
    the responsibility to act on the recommendation to formalize the IETF
    [administrative support activity].

To make a decision regarding whether or not I agree with this 
statement, I would need to understand what is meant by "advice and 
consent".  In previous non-public conversations, these terms have 
been defined as follows:

>- ADVICE - someone posits a problem, the group discusses, and comes up
>with viewpoints that may or may not be helpful. The viewpoints go back
>to the person(s) being advised, but the group is NOT expected to reach a
>decision. Conflicting opinions are expected, and are Not A Problem.
>- CONSENT - someone makes a proposal, and asks for the consent of the
>group. The group uses the consensus process to develop a position, but
>the outcome is much more bounded than in consensus problem solving -
>generally, it's limited to "I can live with this" and "Go back and try
>again, this won't work".

Advice from the community can be obtained through discussion on this 
(and other?) IETF mailing lists and through plenary discussions.

The usual method for determining the consent of the community is 
through IETF Last Call and IESG review/approval.

In other words, I think you are proposing that the options for 
administrative restructuring should be discussed openly (as they are 
being discussed now) so that the community has an opportunity to 
provide advice, that the IAB & IESG should jointly develop a specific 
proposal for further community review/advice, and that the final 
proposal should be subject to community consent through the usual 
IETF Last Call and IESG review/approval mechanism.

Am I understanding your question correctly?  If so, then yes, I do 
agree with it.

...but I don't consider it to be at all obvious.


At 12:21 PM +0200 9/9/04, Harald Tveit Alvestrand wrote:
>I thought it would make sense for me to mention a few things I have 
>regarded as "obvious" in this discussion - just to make sure nobody 
>comes along later and says "you can't draw a conclusion based on 
>that - while I agree with you, there might be others who don't" or 
>something like that.
>Clarity is good.
>It is very hard to state these things in a way where nobody can 
>quibble with the formulations, but I will try anyway.
>1 - The IETF exists, and it is the IETF community.
>Even though we have carefully avoided defining its boundaries, I 
>believe that we all believe that the IETF exists. And it's obvious 
>that if the people who do the technical work leave, the IETF is 
>So the IETF is the community.
>2 - The IETF leadership is the IESG and IAB.
>Some jobs are clearly given to the IESG in our documents; other jobs 
>are clearly given to the IAB. Some jobs are not mentioned at all.
>As part of the process of change, the community may select other 
>people or create new bodies for other types of leadership.
>And the IAB and IESG has to be in a continuing dialogue with the 
>community in order to figure out what the right things to do are.
>But there is at present no other leadership function selected by the 
>3 - The community has accepted the problem description and 
>principles laid out in RFC 3716.
>The most common reaction I have had from people who have read RFC 
>3716 is "it's obvious, now that you say it". And it would be hard 
>for anyone who reads the IETF list or the IETF-announce list, or the 
>most recent plenaries, to be completely unaware of its existence, or 
>that we are basing further work on its conclusions.
>So - if there was significant disagreement with its conclusions - 
>I'd have expected to hear that before now.
>As I said - I *think* these things are fairly obvious. But it might 
>still be reasonable to check that other people agree.
>Ietf mailing list

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