Re: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists"

Geoff Huston <> Tue, 27 November 2012 20:02 UTC

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Subject: Re: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists"
From: Geoff Huston <>
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Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2012 07:02:55 +1100
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To: Barry Leiba <>
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On 28/11/2012, at 5:00 AM, Barry Leiba <> wrote:

> On Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM, Dale R. Worley <> wrote:
>>> That attendance showed me that most of the IETF meeting was a
>>> waste of time, that it was e-mail that was the main vehicle for work,
>>> and I think that the IETF web site has it about right when it says
>> This is all true.  Any decision come to during a meeting session must
>> be reviewed and approved on the WG mailing list.  The reason for this
>> is to ensure that one can participate completely *without* attending
>> the meetings and paying the associated expenses.
> This brings up a question that I have as an AD:
> A number of times since I started in this position in March, documents
> have come to the IESG that prompted me (or another AD) to look into
> the document history for... to find that there's basically no history.
> We see a string of versions posted, some with significant updates to
> the text, but *no* corresponding mailing list discussion.  Nothing at
> all.  The first we see of the document on the mailing list is a
> working group last call message, which gets somewhere between zero and
> two responses (which say "It's ready."), and then it's sent to the
> responsible AD requesting publication.
> When I ask the responsible AD or the document shepherd about that, the
> response is that, well, no one commented on the list, but it was
> discussed in the face-to-face meetings.  A look in the minutes of a
> few meetings shows that it was discussed, but, of course, the minutes
> show little or none of the discussion.
> We accept that, and we review the document as usual, accepting the
> document shepherd's writeup that says that the document has "broad
> consensus of the working group."
> So here's my question:
> Does the community want us to push back on those situations?

I do not speak for the community, naturally, but this particular member of the community says: Very much so.

if neither the mailing list or the minutes of the meetings are showing no visible activity then its reasonable to conclude that the document is not the product of an open consensus based activity, and the proponents behind the document, who presumably used other fora (presumably closed) to get their document up the the IESG. If the IESG rubber stamps this because "its just an informational" or "well, the document shepherd claimed that it had been reviewed" then the IESG is as derelict in its duty.

If a document in WG last call gets no visible support on the WG mailing list then it should never head to the IESG, nor should the IESG publish to draft.

>  Does the
> community believe that the real IETF work is done on the mailing
> lists, and not in the face-to-face meetings, to the extent that the
> community would want the IESG to refuse to publish documents whose
> process went as I've described above, on the basis that IETF process
> was not properly followed?

I do not speak for the community, naturally, but this particular member of the community says: yes, of course.