Re: IETF Administrative Reorganization: What was that problem anyway?

Carl Malamud <> Wed, 15 September 2004 19:26 UTC

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From: Carl Malamud <>
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To: John C Klensin <>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 2004 12:04:05 -0700
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Subject: Re: IETF Administrative Reorganization: What was that problem anyway?
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John -

Let me try again.  I wasn't trying for debating points.

It seems to me that you said that my report covered a lot
of ground that doesn't need to be covered.  And, that the
overall focus of the administrative restructuring is
misconceived, trying to solve a set of problems that don't
necessarily exist and perhaps trying to solve those
problems in a non-optimal way.  In other words, the
exercise is misguided.  Not trying to put words in your

I then jumpted on the one action that it seemed you might
endorse (which is hire an administrative director).  
Again, the point you're making is, imho, an important one,
and I'm trying to translate that into terms that I
can understand, which is what specific actions might be



> --On Wednesday, 15 September, 2004 06:59 -0700 Carl Malamud
> <> wrote:
> > John -
> > 
> > Would it be fair to summarize your note by saying it is a
> > lightweight scenario A?  E.g., simply take one action: hire
> > an administrative director for the IETF and have that person
> > live at ISOC.  RFPs, budgets, etc... will all flow out of that 
> > initital action and there is no need for a grand restructuring.
> > 
> > Let me know if you think that is a fair assessment.  I think
> > that is an important option that people should keep in mind
> > and wanted to make sure that I don't oversimplify your
> > analysis.
> Actually, no, for two reasons.  The important one is that the
> main point of my note is to describe some real concerns about
> what we are doing here and why, what the priorities are, whether
> we have lot sight of the real issues, and so on.  Characterizing
> it in terms of any particular solution or scenario misses the
> whole point.    
> Actually, while I'm sure you didn't intend it that way, your
> summary is reminiscent of the notorious debating tactic of
> ignoring all of the main points of an argument, seizing on a
> minor detail that can easily be misinterpreted (if necessary)
> and then attacked, and thereby distracting the audience from
> those main points.
> In terms of actual proposals, I quite deliberately did not
> include one, not because I wanted to start people guessing, but
> because I think a review and discussion of problems, goals, and
> principles here would be much more useful than plunging deeper
> into "scenarios", if only to give us a stronger basis for
> evaluating whether a given proposed solution would solve an
> identifiable problem at acceptable cost and risk.
> If "the community" can have that discussion in a serious way,
> then I'll post that other proposal.   If we can't, then the only
> way I see any of this moving forward is by an assertion of
> imperial authority and, to be very blunt, I don't need to spend
> my time on an IETF that has to make decisions by imperial
> authority or that permits it to be done.  And IETF like that is,
> IMO, already dead, regardless of what mechanisms or monuments it
> erects administratively.
> However, fwiw, I think the sort of "lightweight scenario A" you
> describe and somehow inferred from my note would be a mistake.
> It brings to mind an old cartoon that I assume you and many
> members of the community have seen in some variation: complex
> equations at the top, complex equations at the bottom, in
> between is the phrase "and then a miracle happens".  The dots
> really do need to be connected, and hiring someone, with more or
> less the right skills, under a more or less adequate job
> description and with no definition of how that person is
> supervised, given direction, etc., and then expecting "RFPs,
> budgets, etc... will all flow out..." requires a miracle for the
> intervening steps.
> If one were to believes in miracles, they should probably be
> saved for more important and intractable problems.
>    john
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