Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

John C Klensin <> Sat, 23 January 2021 18:31 UTC

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Date: Sat, 23 Jan 2021 13:31:07 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: "Salz, Rich" <>, Bron Gondwana <>, Brian E Carpenter <>, Loa Andersson <>
Subject: Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
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--On Saturday, January 23, 2021 14:48 +0000 "Salz, Rich"
<> wrote:

>   *   And - if the problem is that the nomcom selected without
> sufficient weight given to diversity, then considering a
> selection that would have made Rich appointed (that's the
> opposite of disappointed, right?) with the result is a
> reasonable request in response to Rich's stated disappointment.
> I assume you're making a joke about "the opposite". But
> to be clear, if Nomcom picked me instead of Carl, the end
> result would have been the same, of course, and I would still
> be disappointed. One mitigating factor is that my
> questionnaire was public and I tried to show how diversity is
> an ongoing moral concern for me and people could bring it up
> if I did not follow through.  It's possible that all other
> IETF Chair candidates feel the same, of course, and I'm not
> saying they don't, just that we don't know.
> If I were picked, however, I'd be unlikely to say anything
> because I have to work closely with the rest of the slate, and
> starting off by saying "I'm disappointed this is who we
> have" would be stupid, for hopefully obvious reasons.

Indeed.  But that is almost equally true if you expect to
continue to work in the IETF (which I hope and assume you will)
if you posted your preferred slate with the implication that you
think your candidates would be better choices --on a one by one
basis -- than those selected.  In addition, I think we are
better off moving forward to improve on things for the future
rather than poking at the details of what might have been.   See

>   *   Throwing our hands up and saying "it involves people, we
> can't talk about it" is way problematic if we intend to do
> more than wring our hands and cast generic aspersions of
> systemic sexism and racism at the IETF.

I hope nothing I said sounded to you like your quotation above.
At the risk of casting a different soft of vague aspersions, too
much decision-making over the years (inside and outside the
IETF) has been contaminated by personal resentments and
animosities.  Avoiding doing things that might encourage more of
them seems like a reasonable precaution.

> We can talk about it without commenting on specific people.

Exactly and that is the core of what I was suggesting.  The idea
of opening comments to the next Nomcom now was only intended as
a supplement for those who really did feel a need to comment on

> For example, having a very finely-tuned random number
> generator used to pick volunteers from a self-selected pool
> doesn't change the fact that every picked volunteer will be
> self-selected. Having jobs that most people think require four
> years to be able to do correctly, means that people are
> unlikely to volunteer if they see an incumbent's name on the
> list.

Right.  And having job descriptions that can be satisfied only
by those who either (i) work for large organizations that are
willing to give up most of their time for that period while
supplying salary, travel, and other support or (ii) who has
independent means they are willing and able to dedicate that way
also rather significantly affects who is willing to volunteer...
and the diversity of the volunteers.