Re: [Diversity] 'Paywall, ' IETF self-sufficiency, increasing participation (was Re: Remote participation fees)

Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> Sun, 01 March 2015 19:38 UTC

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Message-ID: <54F36AB3.9030107@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 02 Mar 2015 08:38:27 +1300
From: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>
Organization: University of Auckland
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To: Pranesh Prakash <pranesh@cis-india.org>
Subject: Re: [Diversity] 'Paywall, ' IETF self-sufficiency, increasing participation (was Re: Remote participation fees)
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On 01/03/2015 15:04, Pranesh Prakash wrote:
> Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> [2015-03-001 14:15:05
> +1300]:
>> Additionally, the IETF interprets each person's input as individual,
>> whether it is or it isn't. That in itself is quite effective in
>> disenfranchising employers.
> 
> Is there an RFC that states this?

The fact that we participate as individuals is documented in BCP 95 (RFC
3935).
The way we evaluate consensus is discussed (informationally) in RFC 7282.

> Further, regardless of how the IETF treats inputs in theory, the reality
> is:
> 1) A large percentage of IETF participants are paid by their employers
> for participating in IETF proceedings and meetings.
> 2) Employers are in no way, shape, or form discouraged from putting
> forward their views through their employees.
> 3) A sizeable number of IETF participants do so using their work e-mail
> addresses.
> 4) Employers' names are mentioned in each RFC to indicate an
> individual's pedigree.

I don't know what the word "pedigree" means in this context, and some people
prefer not to state their employer's name. However, yes, as a matter of
objective
fact people's participation, their technical perceptions and their
achievements
are affected by their employment. It would be delusional to imagine that
anything
else is possible.

> I would like to know how employers are disenfranchised when this is the
> reality.

I am not sure that you have any experience in other SDOs where participation
and decision-making are entirely determined by corporate membership. If you
had any such experience, I think you would understand that while the IETF
system is not perfect, it largely resists corporate bullying.

> I find this entire, "we are all individuals" line to be the foundational
> fiction of

It's a shame that sentence got truncated, but since the IETF started
(years before I was involved) as a meeting of 21 indivduals, some of
whom still participate in the IETF despite numerous changes of employer,
individual participation is a foundational fact of

>> Also we do, all of us, know how to recognise when someone is parrotting
>> the BigEvil Corporation's party line, and we all know that if six people
>> with the same affiliation have identical opinions on a contentious
>> point, that's roughly equivalent to one individual opinion.
> 
> My worry isn't BigEvil corporation.  My concern is that pretending
> individuals who are paid for by their employers and those who
> participate purely in their personal capacity are somehow equal because
> of their equal capacity to hum is fallacious and harmful towards
> achieving diversity.  

There's no fallacy. It is commonplace to see interventions by self-
employed consultants knock down arguments by BigEvil Corp employees.
The IETF is a technical meritocracy, by design.

> The first step towards achieving diversity is
> recognizing that a) there is a lack of diversity; b) there are reasons
> preventing diversity.

But you'd better be right about those reasons. I see nothing in the IETF
model of individual participation that prevents diversity; rather the
opposite, in fact.

>> The rough consensus process is actually quite good at resisting gaming
>> by BigEvil Corporation; see sections 6 and 7 of RFC 7282.
> 
> Again: my concern isn't gaming of consensus, nor do I believe
> corporations who sponsor their employees' IETF work are evil.  My
> concern is diversity within the IETF and within the larger sphere of
> Internet governance.

Those are two entirely different questions. As far as the IETF goes,
we need to attract and welcome top class engineers who have the
capacity *as individuals* to join the technical meritocracy. As far
as "the larger sphere of Internet governance" goes, the more time
passes, the less idea I have of what that means or why it matters.

And I remind you that this thread started around the question of how
can we fund a model with more emphasis on remote participation and
less emphasis on face-to-face meetings. It's a sad fact that without
money at the level of a few $M per year, we can't fund any model at all.

   Brian

    Brian