RE: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)

Vasilenko Eduard <> Thu, 15 April 2021 08:14 UTC

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From: Vasilenko Eduard <>
To: Victor Kuarsingh <>, Jim Fenton <>
CC: The IETF List <>
Subject: RE: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)
Thread-Topic: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)
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Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2021 08:14:38 +0000
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Hi Victor,
You are very close to the root cause. The root cause is motivation. Well, probably one could say that it is “culture” or part of the culture.

Many people in IETF have a personal motivation that is not fully in line with the “public good”.
For example: publish any nonsense to report personal IETF progress for the employer. Rigorously fight back even if somebody would show that particular idea is on the opposite side from perfect.
Example 2: never dispute any job of others, even if they propose something really bad. It would destroy your relationships, people could fight back to your proposals later.
Example 3: support whatever chair would propose, never criticize the boss – you are dependent on him.
Example 4: create small closed groups and help each other on every occasion (without paying any attention to the public good).
And so on, so on, so on. Humans are intelligent, especially in IETF.

A smaller number of people are driven in a different direction by their companies.
For example: avoid particular technology standardization that would be difficult to implement for their architecture.
Or the opposite: push technology that competitors would not be capable to implement.

People are partially egoistic in general with a wide range of deviation in motivation from 100% altruism to 100% egoism, the median is close to egoism.
This is the primary problem that degrades IETF efficiency. The IETF efficiency is low because of the wrong motivation of members.
I do not have a clue what anyone could do about it for an organization of such a wide scale.
It is the general problem of mankind. Mankind is extremely non-effective compare to what is potentially possible.
I have seen much more effective teams in my life, but it assumes selection and the boss’s willingness to do it.

Hence, I am smiling looking to the proposal to involve more people
In the situation when a big part of the IETF community would treat them as competitors.

Of course, everything above is just my personal opinion. It is easy to ignore.
From: ietf [] On Behalf Of Victor Kuarsingh
Sent: Thursday, April 15, 2021 12:33 AM
To: Jim Fenton <>
Cc: The IETF List <>
Subject: Re: Wow, we're famous, was WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)

On Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 2:02 PM Jim Fenton <<>> wrote:
On 14 Apr 2021, at 10:33, Eliot Lear wrote:

> What does this mean to the IETF?  I don’t think it means “stop
> doing TERM”.  Rather I think it means that we should work on the
> other aspects.  We should make it easy and fun to be here.  And mostly
> it is fun (of course I’m biased), but sometimes it’s not easy.

The question I keep asking myself (and I don’t have an answer) is
whether by focusing on terminology in this way we are distracting
ourselves from making more meaningful efforts to make IETF more
inclusive. I don’t know what those more meaningful efforts might be,
but I hope we’re addressing the big problems first.

I am most interested in meaningful changes that help people come and participate.  I don't know if changing or updating terminology will help, hinder or be neutral in that cause.  I guess it's worth a shot.

My (anecdotal) experience was that culture was the central and most impactful obstacle to participating within the IETF versus any content of a pre-existing documentation.  For example, when I read a draft or RFC (others may disagree), I am absorbing technical content and associate things I read, including words, to assisting in describing the technology, method or principle.  On the other hand, when someone engages, in-person or via email, I see that as a reflection of them communicating and of their personal resolve.   How we communicate with each other, as a unit, helps define our culture.

I think addressing culture, IMO, would likely result in more meaningful ways to drive inclusion.


Victor K