Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

John C Klensin <> Sat, 23 January 2021 04:43 UTC

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Date: Fri, 22 Jan 2021 23:43:44 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Bron Gondwana <>
Subject: Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
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--On Saturday, January 23, 2021 13:29 +1100 Bron Gondwana
<> wrote:

> On Fri, Jan 22, 2021, at 05:20, Salz, Rich wrote:
>> Congratulations to those picked for the incoming leadership
>> positions. Of the people whom I know, they are all
>> intelligent people, with good technical knowledge, but seem
>> always open to discussion and changing their mind. I am sure
>> those that I don't know are similar. I can't find fault
>> with any of these choices.
>> And yet …
>> When looked at collectively, I am very disappointed. The
>> number of women in leadership has not changed. On the IESG,
>> every incumbent was re-selected, except for one who moved
>> over from IESG to the IAB.  On the IAB, three of five
>> incumbents were picked. The IETF Trust and LLC Board members
>> were similarly re-appointed incumbents. Nobody was added who
>> is not employed by a large Internet or service provider
>> company, except for one re-appointed incumbent who works at a
>> "think tank" with deep historical ties to the IETF.
> Hi Rich,
> You make some very interesting points here.  I'm interested in
> whether you think the issue is with the pool of available
> candidates who put their hands up for roles, or with the
> selection process not valuing diversity sufficiently.
> And of course there is a related question here - regardless of
> which you think the root cause - because we are an
> organisation composed of those who show up.  That question is:
> of the available candidates, if you had the choice, who would
> you have selected instead of those who were chosen?  i.e. what
> would your "perfect" slate have been, given the candidates
> that were available.


Since Rich was one of the candidates, asking him that question
may be a bit unfair.  More generally, I think the community
might be better off if we avoided second-guessing the Nomcom
decisions in terms of specific people and stuck instead with the
concerns that Rich described and Jason's response.

For example and rather than going on at length, I suggest that
my views on returning or replacing incumbents have not changed
much since Spencer and I produced 
in 2006 and
three years later.  Whether the specific ideas in those
documents are right or not, especially this many years later,
they at least contain more of an analysis of the issues than
assuming that incumbents were returned because they did a great

FWIW, I am also doubtful that returning many incumbents can be
as "everything is just great" (a more extreme version of what
Jason said) or anything close to it.  Nomcoms are faced with a
large selection of complicated considerations and tradeoffs.  I
have every reason to believe that this one did a careful,
through, and contentious job (regardless of what any of us may
think of the results) and assuming we can deduce the basis on
which they made their decisions seems inappropriate and at least
a tad disrespectful.  

I do worry about another issue, one that Rich did not mention.
I remember Barbara posting a note strongly encouraging people to
put their names in even if there were incumbents willing to
serve an additional term.   Because putting one's name in
requires considerable effort, if the impression in the community
is that incumbents will almost always be returned, it is going
to be harder and harder to find anyone to volunteer for their
slots (I note that one incumbent this time ran unopposed).  But
that concern isn't new either; Spencer and I addressed it and a
possible solution in the second I-D mentioned above.