Re: [Recentattendees] Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100

Lorenzo Colitti <lorenzo@google.com> Fri, 27 May 2016 04:28 UTC

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From: Lorenzo Colitti <lorenzo@google.com>
Date: Fri, 27 May 2016 13:27:40 +0900
Message-ID: <CAKD1Yr2mGNPhUCzWyfAo_DYL3LhjkqRB13zXuj8wMqFQJfE4GA@mail.gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Recentattendees] Background on Singapore go/no go for IETF 100
To: Fernando Gont <fgont@si6networks.com>
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Cc: "recentattendees@ietf.org" <recentattendees@ietf.org>, Margaret Cullen <margaretw42@gmail.com>, "Fred Baker \(fred\)" <fred@cisco.com>, "Ietf@Ietf. Org" <ietf@ietf.org>
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On Fri, May 27, 2016 at 9:11 AM, Fernando Gont <fgont@si6networks.com>;
wrote:

> Or is it just that only some forms/expressions of diversity are desirable?
>

That's a fascinating question. All else being equal you might imagine that
any group of people would give the earliest/most thought to the forms of
diversity that are the most represented in that group, simply because it is
more obvious to them. Thus, the IETF has had a geographic diversity policy
for a long time, while other forms of diversity were represented
less/later. At the other extreme, there may be forms of diversity that the
IETF as a group is not even aware of due to lack of experience.

I found it interesting how one message mentioned, "gender, race, color,
religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or
marital status", but didn't mention economic status, past visits (e.g.,
whether you've been to Syria) country of origin, non-religious ideological
beliefs, food allergies, medical conditions, and other things that might
cause us to exclude people.

I don't know how an organization can/should decide which forms of diversity
to mandate/incentivize/encourage/accommodate and to what degree. In most
cases the people who are most present in the IETF tend to think that
democracy is the fairest way to make decisions, but sometimes arguments of
the form "let's do what is best for the most people" are characterized as
being "the tyranny of the majority". At the same time, pretty much any
choice will result in excluding someone, so how do you make that choice?

Also, do we want to avoid a vocal minority being able to have more
influence over the organization as a whole than a less vocal minority that
is equally represented? Is the vocal minority more vocal because their
concerns are more important than the less vocal minority, or because they
are otherwise predisposed (culturally, or as a group, or because other
groups are sympathetic to their case) to being more vocal? If that were the
case, how would we even find out?

I don't know if anyone has satisfactory answers to the question above. I
certainly don't, and I wish I did. There may be no answer that is
satisfactory to everyone, which I suppose is the heart of the problem.