Re: [Gendispatch] Last Call: <draft-eggert-bcp45bis-06.txt> (IETF Discussion List Charter) to Best Current Practice

Lloyd W <lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk> Wed, 20 October 2021 09:35 UTC

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From: Lloyd W <lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk>
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Subject: Re: [Gendispatch] Last Call: <draft-eggert-bcp45bis-06.txt> (IETF Discussion List Charter) to Best Current Practice
Date: Wed, 20 Oct 2021 20:25:27 +1100
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Cc: gendispatch@ietf.org, draft-eggert-bcp45bis@ietf.org, IETF Discussion <ietf@ietf.org>, The IESG <iesg@ietf.org>, last-call@ietf.org
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   A sergeant-at-arms (SAA) "is an officer appointed by a deliberative
   body (...) to keep order during its meetings" [SAA-WIKIPEDIA].  SAAs
   for the IETF discussion list are appointed by the IETF Chair and are
   empowered to restrict posting by a person, or of a thread, when the
   content is inappropriate and represents a pattern of abuse

there's an inherent contradiction in that little quoted snippet, which remains unexplained in the text of this draft despite being raised previously on gendispatch.

In many bodies, the body itself appoints the SAAs, and that Wikipedia page says as much, at least until someone edits it to say otherwise.

Here, in a draft being written by the IETF Chair, the very next sentence says that the SAAs are not appointed by the deliberative body itself - which is to say, the mailing list contributors - but by the Chair. Who, by the way, is the person writing this draft describing the Chair's powers. Yes, the Chair is the person doing the necessary work of writing this update draft, but, just maybe, hear me out, since it describes powers of the Chair, the Chair really shouldn't have been tasked with doing it in the first place?

This cascading cognitive dissonance remains a bad look, and the draft should at least attempt to explain these points somehow -  historical practice, under further review, we didn't realise how much the SAAs were at the behest of the chairs, the SAAs actually have very little independence, this is just how it is, the SAAs are not appointed by the list, but by the chair who is writing this draft which tightens and tidies and documents previous practice, we can't trust the list to even stay on topic and keep to an undefined level of 'professionalism', so have it appoint its own SAAs? Ha, you must be joking, IETF LLC has a reputation to protect.

I don't know what the explanation will be, but there needs to be one. Just saying 'well, the wikipedia page is not a dictionary and is not normative' would not be enough - and if referencing wikipedia you'd need to give a date/revision, anyway, just as we do for drafts, because wikipedia is eternally drafted.

(we reject kings etc. and the chair unfortunately looks here very much like a king issuing executive fiat. but we also reject voting, so we'd have to... hum between candidates?)

The draft can't skip around this, but imo does have to explicitly address and explain these points in its text, and thus shed some light on the underlying philosophy of list governance which must underpin and support the reasoning given.  Somehow. 

How the draft chooses to do this will imo say a lot about the IETF.

I encourage IETF mailing list contributors to look closely at this draft.

Lloyd Wood
lloyd.wood@yahoo.co.uk

> On 20 Oct 2021, at 02:53, The IESG <iesg-secretary@ietf.org> wrote:
> 
> 
> The IESG has received a request from an individual submitter to consider the
> following document: - 'IETF Discussion List Charter'
>  <draft-eggert-bcp45bis-06.txt> as Best Current Practice
> 
> The IESG plans to make a decision in the next few weeks, and solicits final
> comments on this action. Please send substantive comments to the
> last-call@ietf.org mailing lists by 2021-11-23. Exceptionally, comments may
> be sent to iesg@ietf.org instead. In either case, please retain the beginning
> of the Subject line to allow automated sorting.
> 
> Abstract
> 
> 
>   The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) discussion mailing list
>   furthers the development and specification of Internet technology
>   through the general discussion of topics for which no dedicated
>   mailing lists exists.  As this is the most general IETF mailing list,
>   considerable latitude is allowed, but there are posts and topics that
>   are unsuitable for this mailing list.
> 
>   This document obsoletes RFC3005.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> The file can be obtained via
> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-eggert-bcp45bis/
> 
> 
> 
> No IPR declarations have been submitted directly on this I-D.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> -- 
> Gendispatch mailing list
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