Re: New Non-WG Mailing List: unbearable

John C Klensin <> Tue, 09 December 2014 19:30 UTC

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Date: Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:30:16 -0500
From: John C Klensin <>
To: Nico Williams <>
Subject: Re: New Non-WG Mailing List: unbearable
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--On Tuesday, December 09, 2014 11:36 -0600 Nico Williams
<> wrote:

> On Fri, Dec 05, 2014 at 02:49:41PM -0500, John C Klensin wrote:
>> As a member of or sympathizer with various societies for bear
>> encouragement and preservation (black, brown, polar, Cub
>> Scouts, Teddy, Pooh, ... in no particular order), I find this
>> name really objectionable.  From the description,
>> "unbearerable" might have been better, "betterbearer"
>> certainly would have been.
> If the outcome is intended to be proof-of-possession
> extensions that render bearer token schemes
> no-longer-bearer... then "unbearable" seems better than
> "betterbearer", though I agree with you that "unbearable"
> comes across as potentially insulting.  Maybe we should all be
> thick- skinned[*] enough to get the joke and move on, but:
>> I wonder if anyone has ever appealed a mailing list name.
> The risk here is that key participants might simply... ignore
> it until it's too late.  I think the AD can probably do some
> promotion to try to avoid such an outcome.


I was trying to keep the complaint light and at least slightly
humorous, but I am concerned that we seem to often choose names
for passing amusement value that later turn out to cause
confusion, bad attitudes or worse.  Those reactions sometimes
occur in communities who are not normally visible in the IETF.
It may also be that my periodic involvement with the collection
of policy, strategy, organizational, administrative, and
regulatory issues that are mischaracterized as "Internet
governance" (more outside the IETF than inside) has left me
oversensitive, but I've had to listen to discussions --in
obvious and not-so-obvious places-- in which the IETF is
dismissed as a bunch of small children who are too impressed by
their own cleverness and busy and  with activities like
self-congratulatory giggling about their latest in-joke or
esoteric debate about things that make no difference to be taken

Independent of how important those reactions actually are, with
the sorts of discussions going on that have been represented
here by the Internetgovtech and IANAPlan efforts, various
clusters of countries trying to impose their own views about how
the Internet should be structured and where those topics should
be discussed, reviews of IGF and other discussion arrangements
in progress, etc., it is probably not the best time to exhibit
how clever we can be about silly names for Working Groups,
Mailing Lists, or other activities.

In that context, the risk of an appeal is that it would call
even more unwanted attention to the topic.

Just my opinion, of course.