Re: Author and attendance measurements [Was: Re: Thought experiment [Re: Quality of Directorate reviews]]

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Sat, 09 November 2019 13:55 UTC

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Date: Sat, 09 Nov 2019 08:54:52 -0500
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Michael Richardson <mcr+ietf@sandelman.ca>, "Andrew G. Malis" <agmalis@gmail.com>
cc: IETF Discussion <ietf@ietf.org>
Subject: Re: Author and attendance measurements [Was: Re: Thought experiment [Re: Quality of Directorate reviews]]
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--On Friday, November 8, 2019 12:06 -0500 Michael Richardson
<mcr+ietf@sandelman.ca>; wrote:

> 
> Andrew G. Malis <agmalis@gmail.com>; wrote:
>     >> So an alternate stat may be the number of unique people
> who upload to     >> the Datatracker.  So that would require,
> for each RFC published,     >> getting the list of people who
> uploaded.  That would be a lower bound     >> on number active
> authors.  The numbers Jari has would be the upper     >> bound.
> 
>     > That would include Internet Draft authors as well as RFC
> authors, but I     > think that's a better metric of how many
> active authors we have in a     > given year.
> 
> Well, the complexity is that one has to get the list of RFCs,
> then the list of uploads for each RFC.
> 
>     > Except now we have authoring happening on GitHub as
> well, which is more     > difficult to track. For example, how
> many active authors do we have in     > the QUIC WG? Tough to
> say without looking at their GitHub document     > update
> history.
> 
> Thus a reason why I'd like to have the list of
> contributors/acknowledgements in a structured format in the
> document :-)

Structured or not, our acknowledgments have tended to include
people who made major contributions, people who proposed an
alternate approach that stimulated thinking but whose ideas
and/or text did not make it into the document, and people who
read the document as reviewers and picked a few editorial nits
without making any substantive contribution or giving evidence
that the understood its technical content.  I've occasionally
included people in acknowledgments (with appropriately
circuitous language) whose sole contribution was irritating me
enough that I didn't abandon the document or the underlying
work.  If you are going to structure such acknowledgement, you
will need a lot of categories,  willingness by authors/editors
to go to the extra trouble to properly identify them.   As an
extreme example, consider:

 <leadIrritant> Ima Fool </leadIrritant>  or
 <pwbdutgtow> Hes An Obstacle </pwbdutgtow>
(PersonWhoBlockedDocumentUntilTheyGotTheirOwnWay)

FWIW, this thread is leading down the path and into the rathole
that was a  significant cause of most other voluntary SDOs
concluding that finished documents should show only the
standards body as author, often accompanied by a list of WG
members and, in some bodies, identification of WG chairs and an
editor.  Perhaps not coincidently, it is also where Jon Postel
started, i.e., with the notion that the "author" or "editor"
should be the contact person and what we've sometimes called the
pen-holder, with everyone else acknowledged, perhaps in general
terms.

best,
   john