Re: Fundamental changes in IETF discussions? (was: Re: Messages from the ietf list for the week ending Sun Dec 27 06:00:02 2020)

S Moonesamy <> Tue, 12 January 2021 12:13 UTC

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Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2021 04:01:54 -0800
To: John C Klensin <>,
From: S Moonesamy <>
Subject: Re: Fundamental changes in IETF discussions? (was: Re: Messages from the ietf list for the week ending Sun Dec 27 06:00:02 2020)
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Hi John,

[removed from the Cc]

At 09:42 AM 27-12-2020, John C Klensin wrote:
>I think there is something interesting to be learned from the
>last couple of weeks of these postings.   My recollection is
>that, when Thomas started his version of the summaries, the main
>IETF list was an active forum for discussions of issues of
>importance to the IETF and the Internet.  One could often get a
>sense of important issues being considered by the IETF just by
>reading that list, attending plenaries, and, before we dropped
>them, overview reports from each Area at the plenaries or in
>Proceedings.  Yes, there was noise on it too, but the list was
>active and those more substantive discussions were going on.  A
>decade ago, I could not have imagined a week in which there were
>only three postings (which occurred last week) or one in which
>there were 15 postings, each from a different person (this week).

There was a message about what those so-called summaries around 
2003.  Over time, the initial intent was forgotten.  It could be said 
that it was turned into an announcement  to the IETF of the failure 
by individuals (somewhat like RFC 6701, Section 4.d) to conform to 
unwritten rules.  For what it is worth, the overview reports from the 
different Areas was likely well before that time.

>Perhaps that is a good sign, i.e., that the list traffic is not
>dominated by a few people posting rants and counter-rants in
>quick succession.  But that behavior still occurs on IETF lists


>I'm watching (and, subjectively, I think it has gotten worse
>overall in recent years), so perhaps we have just shifted it
>elsewhere.  This is, I think obviously, not just about the
>separation of Last Call discussions although those sometimes
>lead to more general ones that now do not show up anywhere else,
>but to larger trends of pushing topics that might be of general
>interest into silos for which one has to make a specific
>commitment to sign up for a list and follow.

There were other changes over the years, e.g. the blogging 
initiative.  I'd say that it is more a matter of communication style 
[1], as determined by the current administration.

The separate Last Call mailing list might be useful for the pursuit 
of economic interests.  However, pushing discussions which could be 
of wider interest to a topic-specific mailing list is not ideal.

S. Moonesamy

1. Wes discussed that on another thread.