Re: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists"

SM <> Thu, 29 November 2012 19:58 UTC

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Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2012 10:51:22 -0800
To: Edward Lewis <>
From: SM <>
Subject: Re: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists"
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Hi Ed,
At 06:54 29-11-2012, Edward Lewis wrote:
>Earlier in the thread I saw that someone expressed dismay that BOFs 
>seem to be WG's that have already been meeting in secret.  I agree 
>with that.  At the last meeting in Atlanta, I filled in sessions 
>with BOFs and found that the ones I chose seemed as if they were 
>already on the way to a predetermined solution.  Only one had a 
>presentation trying to set up the problem to be solved, others just 
>had detailed talks on draft solutions.  In one there was a complaint 
>that the mail list wasn't very active - not a WG, a BOF!  Not very engaging.

Christopher DearLove used the term [1] "inner circle".  There are 
people who will meet outside of the sessions listed on the agenda to 
discuss some predetermined solution.  By the time the problem gets to 
be discussed in a BoF there might be a draft proposing a solution.

Picking a few BoFs from the last agenda:

   RFC Format BoF

It was pointed out that it was not a BoF.  The agenda [2] mentions 
"Applicability of previously proposed solutions".  It does not 
provide any details about the proposed solutions.  I think that some 
people asked about that before the meeting.


The agenda mentions [3] "5 presentations".  It does not list the 
presentations.  The people who have been reading the relevant mailing 
list would be able to know what might be presented.


The agenda [4] does not mention any proposed solution.  There is an 
IETF mailing list where there was prior discussion about that BoF.

   Extensions of the Bonjour Protocol Suite (mdnsext) BoF

The agenda [5] mentions "Goals of the BoF" with a link.  I don't 
recall whether any proposed solution was discussed.

People generally complain when a mailing list is active.  When a 
mailing list is very active people start insulting each other.

Scott Brim posted a policy that was tried [6].  I doubt that there 
would be IETF consensus about implementing that across all IETF sessions.

As for engaging mailing lists, well, they can end up being 
unmanageable.  I'll mention an example.  This thread is a sub-thread 
where an Area Director [7] suggested "Please be brief and 
polite".  Nobody in their right mind would attempt to enforce that.

>Bringing in baked work because there are multiple independent and 
>non-interoperable solutions is what the IETF is all about.  Bringing 
>in a baked specification just to get a stamp on it is not.

Some people like having that stamp.