Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections

Keith Moore <> Mon, 25 January 2021 21:03 UTC

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Subject: Re: Diversity of candidates was Re: NomCom 2020 Announcement of Selections
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From: Keith Moore <>
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Date: Mon, 25 Jan 2021 16:03:46 -0500
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On 1/25/21 3:46 PM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

> For whatever it's worth, I have observed for some time that one path 
> to broader diversity within the IETF is a culture that is somewhat 
> less confrontational (not to say occasionally rude and nasty).

I don't wish to discount that idea entirely (I at least partially agree 
with it) but we have definitely seen this used as an excuse to be 
prejudiced against some people.   Creating a monoculture in the name of 
diversity seems counterproductive at best.   If we're really going to be 
diverse, we need to be tolerant of many different kinds of people.   The 
IETF community and management used to understand this, now it's 
bordering on hostile to this idea.

> The idea that the IETF is so special that it needs a completely 
> bespoke set of tools that interoperate with nothing else is also more 
> than a little hostile to newcomers.
That sentence sounds more than a little bit hostile itself. (Where are 
the Tone Police when we need them?   Just kidding, the Tone Police are 
part of the problem too.)

With respect to tooling, this should be a relatively easy test. Are the 
"bespoke" tools easier to use than whatever tools we might be using 
otherwise?   As far as I can tell, the answer is generally "yes", though 
there's certainly room for improvement in some areas (xml2rfc comes to 
mind).    It's not as if the industry has better tools for the kind of 
work IETF does.   Github is NOT a better tool overall, even if it has 
advantages for certain aspects of the process.  Some common tools like 
Jira and Slack are tremendous barriers to productivity.   I'd really 
like it if everyone could contribute to document editing/development 
using their favorite word processors, but that will still require 
bespoke tooling on the back end.

But I suspect that underlying the idea that IETF shouldn't use bespoke 
tools is a really toxic idea - which is that IETF shouldn't be trying to 
innovate, or maybe even that nobody other than Big Companies should be 
trying to innovate.    It strikes me as both shortsighted and trying to 
protect interests that are antithetical to IETF.