Re: Remote participation fees [Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY]

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Sat, 14 February 2015 21:16 UTC

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Date: Sat, 14 Feb 2015 16:16:41 -0500
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Mary Barnes <mary.h.barnes@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: Remote participation fees [Re: Updating BCP 10 -- NomCom ELEGIBILITY]
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--On Saturday, February 14, 2015 12:21 -0600 Mary Barnes
<mary.h.barnes@gmail.com> wrote:

> [MB] True. But, perhaps considering other sorts of conference
> facilities with nearby hotels could be an option.  In
> particular, if we really do improve remote participation to
> the point that we reduce the number of onsite participants,
> the size requirement for the conference facilities goes down.
> [/MB]

Yes and no.  I haven't done site selections or evaluations for
large meetings in many years but, unless things have changed
significantly, the number of bigger-than-a-suite rooms we now
seem to "need" (IAB office, IESG office, IAOC office, a Nomcom
office and meeting room, an ISOC office or two, Secretariat work
space, terminal room, NOC, ...) could turn into as much a
barrier to moving to a smaller or less pretentious HQ hotel as
the required number and size of WG and plenary spaces.

>> Also, supporting remote participation in a better way than it
>> works today costs more money than is being expended today.
>> That money has to come from somewhere.
>> 
> [MB] In one sense yes. But, given some of the work in RAI,
> this cost should be going down.  The ability to participate in
> a meeting remotely with a very rich multimedia experience is
>...

Yes, but there is an issue that more and fancier protocols
and/or hardware doesn't solve, which is that running these
things well and at high quality tends to need serious
operational commitments, which means more staff.  One can reduce
the staff requirement somewhat with _really_ fancy and expensive
technology, but the tradeoff may not be wonderful.  I'm not
talking about the complex technical stuff here, I'm talking
about things closer to "camera gives good view of carpet" and
"if that speaker is going to pace the floor while talking,
either the camera needs to follow or someone needs to apply a
short leash" to say nothing of the perennial microphone
announcement, "MY NAME IS <mumble>".

Similarly, very high quality remote participation with lots of
participants at lots of different locations tends to either put
a premium on participant training and/or typing speed and/or a
requirement for trained moderators who can control both in-room
and remote conversation flow.  Again, not really technical
issues, but not so easy to resolve, at least without cultural
changes.

> I think the biggest problem that high quality remote
> participation will introduce is that companies will become
> even more reluctant to send people to the face to face
> meetings.

Yes, although, borrowing from other threads, the proportion of
design-level people to professional standardizers might start to
improve again if participation didn't require members of the
former group to give up whole days or a whole week.  Of course,
that also has disadvantages in terms of competent cross-area
review.  Not simple.

>  I do still see value in people attending face to
> face IETF meetings with some regularity, I strongly believe
> that IETF moving to a model that doesn't require so many
> people to travel to get the work done is a good thing and
> ought to be a longterm objective.  I'm not a financial expert
> so I can't posit that this will make sense from a business
> model, but IETF is a non-profit and in that respect doing the
> right thing for the community should be the overarching
> objective.   [/MB]

Again, be careful what you wish for, lest trying to optimize for
people attending face to face meetings while not requiring so
much travel, bring a situation in which almost all of the people
at a meeting in Region X are from Region X, almost all of those
at a meeting in Region Y are from Region Y, etc.  That loss of
diversity in individual f2f meetings, even if it improved
statistical diversity over a year or two, would not, IMO, be a
desirable outcome.

    john