Re: The IETF environment

Dave Crocker <> Fri, 25 April 2014 15:24 UTC

Return-Path: <>
Received: from localhost ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 0C2681A050E for <>; Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:12 -0700 (PDT)
X-Virus-Scanned: amavisd-new at
X-Spam-Flag: NO
X-Spam-Score: -4.2
X-Spam-Status: No, score=-4.2 tagged_above=-999 required=5 tests=[BAYES_00=-1.9, RCVD_IN_DNSWL_MED=-2.3] autolearn=ham
Received: from ([]) by localhost ( []) (amavisd-new, port 10024) with ESMTP id Qiw38h6n6qRT for <>; Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:08 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 598FD1A0345 for <>; Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:08 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from [] ( []) (authenticated bits=0) by (8.13.8/8.13.8) with ESMTP id s3PFNvWp004240 (version=TLSv1/SSLv3 cipher=DHE-RSA-AES128-SHA bits=128 verify=NOT); Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:01 -0700
Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:21:43 -0700
From: Dave Crocker <>
Organization: Brandenburg InternetWorking
User-Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; WOW64; rv:24.0) Gecko/20100101 Thunderbird/24.4.0
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Ned Freed <>
Subject: Re: The IETF environment
References: <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1; format=flowed
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Greylist: Sender succeeded SMTP AUTH, not delayed by milter-greylist-4.0 ( []); Fri, 25 Apr 2014 08:24:01 -0700 (PDT)
X-Mailman-Version: 2.1.15
Precedence: list
List-Id: IETF-Discussion <>
List-Unsubscribe: <>, <>
List-Archive: <>
List-Post: <>
List-Help: <>
List-Subscribe: <>, <>
X-List-Received-Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2014 15:24:12 -0000

On 4/25/2014 7:56 AM, Ned Freed wrote:
> An obvious counterexample is what recently happened in perpass and
> the various works it has started. Regardless of what anyone thinks of
> perpass or its outcome, a fair characterization is that it was an
> IETF repsonse to the message delivered by Snoden et al.

Yup.  It's a singular example, but that's the point.  It's not what the 
IETF (usually) does.

It's fine that it's being attempted and it might (or might not) prove 
useful.  But there is no pattern of the IETF doing such a thing.

My point was not meant as a statement of philosophy or criticism of the 
IETF, but a description of the long-term operational model that covers 
its actual history.

That model is for initiatives to come from the grass roots of the 
community, seeking facilitation within the IETF.  These do not depend 
upon strategic management directions being set.

> And maybe something has changed since the four years I spent going to
> IESG retreats, but I recall lots of discussion of how the IETF as an
>  organization should respond to various industry trends.

Yes, we often have such discussions.  My observation is that it has 
typically had little or no effect on what work is actually done, absent 
initiative from the community.

With respect to getting work done, this is a bottom-up organization, not 
a top-down one.  (That's why I think Area "Director" is a serious 
misnomer and Area "Facilitator" would be far more accurate.)

>  But it seems pretty clear that people regard the IETF as
> a bit more than that. Maybe they shouldn't, but they do.

Yes, there is quite a bit of mythology about the IETF.  Sometimes it 
borders on mysticism...


Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking