The purpose of blue sheets [Re: Blue sheet harvest]

Pekka Savola <> Sat, 05 April 2008 10:56 UTC

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Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2008 13:54:59 +0300 (EEST)
From: Pekka Savola <>
To: "Scott O. Bradner" <>
Subject: The purpose of blue sheets [Re: Blue sheet harvest]
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Has the purpose and the expectations of the blue sheets been 
established somewhere?

So far I've seen (or sen folks justifying) the following use cases:

1) gauging the number of people in the room (for room size allocations
    for the next meeting)
2) identifying later on whether someone sat in the audience (for IPR
    purposes, not clear to what benefit exactly)
3) identifying previously-unknown people who spoke up in the mike
    and said their name but you weren't sure if you got it right
    (for the minutes). (i.e. identifying who made a Contribution in
    IPR rules sense)
4) identifying a person like 3) who has never posted on the mailing
    list and contacting him/her about the comment (otherwise you
    wouldn't know the email address)
5) contacting participants later on about future activities in the
    area (e.g. BOF list creation).
6) WG chair giving extra advice that if you mark an "X" beside your
    email address, s/he will subscribe you to the mailing list.

1) does not require email addresses, and possibly not even blue 
sheets.  This seems like the typical reason given by the WG chairs for 
the blue sheets ("if you don't sign, we won't get a room next 
time.."). I'll observe that 2) appears to be useless because whether 
or not a name exists is no proof one way or the other.  The critical 
thing here is whether someone made a Contribution (in the IPR sense) 
at the meeting.  So, it's likely necessary to be able to identify 
everyone that speaks up in the mike, but whether or not the blue 
sheets is the right tool to do that is debatable.  3) and 4) seem like 
useful goals, but yet again, this seems an issue of identifying the 
person speaking up in the mike, not who sat in the room.  5) only 
seems necessary with BOFs etc that have not been managed properly (a 
mailing list needs to be set up in advance in any case; if persons are 
not signed up on appropriate lists, mass-mailing them (isn't that 
spamming?) doesn't seem to be a very useful excercise).  I don't know 
how useful 6) is in practise; anyone should be clueful enough to sign 
up on the mailing list herself.

Some more below,

On Fri, 4 Apr 2008, Scott O. Bradner wrote:
>> and signing the sheet is strictly voluntary to date
> well, there are no guards with guns watching but someone who
> decides to not sign is not being honest about their participation

I've personally used somewhat looser definition.  I don't bother to 
sign those blue sheets that circulate in WG rooms where I just go (for 
the lack of better place) to read my email and get a bit of idea 
what's going on.  I don't intend to say anything on the mike, I have 
no interest in participating in that WG otherwise and I don't think I 
should be counted when it gets decided what room size is appropriate 
for the WG in the next IETF.  How exactly is it wrong not to sign the 
blue sheet in this case?

Another category is "after WG meeting X ends, go to the room used by 
WG meeting Y to see what's going on there".  At that point, blue 
sheets have already circulated and it seems too much of a bother to 
sign anything anymore.  In this case, you might even say something in 
the mike; whether your name exists on the blue sheet or not doesn't 
guarantee whether you were present or not, and I don't see it 
practical to change the procedures to be any stricter.

Pekka Savola                 "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy                    kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings
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