Re: [Last-Call] Change of position: Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Thu, 27 October 2022 13:58 UTC

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Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2022 09:58:16 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Ted Lemon <mellon@fugue.com>, Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>
cc: last-call@ietf.org, IETF Chair <chair@ietf.org>
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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Change of position: Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins
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Ted,

I agree with most of what you wrote but still agree with Brian's
conclusion, at least up to the point just short of what you
characterize as "declare victory".  Let me try another take on
this, based partly on your analysis and "at step one" comment.
As I see it, Dan has figured out that some of his past comments
and style were unhelpful to either getting the points he was
trying to make across or to the community.   He has indicated
that he will stop.  IMO, those two steps took much too long, but
I don't see how that should figure into what we do going
forward.  Your fourth step, paraphrased, requires that he
demonstrate his understanding and commitment by not
re-demonstrating the problem for some time.  I think it is
consistent with what you wrote that we not require that he
grovel or (with apologizes to those from parts of the world in
which the metaphor is not familiar) that he appear in London in
sackcloth and ashes.   I agree with you about both, but, if he
is forced off mailing lists until he demonstrates that he has
stopped the problem behavior, he has no opportunity to make that
demonstration, amounting to a lifetime ban.  Moreover, at least
from my point of view, it hurts the community by depriving us of
the widest possible diversity of perspectives on our actual
technical work.  I've said/agreed from the beginning of this
discussion that if he (or anyone else) is acting in a way that
severely disrupts the community's functioning then the
community's ability to function well must take priority over any
individual but, if the disruption stops without our suppressing
what might be valuable input, then we are, indeed, meting out
punishment, part of it to ourselves.

So a radical suggestion in two parts:

  (1) The community should agree to wind this discussion down
and to stop it for a while, at least until the level of passion
abates somewhat.  I have trouble believing that there is much
more that is useful and new that can be said and, as others have
pointed out, the discussion itself has been disruptive and
detrimental to getting substantive work done.  If there is
consensus for that, no matter how rough, the moderator(s) should
do their thing and remind people to dial the discussion and
postings down as appropriate, treating persistence in bringing
it back up as inappropriate behavior.

 (2) The IESG should take a decision off their agenda for some
weeks or months.  As the end of that period, if Dan has
demonstrated to their satisfaction that the troublesome postings
and behavior have stopped, they retire the PR-action proposal.
If, in the interim, there is more troublesome behavior, they put
the issue back on their agenda and, presumably, quickly and
efficiently reach the obvious conclusion (although I still hope
the rationale would be cleaned up somewhat).

While BCP 83 does not provide for what amounts to a probationary
period, it does not prohibit it either.  Because we can
certainly point to precedents in which the IESG has postponed,
for very extended periods, making a decision after the Last Call
has ended, I am not suggesting inventing new process on the fly.
I think there might be a better way to do the same thing, but
BCP 83, as I read it, prohibits revisiting a PR-action for at
least a year, so it would require a process change.

In case it is not clear, I am just trying to dig us (not just
Dan) out of a hole that could easily turn into what both of us
are arguing against -- treating this process and outcome as
punishment, especially punishment for past behavior that has
stopped -- and, I hope, to wind down this painful discussion for
at least a while.

best,
   john


--On Thursday, October 27, 2022 12:20 +0200 Ted Lemon
<mellon@fugue.com> wrote:

> There are quite a few steps in the reconciliation process when
> someone has engaged in transgressive behavior that needs to be
> corrected.
> 
> The first step is getting the person engaging in the behavior
> to come to understand how to differentiate between
> transgressive behavior and other behavior.
> 
> Second, the person needs to want to stop engaging in
> transgressive behavior.
> 
> Third, the person needs to actually stop engaging in
> transgressive behavior.
> 
> Fourth, the person needs to work to repair the damage they
> have done by engaging in transgressive behavior in the past.
> This includes at a minimum, successfully not engaging in
> further transgressive behavior for some significant period of
> time, so as to establish that there is an actual behavior
> change, and not just verbal agreement to change behavior.
> 
> The point of this is not to punish the person. It is to stop
> the harm that the person has been doing through their
> behavior. We don't actually care why the person is behaving
> this way. We don't need to decide that the person is "a bad
> person." We just need to identify the behavior, explain why it
> is a transgression, and what is expected.
> 
> It is quite common when trying to address problems like this
> to value the person committing the transgression over the
> health of the organization, because the person is a person,
> and the organization is not a person. It's much easier for us
> to cognize the person as someone whose interests should be
> protected than it is to cognize the organization in the same
> way.
> 
> Nevertheless, if we truly value the organization, we have to
> prioritize the organization's health over the ability of a
> particular person to participate in the organization. It is
> not appropriate to even refer to the person as a bad person.
> All we care about is the person's behavior. The behavior is
> the problem that needs to be corrected. The corrective action
> isn't a punishment. It need not continue longer than
> necessary, but it must continue for that long.
> 
> So, to Brian's point, we are now perhaps at stage one in this
> four stage process. That's great, but it's way too soon to
> declare victory. I'm a bit disappointed that Brian has decided
> that we are done when we've only perhaps just started, but
> he's entitled to his opinion.
> 
> 
> 
> On Thu, Oct 27, 2022 at 6:26 AM Brian E Carpenter <
> brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> Hi,
>> 
>> I'd like to change my position on this. In a recent message,
>> Dan acknowledges that using sarcasm or satire is problematic:
>> 
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/last-call/-8qnygF1ywCc3
>> nQAWg0jGCEtLdo/ To my mind, given that Dan has been a
>> significant technical contributor over many years, that is
>> really all the community can ask for. I don't think the IETF
>> would gain anything at this point by applying a PR Action,
>> and would possibly lose future significant technical
>> contributions.
>> 
>> Regards
>>     Brian Carpenter
>> 
>> On 01-Oct-22 10:06, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>> > I've had a filter in place that deletes mail from Dan
>> > Harkins
>> automatically
>> > for some years, so I haven't been disturbed by most of
>> > their recent
>> postings.
>> > But I think that this PR action is fully justified by their
>> > long record of uncivil and disruptive messages,
>> > 
>> > Regards
>> >      Brian Carpenter
>> > 
>> > On 30-Sep-22 05:15, IETF Chair wrote:
>> >> Following community feedback after various incidents, as
>> >> documented
>> below, the
>> >> IESG has initiated a posting rights (PR) action that would
>> >> restrict the
>> posting
>> >> rights of Dan Harkins, as per the procedures found in BCP
>> >> 83 (RFC 3683). Specifically, his posting privileges to
>> >> these lists would be suspended:
>> >> 
>> >> * admin-discuss
>> >> * gendispatch
>> >> * ietf
>> >> * terminology
>> >> 
>> >> In the IESG's opinion, this individual has a history of
>> >> sending emails
>> that are
>> >> inconsistent with the IETF Guidelines for Conduct (RFC
>> >> 7154) and thereby "disrupt the consensus-driven process"
>> >> (RFC 3683). Among these are
>> contributions
>> >> that:
>> >> 
>> >> * Express racism in the form of denying, belittling, and
>> >> ridiculing
>> anti-racist
>> >>     sentiment and efforts
>> >> 
>> >> * Are rude and abusive, and often amount to insulting
>> >> ridicule
>> >> 
>> >> (Links to examples of such emails sent to the lists above
>> >> during the
>> last two
>> >> years are provided at the end of this email.)
>> >> 
>> >> Multiple attempts have been made to enter into a private
>> >> discussion
>> with this
>> >> individual, both by IESG and community members, to
>> >> communicate disquiet
>> with his
>> >> conduct on the lists. These attempts to restore respectful
>> >> and
>> courteous conduct
>> >> on the lists have been rebuffed with communication that
>> >> can be
>> considered both
>> >> antagonistic and hostile, and the pattern of behavior
>> >> observed has
>> continued.
>> >> 
>> >> The IESG also notes that the following actions have
>> >> already been taken
>> in
>> >> response to the individual's actions:
>> >> 
>> >> * Two I-Ds were removed from the public archive due to
>> >> their offensive
>> nature:
>> >> 
>> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-les-white-interse
>> ctional-dots
>> >> 
>> https://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/html/draft-les-white-tls-pre
>> ferred-pronouns
>> >>     (following these links displays the tombstone notice
>> >>     explaining
>> their removal)
>> >> 
>> >> * His posting rights were restricted on the admin-discuss
>> >> mailing list:
>> >> 
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/admin-discuss/ZANH2VPN-
>> U8VMvvOWLb5l03FdCs/
>> >> 
>> >> * A final public warning was issued on the gendispatch
>> >> mailing list:
>> >> 
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/68a4amMa1ai
>> aRUPzPGgXdiY9gHg/
>> >> 
>> >> None of the attempts to discuss his participation style or
>> >> warn the
>> individual
>> >> have led to any improvements. The IESG therefore believes
>> >> that a PR
>> action is
>> >> the correct response to his continued problematic behavior
>> >> across a
>> number of
>> >> different lists.
>> >> 
>> >> The IESG plans to make a decision in the next few weeks,
>> >> and solicits
>> final
>> >> comments on this action. Please send substantive comments
>> >> to the last-call@ietf.org mailing lists by 27 October
>> >> 2022. Exceptionally,
>> comments may
>> >> be sent to iesg@ietf.org instead. If sending private
>> >> feedback to the
>> IESG,
>> >> please indicate if you would be open to having your
>> >> comments anonymized
>> and
>> >> shared in a summary.
>> >> 
>> >> Please note: Comments should be limited to the criteria
>> >> described in
>> BCP 83,
>> >> notably on whether the individual in question has engaged
>> >> in postings
>> that are
>> >> "unprofessional commentary, regardless of the general
>> >> subject" in a
>> manner
>> >> disruptive enough to warrant this action.
>> >> 
>> >> Lars Eggert
>> >> IETF Chair, on behalf of the IESG
>> >> –-
>> >> 
>> >> Examples of problematic emails during the last two years
>> >> include:
>> >> 
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/zdq3F0PV40C
>> yw5ooj0orOWaYyUw/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/i-d7HlWgrkm
>> rVlC7JZQSXDwIJCQ/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/YhPI9zZ_3xf
>> idt5V-ORRnET36yY/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/B33zk8VfOYt
>> 4b4Cj-kIHXG3AXdg/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/d3iDS4WNkCJ
>> A3aMFnX2HjP4tsps/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/gendispatch/-On8AHrdnnC
>> MlJOOyb1M1nlYMpk/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/terminology/n6UMvDuYLKm
>> mvpP1ajICFvf634M/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/terminology/QCdjDbokmlA
>> RcwVqQ1TV3Rlz7eQ/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/terminology/X6OF0MBKAzy
>> LhYaAfAxS6srXRNw/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/terminology/idJhG1MsLmK
>> HyRlaAafcW2JF6Z8/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ipsec/LoGSVatZ4EsYRq4K5
>> 2rmvRZTndk/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ietf/pl2lVqhtF4Z-0YuTjh
>> COmdyi1qE/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/ietf/DFgnF_j8py_eMBGI1I
>> UFdMahTKw/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/terminology/T3oCpY3BbTN
>> LXWAWsCnFvahRLUQ/
>> >> *
>> https://mailarchive.ietf.org/arch/msg/admin-discuss/xLuz4WTCm
>> 5ibIiMVN5ID8OWsCI0/
>> >> 
>> --
>> last-call mailing list
>> last-call@ietf.org
>> https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/last-call
>>