[Last-Call] Responsibility to whom? (was Consensus call (was: Other stuff) )

Ted Hardie <ted.ietf@gmail.com> Thu, 27 October 2022 09:12 UTC

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From: Ted Hardie <ted.ietf@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Oct 2022 10:11:30 +0100
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Subject: [Last-Call] Responsibility to whom? (was Consensus call (was: Other stuff) )
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On Wed, Oct 26, 2022 at 10:47 PM Keith Moore <moore@network-heretics.com>
> (1) A volunteer organization is ultimately responsible to its
> volunteers, and it's vital that we keep our facilitators honest. When a
> WG chair, or for that matter IESG, declares consensus and there's
> clearly not a consensus (or vice versa) the first line of defense from

I agree with Keith's point that it is the community's right to question
consensus calls if there is a reason to believe that the call was made in

But I don't think that his larger point, " A volunteer organization is
ultimately responsible to its volunteers", is correct for the IETFbecause
we are fundamentally a mission-based organization.

"The mission of the IETF is to make the Internet work better by producing
high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people
design, use, and manage the Internet." (RFC 3935)

Our ultimate responsibility isn't to the body of volunteers, it is to the
Internet we help build.  That means the analysis of the impact of a
decision (be it technical or governance) cannot stop with its impact on the
current set of volunteers but must include the impact on the Internet as a
whole. We are quite used to that analysis in the context of technical
decisions, but it applies to governance decisions as well.  When the IESG
makes a decision like shifting the pattern of meeting sites, to take an
example unrelated to the parent thread, it does so both by analyzing the
impact on the current volunteers and assessing the possibility of
attracting new volunteers, viewpoints, and understandings from the new

When the IESG makes any governance call, I believe that  they must take
into account that larger context and that in that larger context some
assessments of issues being "addressed by not necessarily accommodated"
(RFC 7282)  will look different than if they were made solely in the
context of the current set of volunteers. In my view, that's not just okay,
that's the appropriate thing to do.

Just my two cents,

Ted Hardie