Re: [Last-Call] Professional organization? [was Re: Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins]

Brian E Carpenter <> Fri, 07 October 2022 20:51 UTC

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Date: Sat, 08 Oct 2022 09:51:01 +1300
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To: Marc Petit-Huguenin <>, Ted Lemon <>
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From: Brian E Carpenter <>
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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Professional organization? [was Re: Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins]
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I don't see Ted's message as intentionally condescending. I do see it as
illustrating one of the problems of discussion in an international
community "separated by a common language", to use an old joke.

[The joke: George Bernard Shaw once wrote "England and America are
two countries separated by a common language."]

Until I formally retired, I was a member of the IET (the Institution of
Engineering Technology,, the British professional organization
for various engineering disciplines, which also made me a Chartered
Engineer in the UK. It bound me to a code of ethics, and for many years
(until the regulations changed) it was also enough to authorize me to
certify electrical wiring in the UK (which I never did).

So yes, Marc, in that sense the IETF is definitely not a "professional
organization". Neither is the Internet Society, for that matter. All
the same, both the IETF and ISOC have policies about the behaviour
of participants, which is a feature of professional organizations.

The IETF is open to everybody, so whether participants are professionally
engaged in the work or not is beside the point. I assume that what
Ted was getting at is that following the IETF's policies for behaviour
is essentially identical to professional behaviour in general.

Since I completely retired from paid work, I guess I've been a
hobbyist participant in the IETF, but the Note Well still applies
to me. Your, and my, technical inputs here should be evaluated
regardless of our status, and so should our choice of language.

    Brian Carpenter

On 08-Oct-22 05:40, Marc Petit-Huguenin wrote:
> On 10/7/22 09:02, Ted Lemon wrote:
>> It is an organization that we participate in professionally, so it is a
>> professional organization. It is not a social group. Hobbyists are welcome
>> to participate, but it's reasonable for us to expect that they behave
>> professionally.
> As someone who pay from my own pocket to participate in the IETF, I suppose that I am part of that "them" that you clearly separate from the "us".
> You know, up to this point, I tried really hard to understand the point of view of people who felt rejected by the IETF, but it was a bit theoretical to me.  With that condescending response I can now relate to that point of view.
> So, thank you?
>> On Fri, Oct 7, 2022 at 11:38 AM Marc Petit-Huguenin <>
>> wrote:
>>> On 10/7/22 07:30, Ted Lemon wrote:
>>>> Precisely. The reality of communication, particularly communication with
>>>> strangers, is that you MUST assume that what you say will be taken
>>>> literally. And if you say something that, taken literally, is offensive,
>>>> /you/ are responsible for giving offense, not the person who
>>> misunderstood
>>>> your intent. Of course we all can stand to be careful not to needlessly
>>>> take offense, and of course we all want to think of each other as friends
>>>> who understand each other.
>>>> But in order for a diverse community to be inclusive, certain best
>>>> practices must be followed. One of these is: always speak literally.
>>> Never
>>>> try to convey information ironically. That may be how you interact with
>>>> your friends, and that's fine. But this is a professional organization
>>> that
>>>> does work, not a kaffeeklatsch where we hang out for pleasure. Even if
>>> you
>>> When did the IETF became a professional organization? (for reference, ACM
>>> *is* a professional organization).