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

Melinda Shore <> Thu, 27 October 2022 05:24 UTC

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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Change of position: Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins
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On 10/26/22 8:44 PM, Tim Bray wrote:
> My conclusion remains the opposite - proceed with the action, even if I 
> agree that this runs the risk of losing input from a valuable 
> contributor. My reasoning is that that potential loss is dwarfed by the 
> loss of contributions from multiple other people who walk away from 
> groups where they encounter behavior that they perceive as abusive.

The IETF has definitely lost some very valuable contributors
who've left because of the general tenor of the discourse -
people who've authored successful protocols that have seen very
wide deployment.  But I also have to believe that progress is
possible and that people can adapt in order to find ways to
work together.  And, I tend to think that even if, say, this
particular situation never arose, the far-too-widely shared
(and instantiated) sentiment that it's okay to treat other
participants with  disrespect would have driven them off, anyway.

That said, I think the IETF has a major process problem, as
questions like these really are not at all amenable to to
consensus processes.  As others have pointed out,
it's pretty ugly to put the person who's the subject of the
proposed PR action through this.  It's also the case that
consensus doesn't scale to this number of participants and
just doesn't work at all when some participants are acting in bad
faith.  Regardless of the outcome here I think it may be
time for some serious discussions about how to deal with
these questions in a way that causes less damage.


Melinda Shore

Software longa, hardware brevis