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

Keith Moore <> Thu, 06 October 2022 15:45 UTC

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To: "Bless, Roland (TM)" <>,
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From: Keith Moore <>
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Subject: Re: [Last-Call] Last Call: BCP 83 PR-Action Against Dan Harkins
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On 10/6/22 10:51, Bless, Roland (TM) wrote:

>>> There have been repeated hints from various sides that the postings 
>>> in question (may) have been hurting the feelings of IETF 
>>> participants (or have been disturbing at least and clearly lacking 
>>> respect for IETF participants).
>> With respect, I disagree that this is a valid reason for censoring 
>> this individual.  I also disagree that his postings were malicious or 
>> clearly lacking respect for IETF participants. What's also clear is 
>> that this effort is a personal attack on Dan, and that many of Dan's 
>> supposedly-offending posts were his reactions to what he perceived as 
>> personal attacks on himself or on the community.   While everyone 
>> would do well to avoid resorting to ridicule out of anger at being 
>> attacked, that's an important part of the context that many people 
>> seem to be missing.
> These comments are IMHO along the lines of a typical 
> perpetrator-victim reversal.

I disagree, and I think it's kind of a cheap shot, as if Dan were guilty 
merely by accusation.   Note that in any conversation that gets out of 
hand, it's not unusual for multiple parties to have some culpability, or 
to contribute unnecessarily to the heatedness of the discussion.

>> Essentially, your argument amounts to an argument that it's okay for 
>> the IETF leadership to attack individuals whose opinions they do not 
>> like, or that it's okay for IETF leadership to amplify individuals 
>> whose opinions are offensive to some, and for defensible reasons.
> First of all, expressing racism is not the same thing as expressing an 
> "unpopular opinion". Racism is simply not tolerable and I see that the
> leadership has an obligation to act upon that, therefore it is not about
> suppressing opinions that IETF leadership does not like. 

I agree with those statements, but I do not agree that Dan has 
"expressed racism", at least in the cited messages.   Or if he has, I 
haven't seen it, and I've read each message, along with predecessor 
messages in each of their threads, several times. It's of course 
possible that I missed something - even with the archives it's sometimes 
hard to understand the context behind each message.  But if I've missed 
something I don't think it's due to a lack of due diligence.

"racism", or calling someone a "racist", or even calling their documents 
"racist", are very serious charges, and publicly making such charges 
without strong evidence seems to me bordering on defamation or libel.   
I realize that some people believe that to question at all the validity 
of some theories of racial disparity is a kind of racism, but I 
respectfully disagree.   I haven't seen Dan advocate any kind of 
prejudice against any people of color, ethnic group, or culture.   I 
can't make the same statement for all of the other speakers in the 
referenced conversations.    Nor have I seen Dan question that racial 
prejudice exists and is common and harmful.

> Second, even if
> we leave racism aside, it is clear from Dan's postings that he is
> discriminating against people of groups that the IETF should not
> exclude (and human dignity is non-negotiable). His ridiculing and
> belittling postings show a clear lack of respect for individuals of
> these groups and it is unprofessional if the community repeatedly
> requested to stop that behavior, but he nevertheless still continues.
> Having a different opinion on how to deal with  diversity and inclusion
> is ok, but disturbing and disrupting the IETF consensus-driven process
> by repeatedly posting offensive messages is not. 

I haven't seen that he's done that, at least from the messages that IESG 
chose to cite as examples.