Re: [Tools-discuss] [Manycouches] Proposal to discontinue live mp3 audio streams at IETF meetings

Watson Ladd <> Sun, 04 October 2020 03:11 UTC

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From: Watson Ladd <>
Date: Sat, 3 Oct 2020 20:11:16 -0700
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To: John C Klensin <>
Cc: Brian E Carpenter <>,,
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Subject: Re: [Tools-discuss] [Manycouches] Proposal to discontinue live mp3 audio streams at IETF meetings
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On Thu, Oct 1, 2020 at 9:03 PM John C Klensin <> wrote:
> Out of a desire to stay out of this discussion, I sent a private
> note to Robert earlier today that I will not try to reprise
> here.  However...
> --On Friday, October 2, 2020 08:42 +1300 Brian E Carpenter
> <> wrote:
> >> * This removes a mechanism that allowed people to listen to a
> >> session in real-time without paying a registration fee.
> >>
> >>     There will be ongoing discussion and tuning of the
> >>     meeting registration structure. In the meantime, the fee
> >>     waiver program is available and  being
> >>     improved.
> >
> > I don't think that's a tools-discuss decision alone. It's been
> > a significant point of principle discussed (e.g.) in SHMOO,
> > hence the extra CC.
> Right.  And I think there are some very broad principles about
> who we are willing to disenfranchise, whether we are willing to
> insist that people give up privacy to observe our meetings;
> whether real-time observation is actually needed or whether
> people who just want to observe can watch or listen later;
> whether policies that require either registration fees that are
> not tied to ability to pay or asking for fee waivers are
> inherently discriminatory against, e.g., people from developing
> areas; how many people have to be pushed out before it is an
> issue (note the tie to Robert's "not many people are using the
> mp3 feed); etc.
> To me, there is also a small elephant lurking around the corners
> of the room having to do with just how serious we are about key
> discussions and decisions occurring on the mailing lists.  My
> recollection about what I heard when the IETF got started --long
> before real-time remote participation was feasible for most
> people -- was that there was not a lot of concern about these
> issues, not because people were backward, but because it was
> very clear that meetings were about discussion and getting a
> shared understanding of the issues and how to explain them, not
> about "deciding" or even "agreeing".   I suspect that a really
> pure form of that approach may be somewhat mythological, but the
> difference between even a watered-down version and the "decide
> in meeting, ask on mailing list if there are any significant
> objections" pattern we've seen frequently in recent years is
> still significant.

I think it's extremely difficult to get any deep understanding of a
significant issue at a meeting session. The number of words that can
be exchanged on any topic in a minute or two at the mike is miniscule,
while emails have far more length and can be digested at leisure, and
clarifications requested after digestion.  Buttonholing attendees for
informal conversation is far more important use of the meeting.
Particularly for TLS 1.3 standardization a considerable amount of the
action in late stages was in academic conferences that weren't
officially part of the IETF because of the technicalities.

> However, I think my main point is similar to Brian's (if I
> correctly understand him): it is time we have discussions about
> principles and make decisions about them and then answer
> questions (probably easily) about what services we need to offer
> and how they should be arranged and/or delivered in terms of
> those principles.   Making a decision about something like an
> mp3 feed (and a variety of other things) in isolation is
> unlikely to lead us to good places.


> > It seems to me that the principle of the fee waiver and when
> > it's ethical to use it is still not clear, and we don't know
> > whether it is financially viable in the medium to long term.
> > Until that's settled, I'm a bit uneasy about dropping the mp3
> > streams, precisely because they do not need pre-registration.
> > (If meetecho had a "read only" or observer mode without
> > pre-registration, this problem would go away instantly.)
> Which, of course, Meetecho, in its IETF form, had in the
> original distinction between joining as an observer and as a
> participant until "we" decided to shut it off in the run-up to
> IETF 108 (or IETF 107 if not using Meetecho at all for that
> meeting counts).  The problem is not what mode(s) are available
> but where we draw the dividing line about who gets a free ride.
> Personally I have a lot of difficulty justifying free mp3 live
> streaming but requiring that "read only" / observer Meetecho
> users pay, but YMMD.
> And I see parts of those things as both important but larger
> parts as just another symptom.  We need to look at whether to
> make a distinction between observers and participants and
> whether the latter (at least) are pay to play... always, or only
> when a meeting is all-remote.  We need to figure out if there is
> any real justification for requiring that observers be able to
> observe in real time and, if not, how much delay in getting
> video (and audio?) posted is tolerable.  And so on.  I think
> that, if we have answers to those sorts of questions of
> principle, most of the questions about live audio feeds and even
> fee waivers will largely fall out.
> best,
>    john
> _______________________________________________
> Manycouches mailing list


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