Re: Draft "Convince your boss" note for IETF participants

Toerless Eckert <> Wed, 28 September 2022 22:57 UTC

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Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2022 00:57:36 +0200
From: Toerless Eckert <>
To: Michael Richardson <>
Cc: Dave Thaler <>, Greg Wood <>, WG Chairs <>
Subject: Re: Draft "Convince your boss" note for IETF participants
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On Wed, Sep 28, 2022 at 11:50:30PM +0200, Michael Richardson wrote:
> Dave Thaler <> wrote:
>     > Secondly, in this world of economic downturn, travel may be harder to
>     > obtain funding for, and much of the current note would apply to virtual
>     > attendance as well.  It doesn't really speak explicitly to the benefits
>     > of in-person as compared to virtual, it is worded to compare in-person
>     > to no participation at all.
> To my mind, what we (the IETF community) really need is more people
> contributing via email, reviews, and writing and prototyping running code.

Probably vastly varying across different WG/technologies, but certainly a
+1 on some of those WG/technologies i can think of.

> I feel, btw, that in a few parts of the IETF this has significantly gone up
> compared to ten years ago, but it might just be my perspective.... it's the
> part of the IETF that I personally find the most rewarding.

Having bright people in the IETF beat up one's own ideas and ultimately
improving it through that back and forth is indeed the best part. That actually 
is IMHO true whether or not the documents goal is running code or any other goal
(archtiecture, use-cases, requirements, experience deployment BCP, ...).

> The cost to the boss of having people spend *time* doing that is actually way
> way way higher than the travel costs, but the cost comes in a less tangible way.

I am not so sure if that has always been true in the past. I would think that 
contributors passionate about the IETF did and to some degree stil do it also
on their own time beside their job. Of course, that is a continuum. But it would
of course be great to inspire that relationship to the IETF in more newcomers.

> Once that kind of interaction is underway, the extra tangible cost of the
> travel might be relatively acceptable.  (exploit the sunk-cost falacy here...)

Lets not forget, that Gregs motivation could well be different from yours:
All that better work on mailing lists and the like does not pay more of our
bill. IETF 'tourists' who register for the IETF but rather go to anti-war demos
in San Francisco while IETF happen (yes, my examples are that old ;-) on the
other hand do help to pay the IETF bill. Not that Greg was even starting to
pitch the great tourism factor of the IETF meetings. Although, as i learned,
attractiveness of location is not an official IETF critera of location selection.

Nevertheless, i have often enough seen important contributors to be able to
come in person to the IETF only when the location was attractive enough to
their +1 (or sometimes +2...+4) to also come. I digress... but only a little bit ;-)

> I am finding that we being asked to review and consider adopting many
> documents for which there is no hope of ever seeing running code, even a
> prototype.  I find it very sad, because often they are really good ideas, but
> without a prototype or proof-of-concept, it's very hard to get enough
> experience to convince people.

Yes, many more related helpful aspects though. Hackathons, specs with sufficient
enough details (even if pseudocode) to vet feasiblity, simulations, ...

Maybe also put some more effort into promoting the 1 percenter (about 100 out
of 10,000 RFC): the full Internet standards - that do have a more thorough deployment
proof based review process. If that goal is declared for some work even when
the drafts are written, it might help for participating contributors/companies
to prepare to make the necessary steps happen better than its mostly the case
these days. And i am sure we have quite a few more RFCs that could get to this
level if the necessary work was spent.


> --
> Michael Richardson <>, Sandelman Software Works
>  -= IPv6 IoT consulting =-