Said another way, I do not believe that
the increased number of people has harmed the S/N ratio in any
of my WGs, nor any that I attended. The people who participate
participate and the people who don't don't. I don't have
a problem with that.
It seems like there is some sort of psychological effect of large rooms
and/or large numbers of people - people seem less likely to speak their
minds in a room full of mostly passive observers, than when in a room
full of people who are mostly participating in the discussion.
If this is true then having large numbers of passive observers at a
meeting does indeed lower the S/N, by reducing the signal level.
Finally, adopting draconian measures that make the IETF some
kind of secret/privileged society will mark the beginning of
the end of the its usefulness. I would hate to see that
I think we have two choices: we can either try to discourage lurkers
who don't do their homework, or we can increase the current tendency
for decisions to be made by (often closed) design teams for later rubber
stamping by the WG. The latter seems much more like a secret/privileged
society than the former.