So the real requirement is to reduce the load the IETF places on an AD.
This seems like an extremely difficult problem to me. Most of IESG's
workload is in reviewing technical specifications. I don't see any way to
provide good quality technical specifications without a final review by a group
of technically adept individuals with a broad range of expertise. It's clear
(to me, anyway) that we can't simply trust WGs to produce good output - most
do, but maybe half of the documents have serious flaws that need some
correction before publication, and maybe 10% produce documents that are so bad
they are hard to salvage into something that meets standards-track criteria.
And while I'm all in favor of giving WGs earlier feedback to reduce the number
of late surprises (and to help them finish their work on time), this seems more
likely to increase IESG workload than to decrease it.
I do suspect that improvements in tools have made life a bit easier since I was
on IESG. But I don't think the tools can help ADs review documents. As for
external reviewers, I generally found that using external reviewers on WG
documents just made it harder to get a compromise.
To significantly reduce the load that the IETF places on an AD basically means
one or more of the following:
- fewer WGs (and a higher bar for chartering new WGs)
- fewer documents (say, a quota on the number of documents a WG can produce)
- shorter documents (say, a per-document page quota)
- fewer WG participants
- a further degradation in document quality
...none of which are particularly attractive for an organization that derives
its operational funds from meeting fees and whose reputation (and therefore
effectiveness) depends on the number and quality of the documents it produces.
Even if you can somehow reduce the time required for an AD to do things that
are more-or-less mandatory (reviewing specifications, reviewing charters,
participating in telechats and face-to-face meetings, communicating with WG
chairs and individuals) there are still likely to be a number of things that
don't get enough attention - like keeping up with WG mail traffic and WG
documents, trying to get errant WGs back on track, etc.
So to me it looks like being an AD is going to continue to be a full-time job.
We can and should try to arrange things so that ADs spend more of their time
doing _useful_ work. But while it might make the AD job less frustrating, it
probably won't make it less time-consuming.
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