1. A review structure that works for conferences doesn't necessarily
work for IETF.
And it doesn't necessarily not work either. It has not been generally
Lots of things haven't been generally applied. For instance, we haven't
tried evaluating IETF submissions by weight.
Conferences and IETF have different goals.
Correctness is a part of conferences too; consensus not as much, but ADs
applying their personal feedback is not consensus.
ADs apply their personal feedback out of the need for closure;
it's also not clear that an AD's personal feedback is worse than
a conference reviewer's personal feedback. A conference reviewer
might not get to veto a paper, but an AD's DISCUSS isn't a veto
2. IESG's scaling problems are a direct result of low-quality output
from working groups, and we can't do much to address that problem
by changing how IESG works.
IESG's scaling problems are also a result of taking on too much personal
responsibility to provide individual feedback rather than to delegate.
No, that is a symptom. The problem with ADs providing individual
feedback is exacerbated by working groups reaching the point of
exhaustion before they get significant external review and generally
being unwilling to accept significant changes at that point.
Delegating the reviews won't solve the exhaustion/denial problem, it
will just add delay.
3. I don't think we can make IESG significantly larger, I don't think
we can dispense with final document review and keep document quality
up, and I don't think that additional reviewers can signficantly
relieve IESG of the need to do final review. I do think that
additional reviewers could be very valuable in giving WGs feedback from
early drafts, keeping them on the right track, and keeping IESG
informed about the status of the WGs. I also think that a document
that has enjoyed such review and feedback throughout its life cycle
will be much easier for IESG to review, and that (without any changes
to IESG's organization or process) it will be harder for IESG to reject
such documents without sound technical justification.
All conjectures ;-)
All informed by several years of experience, including 4 years on IESG.
(which you will probably want to dismiss as mere bias :)
The issue isn't whether there's sound technical justification, but
whether things get held up until that's addressed, even with ongoing
review and feedback from other WGs.
We either need to make the IESG larger (real or virtual by delegation)
or make their work smaller (by encouraging feedback to be directional -
as in 'take to WG X' - rather than technical review).
Having WGs produce higher quality output will reduce IESG's workload
and reduce the time spent in final review.
By the time a document reaches IESG, the kind of feedback you
recommend is often too late.
think the primary benefit of additional reviewers is in early review
rather than late review - I think we want the early review both to give
timely feedback and correction to WGs and to give the ADs confidence
that the WGs have stayed on track and done their homework, thus making
the late reviews easier.
I agree, except that I don't see what the purpose of the late reviews
is; IMO, an ADs time is better spent pointing out which WGs might
overlap or have issue with a document than in providing specific
technical criteria for correcting things (unless that WG and the doc
It's to make sure that the document adheres to 2026 criteria before
and one specific response to something you wrote:
We don't believe in kings, and IMO, the IESG have too much king-like
power in the current structure.
Start giving IESG real rough consensus (rather than consensus by
exclusion and/or exhaustion) and real running code (or even
better, convincing analysis that the protocol will work well in the
wild), and they won't feel the need to rule by edict.
That isn't always sufficient. Sometimes they rule to appease
individuals, sometimes that individual is the AD. Either way, there's
more going on than just good protocol design.
I am not saying that ADs will never misuse their power. That's what
the appeals process is for. I'm saying that under the current situation
the vast majority of AD "edicts" (as opposed to directed feedback)
are the result of WGs reaching the point of exhaustion without
producing good designs. Fix that problem and it becomes reasonable to
expect fewer and less onerous AD "edicts" and to push back on those
edicts more often.
I would prefer a bottom up organization that helped us create better,
more coordinated protocols than the top-down one that we have now.
We already have a bottom-up organization. It's because the bottom
is failing to do its job that the top has to play cop.
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