Re: WG management
The open door policy might call for some
creativity in resource management, but it in no way guarantees that we
are unable to manage our aggregate resources
It pushes us into a significantly less predictable situation than with
committed resources. That's guaranteed.
Ahh. I think I see where we differ. You are focusing on whether the IETF can
make guarantees about when it will deliver things. Whereas I am concerned
with placing limits on the folks who seek to consume IETF resources.
No, we cannot guarantee when things will complete. Yes, we need reasonable
But if some folk come to the IETF and ask to consume IETF resources, we have
more than a right to require that they consume those resources reasonably and
productively. We have a responsibility.
They consume IETF secretariat time, IESG time, meeting rooms, etc. They
congest our queues. They draw from our talent pool (such as it is.) So we
definitely have a responsibility that they consume our resources productively.
I've heard rumors that ADs -- and maybe even IETF Chairs -- sometimes feel as
if their workload is a bit high. Perhaps it would be less so if the groups
that were trying to work here were actually responsible for doing timely
productive work, rather than dragging things out for hefty fractions of a decade?
And we have plenty of history of refusing such folk or of terminating such
folk, when we feel that their consumption is not (any longer) warranted. We
refuse to charter groups who lack focus. We shut down working groups that
fail to produce.
What WE have failed to do is to apply this performance demand with much rigor.
My suggestion is merely that we be more strict in applying exactly those
demands that we have applied many times in the past: We need to require that
a group that is chartered show enough commitment -- by virtue of participation
-- and enough focus -- by virtue of crisp clear charters, documents, etc -- to
make it likely that their work will be timely and useful and that they then are.
If there is a strongly dominant constituency in favor of something,
then that something gets done.
Of course. But I don't see the connection with rough consensus. Exactly
the same is true in voting standards bodies - if there is no majority constituency,
nothing gets done.
Actually it is often quite different. A voting body can allow itself to make
a decision when virtually nobody participates, depending upon their rules for
a quorum. More importantly, voting usually makes a decision based on whether
more than half of those involved say yes.
By contrast, the IETF pattern is to require that there be a body of seriously
active folk and that their decisions have at dominant coherence (somewhere in
that mystical space that is much more than half and maybe less than unanimous).
How many people compose "a body of seriously active folk"? Beats the heck out
of me. But let me suggest that if we make a point of looking honestly at an
effort during its formation and as it is prosecuted, we will typically see
very clearly whether the activity is of a few folk pursuing a personal --
albeit possibly appealing -- whim or is of a seriously active industry
Asking the question honestly is the hard part.
Exactly the same in a voting organisation. Except (and I don't
personally like this) they tend to meet deadlines by holding
votes on whatever text they have at that time.
Real projects meet deadlines by delivering what they have committed to. And
when they fail to do that, their existence is legitimately threatened. Real
projects that succeed to not get to commit to 2 years of effort and then
linger for 5 or 8, producing no measurable benefit to their customers.
Require that an effort begin with -- and continue to demonstrate -- a
serious constituency in terms of numbers and activity, and most of our
Exactly the same in a voting organisation.
Brian, you seem to be resorting to the voting model as if it somehow relates
to my point. I think it doesn't.
First, there is nothing that says that the IETF model must have nothing in
common with membership/voting organizations. It merely says that there are
important differences. Second, no matter how a group is organized, it has to
Frankly the tone of your responses to this topic seem pretty consistently to
be one of a hopeless shrug, as if to suggest that there is nothing proactive
(or even reactive) that can be done to *require* timely productivity.
This, of course, is a good way to keep a pleasant tone in the group, but it
also seems like it risks letting the organization simply die from lack of
One might even predict that there will be less and less participation and that
it will take longer and longer to produce work that has less and less impact.
Oops. That is what is already happening.
Ignore that requirement and we are, instead, we are left with
congestion, individual idealism and vetoes... and a belief that there
is nothing we can do about it.
So if you have a WG with only 6 active participants whose only job is a
MIB, do we deem it too small and too inactive? Whereas a WG with 100 active
partcipants and 30 drafts in progress but no drafts reaching the IESG is
Who is expected to use that MIB? Why do we think that these 6 people
represent those people well enough to make the use likely? Is the work
"no drafts reaching the IESG" would seem to answer the question of
productivity rather directly.
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