I'd like to make some comments on the issues discussed below. Before
diving into the details, I'd like to make two meta-comments. First,
I believe that the chairs' messages noted that they had received private
of concern, and that their e-mail was expressed as a response to those messages.
As chairs, it is their responsibility to take the community's concerns seriously
and to respond to them. My reading of their response is that they believe
that the IETF 68 meeting of GEOPRIV was sufficiently unusual that it requires us
to be very careful to follow our standard procedures in following up the
so that the overall process is obviously fair and is as transparent as possible.
This serves the interests of those who were at the GEOPRIV meeting at
IETF 68, as well as those who participate but could not physically attend
the meeting. Reading Cullen's response, it looks like he saw this as the
chairs' impression and reaction as individuals; maybe that is part of it,
but I believe is important to see this in terms of the view of the participant
community (of which the Chairs certainly form part). I also believe that their
suggested response is basically "do business as usual, and make sure that's
which I believe is non-controversial as a way forward.
Secondly, I believe that this response has picked up some style
elements of the original chairs' message and exaggerated them,
falling into quasi-legal language that hurts us as a group of folks trying to
get this done. As I read the original message, the core is that there were
unusual aspects of the GEOPRIV meeting at IETF 68: the schedule changed, which
had some unfortunate consequences; the meeting agenda changed more than usual;
and the way the group made progress was at the far end of our process. Any
one of those, alone, might be enough to cause us to want to be careful of the
follow-up. All of them together are definitely enough. Rather than push
how any one of these points got to be, let's see if we can agree on the way
forward. I think, honestly, we already do, and bogging down in how we
got here is not that useful. As you'll see below I see some mistakes I made
here, and I suspect others do as well. Let's learn from them and move on.
At 1:23 PM -0700 4/18/07, Cullen Jennings wrote:
In the email below, the GEOPRIV chairs express serious concerns about the
process surrounding the GEOPRIV meeting at IETF 68 in Prague. In particular,
- That improper meetings occurred between the ADs and the working group
participants and that this "potentially harmed the integrity and transparency
of GEOPRIV and the IETF"
- That there was "the appearance that there may have been an attempt to
manipulate IETF process to hold and predetermine the outcome of consensus
calls" on the part of the Area Directors.
In the first place, the Area Directors take these concerns, and grave
allegations, very seriously. Area Directors who manipulate schedules and
agendas in order to predetermine the outcome of consensus calls should, in our
opinion, be summarily recalled, and if the GEOPRIV working group chairs
believe this transpired in IETF 68, we urge them to pursue such a recourse.
I urge them not to. Let's try to work this out without creaking into effect a
aspect of our process. Pushing it to that extreme looks contrary to our usual
to achieve consensus; let's continue talking to each other instead. If either
Area Directors or chairs is no longer willing to talk about the problems and
them, I think we're in a sorry state. If we've gotten there, let's try and
While we speak to the particulars in detail below, in short we believe that
our efforts before, during and after the GEOPRIV meeting at IETF 68 were
limited to encouraging a set of participants to arrive at a consensus which
was long overdue, and did not extend to steering said consensus in any
particular direction. In this regard we do not believe we overstepped our
bounds, either in the letter or the spirit of the process.
As indicated in my message of March 25, we agree with the GEOPRIV chairs that
the hums taken in prague need to be confirmed on the mailing list. As we all
know, the contents of a room in Prague are not equivalent to an IETF working
group; only formal decisions of this mailing list are definitive for the
working group. Too often working group minutes are published and completely
ignored, which only leads to further discord down the road when participants
resist that to which they are presumed to have assented. This is particularly
important in this case because opinion in the room was so closely divided. So
in the interests of making progress, please do review the results of Prague
To the particular concerns of the GEOPRIV chairs:
<> Agenda: The Area Directors did meet privately with members of the GEOPRIV
working group prior to the meeting at IETF 68. Indeed, we met with as many
stakeholders as possible, specifically to ascertain how the group could move
forward on a set of contentious issues which had been unresolved for some time.
As a participant, I volunteered to meet with James Winterbottom to discuss some
of his concerns and to understand better how some aspects of his proposal helped
advance the work of the group. Looking back over the email exchange leading
up to that, I realize now that it would have better for me to add my
willingness to talk to other folks with other points of view, as some other
folks might have misconstrued my message as singling James out.
Because I was serving on the IESG at the time, some folks might have
misunderstood which hat I was wearing when I made that offer. I apologize for
that, especially if
that contributed to any of the feeling that one position was being favored.
I think the same could be said for Jon and Cullen. Once they started meeting
privately with folks from GEOPRIV to discuss how to move forward, a note
to the group that they were looking for input on that would have been
useful. In particular, it might have identified folks that Jon and Cullen
didn't immediately recognize as "stakeholders", and it would have given
those not at the physical meeting time to send email or otherwise contact
them as ADs. I don't think that would have had a huge impact on the
outcome, honestly, but it would have increased the transparency of what
was going on. That goes to the point the chairs have made. In the middle
of an IETF, jet-lagged and hyper-busy, I think we have to agree that this is an
mistake to make. But I hope we can agree that an open call for input would
be a good thing to be sure of in the future.
In the course of these meetings we solicited input on how progress could be
made at the meeting, and strongly encouraged working group members to find a
path to consensus. We came to believe that focusing on core issues that were
impeding progress, such as the longstanding disagreement on an HTTP-based
Layer 7 Location Configuration Protocol (henceforth L7LCP) rather than
ancillary issues like location signing, would be the best use of working group
I'm not sure everyone sees location signing as ancillary; it's just momentarily
The reality is that the group was deadlocked on whether to do an L7LCP
and remained so for a long time after the idea was first introduced. This
was later exacerbated by a choice in which document to use as a baseline if
the working group did take it up. This latter choice was bitterly contentious
and had been so for some time. I agree with the choice to make resolving
it a priority, but I also see the problem raised by the chairs: it was not the
focus of the original agenda and some, but not all, of the folks going into the
meeting knew that there would be a proposal to change the focus of the meeting.
Since that level of agenda bash is unusual, you can see that as adding to a
concern about transparency.
There is always concern that decisions made in situations like that may be
influenced by partisans packing the room with folks who are not typical
participants. Whether that happened in this case or not, or on which side,
is not really that important. The reality is that our processes have a way of
handling that, by making sure that the mailing list is always used as the final
decision-making venue for the working group. For less contentious issues, that
be a simple "Anyone disagree with the consensus of the room?". I believe
that for contentious issues, more care may be required to state carefully
what the proposal is and how consensus will be determined.
I don't think the chairs' proposal for how to move forward requires more than
that, and I don't see any issues inside the WG with that as part of the plan
on how to move forward.
While it is certainly true that the Area Directors knew they wanted to use the
agenda time in GEOPRIV to make progress on core issues, if necessary at the
expense of existing agenda items, there was no concrete agenda to that effect
privately circulated prior to the meeting, verbally or in writing, to our
knowledge. In fact, the agenda was bashed at the start of the GEOPRIV meeting
by a participant, albeit one whose counsel on making progress the Area
Directors had sought prior to the meeting. Critically, that agenda bash was
vetted by the room, as any other agenda bash would be - this was not a change
made by fiat of the Area Directors. We strongly believe that there was a will
in the room to prioritize and resolve the issues which were bashed onto the
agenda. We furthermore took specific hums about the preparedness of the group
to make decisions about these issues, which under the circumstances were
required to proceed.
<> Scheduling: There certainly were irregularities with the scheduling of the
GEOPRIV meeting at IETF 68. That much said, scheduling the meeting track for
the RAI Area is infamous, and last minute changes in timeslot are hardly
unheard of (we had a similar one at the previous IETF). In this instance, the
scheduling problem was ultimately caused by the unavailability of working
group chairs. Two of the three GEOPRIV chairs, and one of the two SPEERMINT
chairs, were unable to attend IETF 68 at all. It transpired that the SPEERMINT
chair who could attend was unable to make the SPEERMINT timeslot due to a
family obligation elsewhere in the world. As the GEOPRIV chairs note below,
Henning Schulzrinne had previously been identified as a stand-in co-chair for
GEOPRIV. We were thus left with the prospect of seeing SPEERMINT go forward
with no available chairs, versus GEOPRIV going forward with at least one
previously identified stand-in chair. We thus made a last minute decision to!
find the lesser of two evils by swapping the timeslots of the groups. This
was a decision made at the last minute to find the lesser of two evils. We
certainly didn't anticipate all of the ramifications this change would have in
terms of attendance, and in retrospect, we may not have made the most best
choice. The choice was not, however, motivated by a desire to prevent
participants from attending either meeting.
Thanks for your clear description. I'm sure that Andy didn't anticipate his
broken prior to IETF 68, and we all recognize that these things happen. The
that might be raised would be that Henning is strongly identified with one of
proposals that was being considered in the revised agenda, and he had never
been part of calling consensus in a GEOPRIV meeting. As has already been noted,
Henning stepped away from that duty when his own topic was under discussion.
Having been in the room, I can say that I did not see it as a problem at the
I believe, though, that the chairs are telling us, at least in part, how it
to those who were not in the room. I think the right thing to do is acknowledge
that is a potential perception, and let it guide us in how we implement the
consensus call on the mailing list.
<> Consensus calls: There were indeed quite a few hums taken in the GEOPRIV
room in Prague. In fact, the manner in which the meeting was run with regard
to hums was not typical for this group - hums were used liberally to hone in
on areas where there was, and was not, consensus. That much said, not all of
the hums were consensus calls on working group issues; quite a few hums were
also taken on how we should proceed, for example (taken from the minutes):
- HUM : Are you informed enough to make this choice
- HUM: Is it important to solve that today
- HUM: Will the group accept a plurality for the decision?
This last hum in particular represented an unusual step, as the GEOPRIV chairs
note. It was a step recommended by the author of RFC3929 (a document on
"alternative decision making processes for consensus-blocked decisions") when
we asked him how we might proceed. We resorted to this step because the room
felt (based on a previous hum) that it was important to walk away from the
meeting with a resolution.
I am the author of RFC 3929, and I did say that this was one way forward. This
is not, however, exactly what RFC 3929 says. That sets out preconditions
before alternative methods can be used:
3.1. There is a clear decision to be reached
3.2. Proposals are available in Draft form
3.3. The working group has discussed the issue without reaching
3.4. There is an explicit working group last call to use an alternate
The hums in the room were not after an explicit working group last call to use
an alternate method; they were after a hum in the room to use plurality
rather consensus in order to make forward progress. I believe that the
method used is within the spirit of 3929; more importantly, though, I think
they are well within what a working group can use to drive consensus.
All consensus requires compromise. The call in the room could be rephrased
as: "Are you willing to compromise by adopting the other solution if
it is the majority preference?" I think that was the spirit in which it
was being asked, and I hope we can retain that spirit of compromise as
we ask for confirmation on the list.
To one particular point:
Cullen Jennings both called the consensus
and cast the last and tie-breaking vote in the room.
We feel it is important to clarify that Cullen Jennings did not call the
consensus in the room. Rather, both Cullen and Ted Hardie were independently
counting the tallies for the plurality in the room (two counters were used for
redundancy, with the side effect that presumably we eliminated any chance of
partiality); it was in fact Jon Peterson as chair who called the consensus, on
the basis of those reported tallies. Furthermore, although Cullen Jennings did
cast a vote when the count in the room was completed and discovered to result
in a tie, this was not the tie-breaking vote for the purposes of determining
I note that I did not vote in any of the questions where I was tallying the
the case where a tie was produced in the room I did say "Oh sh*t" loudly enough
to elicit some nearby laughter, and it was after that that Cullen raised his
Having seen his face, I can thoroughly believe that it was frustration at the
of deadlock, and I was happy that counting the jabber room participants'
resolved the question such that we could remove his vote from the tally.
In fact, votes from the Jabber room determined the plurality, and the
resulting tally did not favor the option for which Cullen had voted. To the
one of the hums was called on a question not described
in an existing Internet-Draft.
That can be said of all of the process listed hums above. We aren't aware that
process constrains us to make hums solely related to questions within existing
I personally, don't think they do. But the number of hums, the fact that we
working from audible (rather than written) questions, and the pace of the
all contribute to the issue of whether everyone understood the full impact
of all the questions being asked (especially those folks contributing remotely,
since this is always a difficult task). This doesn't mean anything was done
ill-intent; it just highlights the need to follow up with well-worded consensus
on the mailing list.
As I said before, I am personally happy with the outcome of the calls, as they
move us forward; I would have been equally happy, in many cases, with the
other choices, as they would do the same. But I was at the meeting and could
get a sense of the room. If the combination of unusual features related to
the meeting has raised questions in the community, then I believe the chairs
are right to respond to them and to ensure that we all recognize to be
careful in our followup. That's not about blame, or an allegation. I's a
practical statement of what it will take to keep all of the participants
committed to finishing the work.
I hope the chairs and ADs can come to a rapid and amicable agreement on
that, and that we can all move forward quickly.
RAI Area Directors
On Apr 17, 2007, at 8:06 PM, Randall Gellens wrote:
We, the co-chairs of the GEOPRIV working group, have received private
messages of concern regarding the GEOPRIV meeting held at IETF 68 and
the outcome of that meeting. Upon initial investigation, we believe
there were irregularities with the scheduling and agenda of the
meeting that rise above the normal course of business within the
IETF. It is our opinion that at this time, it is best to bring
notice of these irregularities to the working group in the interest
of transparency and for the integrity of the IETF.
The IETF process allows for agenda changes during meetings. At the
outset of the meeting, the agenda was changed substantially from the
published agenda. This change included removing the discussion of
location signing and integrity and replacing it with an L7-LCP
protocol consensus call. However, evidence has arisen that the
the Area Directors, Cullen Jennings and Jon Peterson, met privately with
some participants of the GEOPRIV working group to inform them
of this agenda change. Cullen Jennings is the Area Advisor to GEOPRIV.
If such meetings did occur, we believe them to be improper and to
have potentially harmed the integrity and transparency of GEOPRIV and
the IETF. It is not proper for officiates of a working group to plan
working group agenda changes and privately inform only select group
participants. Doing so disadvantages participants of the working
group who have not been advised of this change. This is especially
true for this particular meeting as the agenda change precipitated 15
hums during the meeting.
As noted ahead of time, two of the three co-chairs, Andy and Allison,
were unable to attend IETF 68. The working group co-chairs planned
for this in advance by finding a substitute acting chair, Henning
Schulzrinne, to aid the one co-chair, Randy, who was able to
attend. This change was publicly announced on the mailing list
before IETF 68. However, the RAI Area Directors announced a last
minute (Sunday) schedule change which created an unresolvable conflict
for Randy. The Area Directors executed this schedule change over the
objections of the GEOPRIV co-chairs and in full knowledge of the
conflict it created. Additionally, the reason given was so that a
working group co-chair for another working group could attend his
As a result of the schedule change, the meeting was co-chaired by Jon
Peterson, the other RAI Area Director. Consequent to the agenda
change regarding L7-LCP, Henning recused himself during the latter
half the meeting, leaving Jon Peterson to solely run the meeting.
During the meeting, a few participants expressed concerns regarding
the agenda and schedule changes. These concerns were dismissed by Jon.
As noted above, the meeting resulted in an unusually high (15) number
of consensus calls for GEOPRIV. This includes the unusual decision to
use an alternate consensus method of a plurality vote to choose between
two protocol proposals. As noted in the raw minutes and the
audio recording of the meeting, for the call that used the
plurality voting method, Cullen Jennings both called the consensus
and cast the last and tie-breaking vote in the room. It should also
be noted that one of the hums was called on a question not described
in an existing Internet-Draft.
The schedule change, the agenda change made known to a few select
participants in advance, and the unusual sense-of-the-room hums, together
create at least the appearance that there may have been an attempt to
manipulate the IETF process to hold and predetermine the outcome of
consensus calls. Even the appearance of such manipulation, regardless of
how well-intentioned the actions may have been, threatens the integrity
and openness of the IETF.
The IETF relies on not just open, fare processes, but also
transparency that good procedures are followed. The irregularities
are now on the record of the group, hopefully never to be repeated.
In order to follow IETF process, all resolutions put forward during
a working group meeting must be ratified on the working group's
mailing list. The chairs will shortly be sending messages to formally
initiate consensus calls on the sense-of-the-room hums that were taken
in Prague. Since so many hums were put forth during the IETF 68
meeting, we plan to send multiple messages to the working group
mailing list seeking ratification of the proposals.
Because of what happened in Prague, the chairs want to make very
sure that the subsequent consensus calls are very open and
non-coercive. We ask all working group participants to please pay
close attention to these calls and respond appropriately.
The first of these messages will be sent shortly.
The geopriv co-chairs:
Geopriv mailing list
Ietf mailing list
Ietf mailing list