unsure how the confirming body confirms the candidate without also being
apprised of this information.
This seems to go to the heart of a long-standing dilemma in the IETF:
Is it the job of a reviewing body to pre-empt lengthy and diligent work or
is it the job of a reviewing body to the work was done diligently and
These are very different jobs.
Whether Nomcom or a working group, a decision process over a long period of
represents extensive research, deliberation, and balancing among trade-offs.
This is something that simply cannot be replicated by another person or body
spending a few days or even weeks on "review".
If they are not replicating the decision process, they are doing something else.
What should it be?
If a reviewing body that is doing no original research and is working over a
very brief period can legitimately second-guess the protracted effort of a
working group or a Nomcom, then why bother with the first group? It would be
dramatically easier and faster to simply have the "reviewing" bodies make all
the choices in the first place.
The necessary difference, here, is between reviewing that a primary body did
work competently, versus re-doing the underlying work.
Certainly we want the review process to be substantive. That is, meaningful.
So what questions should it be asking? It's easy to go through some pro forma
material to establish that the primary group really was diligent. Fine. But
what about going to deeper issues?
Perhaps a review of the primary group's competence requires going to all the
source material? Why? that really reduces the primary group to merely
assembling source data. Is that what we want? Probably not.
What if the reviewing body believes it has essential data that might have been
missed or considered inadequately? Now we essentially go to the possibility
that the reviewing body really does its own source of research information or
insight to it. After all, the reviewing body comprises knowledgeable folk.
It seems to me that that extra insight should serve to ask the primary group to
explain how it considered the special issues. In fact, that kind of dialogue
can be a very good way to establish the substance of the primary group's
Primary groups tend to be defensive about this dialogue and reviewing bodies
tend to be indelicate and/or vague when asking these questions. And the
exchange adds delay, but I think that these are the price of having meaningful
review. Just as the primary group's effort needs to be respected, so does the
As long as we have no consensus about the nature of the job to be done by a
reviewing body, we are going to suffer with its thinking can can reasonably
second-guess primary bodies.
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