I find it quite bizarre that someone can make that particular argument and
think that it argues against transparency rather than for it.
The problem with closed processes is that they lead to unfortunate situations
of this kind.
If you have a situation where there are serious questions about the integrity
of an AD than you had better forget the technical issues entirely and discuss
those first because integrity is a lot more important that technical knowledge.
In fact I would rate technical knowledge as being third in importance at best.
Competence comes ahead of technical capability as well.
From: ietf-bounces(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org on behalf of Michael StJohns
Sent: Mon 9/15/2008 2:42 PM
To: dcrocker(_at_)bbiw(_dot_)net; IETF
Subject: Re: On being public (Was: Call for Nominees)
At 12:29 PM 9/15/2008, Dave CROCKER wrote:
Leslie Daigle wrote:
to have some cultural sophistication if we're going to ask Sue to run
against incumbent Bob openly, given that Sue's WG has documents waiting
for Bob's approval.
I hope that this observation scares folk as much as it should. The implication
that an incumbent AD is to be feared implies that ADs have far too much power.
This isn't only about AD power, it's about perception of conflict of interest.
Let's say the AD does bounce the documents, refuses to charter a WG, or refuses
to let Sue act as WG chair - mainly because the AD thinks the documents are
poorly structured, the WG is a bad idea technically, or Sue would be
incompetent as a WG chair. Sue, since she's announced her candidacy, complains
that the AD has been mean to her because she was running against him.
This might be a specious argument, but there are enough conspiracy theorists
hanging about the IETF to make the issue not about how good Sue or her products
are, but about whether or not the AD is abusing his/her power against a
political opponent. Without Sue's public candidacy, the argument would
hopefully tend to stay closer to the technical side of things. And the Nomcom
would still be able to consider whether or not there might be an AD abuse of
power without getting the political conflict of interest mix-in confusion.
Secondly, it's not really useful (to the whole system) if only some
candidates declare themselves publicly.
That's just plain wrong.
If a candidate wishes to encourage openness and encourage a broader base of
input to Nomcom, they can and should disclose their candidacy. Nomcom will
benefit from having better information, for the candidates who choose to
publicly disclose their candidacy, because more people will know that comments
on a particular candidate are needed.
No candidate need wait for other candidates to agree to this.
Contrary to your view, it is a very simple decision.
Contrary to your view it is a very complex decision.
There are a number of reasons for an all or nothing approach and where all
agree to the terms:
1) The nomcom selects (and the CB confirms) a candidate who did not make their
candidacy public. I would expect that at least a few folks (Dave!) would
complain loudly about this, even though there was no formal requirement. I
would prefer the Nomcom not feel this pressure unless all candidates were
required to submit publicly.
2) The nomcom initiates a second round of solicitations, even though a number
of candidates have made their candidacy public. The reasons for doing this
might be a desire for more candidates, a desire for better candidates, etc. It
might still end up selecting the non-public candidates, but would find it
harder to select the public ones (at least to my point of view). Also, the
amount of second guessing the Nomcom would encounter would make their
deliberations a bit more difficult.
3) A public candidate is rejected for reasons which would have probably also
disqualified the non-public candidate, but the non-public candidate is selected
because the data about this disqualification wasn't shared with the Nomcom.
4) A public candidate is selected because no one on the nomcom knew him/her,
but they got lots of "select him" emails - also from people they didn't know.
A better, but non-public candidate was considered, but not selected in the face
of the large number of emails for this one candidate. Quantity triumphs over
So its really not a fair and level playing ground. Either all should do it or
Note that there are arguments that go the other way - but most of those could
somewhat be cured by the non-public candidate making things public. I'm not
arguing that making candidacy public is the way to go - and in fact I see more
problems that not with going that way, but I am arguing that a voluntary
approach such as Pete is recommending is worse than either of the two
More importantly, it is exactly the sort of decision that can and should be
individual and has no need to wait for some magic group decision or formal IETF
policy -- a decision that we've solidly demonstrated will not get made.
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