On Jul 25, 2010, at 5:36 AM, John Levine wrote:
Some people have argued that it should be possible to participate
in some or all IETF processes while remaining partly or completely
anonymous. Is this a reasonable expectation?
No. Anonymous or pseudonymous contributions would allow a scumbag
patent troll to inject ideas into a standard for which s/he held
an undisclosed patent. I don't see how we can draw a line between
that and other types of contribution.
To tease this out a little more, the IETF makes no effort to verify
the identities of people who join or send mail to mailing lists,
Permit me to nitpick... :-)
We don't require that they provide a name for a mailing list, or that it be a
"right" name. But we do in effect verify the email address they use, and we do
force them to post from that email address. Someone could come up with an email
address per working group ("donald(_dot_)duck+dispatch(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com")
for the price of a little typing, and some do create "special addresses" for
IETF use (example: Ralph Droms is rdroms(_at_)cisco(_dot_)com or
rdroms(_dot_)ietf(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com, the latter being for IETF use). In the
sense that an email address is in fact used by an identifiable person, it is an
identity that is verified in the process of joining a list.
we expect that people who physically attend IETF meetings register
under their real names and sign the attendance sheets in sessions. As
far as I know, no RFC (other than perhaps April 1) has an author using
a pseudonym, but is that policy, or just the way it happens to have
There is certainly some difference here, since the mailing lists and
RFCs are immediately available to the world, while the attendance info
is not, but we seem to have different policies in practice.
detail, but it needs to deal with the reality that in some contexts we
require people to provide PII, while in others it is conventional but
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