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Re: [draft-melnikov-sieve-external-lists] 2.4 Proposed Error Handling Clarifications

2009-08-01 03:16:59

Robert, I thought a bit about whether to send this reply privately,
but decided that it's important to say it on the mailing list.  I'm
going to use "I" throughout, because I have no authorization to speak
for anyone else, but I think most of the working group participants
would agree with what I say here.

Let me start by saying that I very much appreciate the time you've put
into thoroughly reviewing the documents and thinking through the
protocols, and into the detailed responses.  I especially like it when
you've given a statement of what you want to change and why, followed
by a suggestion of specific text for the change.

I also appreciate that you've jumped in and started contributing
directly.  Of course, I don't know how long you might have been
lurking before you did that... but it's very common for people to be
"afraid" to join in, and I'm glad that you don't seem to be.

Please do not take brief responses or those that may seem somewhat
curt to be dismissive, angry, or otherwise in a "Why don't you go
away?" sort of sense.  We're all very busy, we've been discussing this
stuff for a long time, and sometimes our answers are an attempt to
blurt a response out and get back to something else, or are in
reaction to seeing something raised that we've beaten to death before.
 None of it means that we don't want and appreciate your
contributions.  Please try to assume the best intentions when you're
reading, and forgive abrupt-seeming text.

So if what I've said, in particular, has come across as snarky,
dismissive, or even outwardly nasty, please accept my apology for that
-- none of it was meant that way, and it's just a question of being
too quick, and a poor choice of wording.

While the official work of the working group, as in all of the IETF,
happens on the mailing list, that has to be put into perspective.  It
means that any decision made is reviewed and discussed here, but there
are often preliminary decisions made off-list.  Sometimes a couple of
participants will get into a side discussion on their own.  There are
the discussions in the face-to-face meetings.  All that is fine, and
the results can come to the mailing list in a number of ways: perhaps
as a summary of a discussion, perhaps as a new issue posted on its
own, perhaps as a new draft for people to review.

In the case of the Security Considerations section, for example, I
made an observation a couple of weeks ago similar to yours.  Alexey
gave me the source XML for the document and I did some editing and
rewriting, including gutting the Security Considerations section and
re-doing much of it.  That was well after the deadline for posting new
I-Ds before the meeting, and anyway, Alexey needed to review it
himself first.

The meeting in Stockholm then bashed out the URI issue -- taking your
earlier comments on that into consideration, I'll note -- and came up
with a change to propose to the list, from an idea of Jeff H's.  That
change needs to be put into draft text, which the working group can
then review here and, no doubt, tweak.

Note that the times leading up to, and during the IETF meeting weeks
are horrendously busy for many of us.  We can't have time to do
everything that needs to be done... and to give you an idea, my
calendar for the IETF week went from 9 a.m. some days and 7:30 a.m.
others, to around 10 p.m., including breakfast meetings, working
lunches, evening informal BOF sessions, and working dinners.  Almost
every session during the day had something I needed to go to, and I
often had things scheduled during the breaks -- find someone and talk
with him about something.  I had an hour and a half free on Thursday
afternoon, and that was all the free time for the week... and I even
wound up talking with a colleague during half of that period as well.

Yes, it would have been nice if we could have posted the interim I-D
candidate to the mailing list.  And yes, it would have been nice if
we'd posted a summary of the face-to-face session by, say, the next
morning, so you'd know what was discussed.  That they didn't happen
yet just speaks to how busy everyone's been.  It'll happen.

I-Ds are, by definition, "works in progress", and they're always
changing -- some more or less than others.  I, too, have had review
items that have been overtaken by events.  It doesn't mean the review
was wasted, and it doesn't mean that it wasn't wanted.  Take it as
acknowledgment that someone else also saw the same thing you did, or
something similar, and fix-ups crossed in the ether.

I'll add one more thing on timing:
Because of how the IETF meeting weeks work, and because the
high-bandwidth nature of the face-to-face discussions can result in
major changes to parts or all of a document, reviews posted to the
mailing list during the meeting week (especially late in the week) are
less likely to dovetail with the in-meeting discussion.  In contrast,
reviews posted the week before the meeting, or the week before that,
are particularly *useful*, because they can be discussed in the

It would also be great if you could participate in the in-meeting
discussions through the remote-participation facilities -- jabber and
the live audio stream.  Many participants find them to work very
well... and the IETF is starting to experiment with using in-meeting
WebEx conferencing to try to make it even better.

In sum:
I really do want your contributions, and I hope we don't annoy you too
much with how we've come to say things over time.  I think you'll
really find this to be a group that works well together, makes
progress, and respects everyone's input.


For reference:
Jabber logs...
   Sieve WG:
   Sieve at IETF 75:
Audio streams...
   Live IETF 75 (quiet now, of course):
   The stream for each session is archived somewhere, but I can't find
it just now.
Meeting materials...
   Sieve WG: (above, search for "sieve")

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