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Re: On the difference between scenarios A and B in Carl's report

2004-09-06 02:32:05
Just to clarify my opinion: I think that B is the desirable end
state, for the reasons Harald gives, but that A with a solemn
commitment to migrate to B is the best way to get started

Incidentally, it occurs to me that starting with A and migrating
to B doesn't exclude a further migration to C later.


Harald Tveit Alvestrand wrote:
Following up on Leslie's mail of Friday, and a number of posters (Brian, Scott, Margaret) who have said something on the order of "I think I prefer A or B, but I don't understand the difference"..... my particular perspective..... in order to avoid misunderstandings, I'll define a few terms first, as used in this memo:

- Bylaws (a bylaw?) is a document that tells how a formally constituted organization expects itself to behave.

- An MOU is a document that tells the reader how two organizations are supposed to behave in relation to each other.

- An IETF (Procedure) BCP is a document that tells the IETF how the IETF expects the IETF to behave. So it may be something like a bylaw for the IETF.

In the "Option A" scenario, we say that we have BCPs defining the function - IETF makes agreements with itself. This is necessary. We also say that it is sufficient. The key phrase from the report:

  o  The responsibilities that the IETF Administrative Director
     would have with respect to IETF activities would be
     determined by standard IETF processes (BCPs, RFCs, etc.)

These BCPs are the IETF's expectations on IETF behaviour. They cannot constrain the behaviour of ISOC, unless ISOC makes an explict commitment by Board resolution to do so, as it has done for its roles in the standards process, the Nomcom process and IPR issues.

ISOC's behaviour continues to be governed by the ISOC bylaws and articles of incorporation (published as RFC 2134 and RFC 2135), as subsequently modified by ISOC. (current ISOC bylaws are at <>) (note - RFC 2031 describes the ISOC-IETF relationship, as it was understood at the time. This document is not an MoU.)

In the "Option B" scenario, we say that this is not sufficient to give the transparency, clarity and stability of relationship that we desire. In addition to what ISOC's bylaws and board resolutions say now, we want commitments of ISOC.

This commitment can take several forms, some of which are mentioned as mechanisms in the consultant report:

- Declarations in the form of changes to ISOC bylaws to enshrine ISOC's commitment to the IETF support function (Mechanism 1)

- Promises from ISOC to the IETF community in the form of an MoU between ISOC and the IETF (Mechanism 5)

- Changes to the ISOC governance structure so that it is more likely that any potential conflict will be detected early, and that action will be taken to fix it in a manner that is satisfactory to the IETF (mechanisms 2, 3, 4, 6, 7)

I, personally, think that if we want a stable, long term relationship, something more than the "Scenario A" status quo is necessary. I have great trust in the commitment to IETF of Lynn as President and Fred as Chairman of the Board. But ISOC has had 2 Presidents and several Chairmen of the Board while I have been watching. Enshrining the prinicples that Lynn and Fred are supporting in text that will endure beyond their tenure seems appropriate to me.


PS: This note is NOT a statement of opinion about the relative merit of scenarios A, B, C and D.
It is only about scenarios A and B.

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