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Re: Confirming vs. second-guessing

2008-03-16 18:51:26
I know that when 3777 was being written, the question of what the 
confirming bodies should do was discussed.  No clear answer was available.
However, my perception of what happened included rulting out two 
possible answers:
1) The confirming bodies are not supposed to be a rubber stamp.  They 
are supposed to apply judgment, and actually review the nominations 
(including, but not limited to, the process.)
2) Equally, the confirming bodies are not supposed to repeat the 
nominating committees activities.  Whatever the confirmation is, it is 
NOT asking "is this the answer the confirming body would come up with."

There is a line to be walked balancing the various interests.
I am aware that by the nature of this process, those of us outside do 
not have enough information to really judge what has happened. 
Unfortunately, it is those of us outside who have to decide if the 
current rules work, or if different rules should be applied.

Mike, whatever your personal opinion, based on the public information 
many people have concluded in good faith that something went wrong. 
Asserting that the problems are FUD does not help anyone resolve this.

At the same time, for all the concerns (some of which I share) it is 
quite clear to me that the IAB was acting in good faith.  They were 
trying their best to do what we had asked, namely to perform meaningful 
review of the slate they were handed.

I have my doubts about the utility of actually re-opening 3777.  For one 
thing, I don't actually think we are in a better position to actually 
write a definition of the confirmation process.  And while I would like 
to make candidate names public at a suitable point in the process, I 
lost that argument last time and do not see that much has changed to 
justify re-opening it.  (We usually insist that folks can not revisit a 
WG decision without an indication of change.)

On the other hand, making clear what parts of the questionnaire may be 
shared with the confirming bodies seems like a very good idea.  I know 
that I would have been very surprised if someone said that the IAB was 
going to see the questionnaires in full.  While I have heard the 
argument that the nomcom can extend the confidentiality umbrella as far 
as they want, it seems to me that extending it that far would be a mistake.

Joel M. Halpern

Michael StJohns wrote:
At 07:18 PM 3/16/2008, Dave Crocker wrote:

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 
is it the job of a reviewing body to the work was done diligently and 

I think you're missing a "decide if" before "the work" in the second line?

I think this is kind of a slanted (sorry) statement of the problem. I'd put 
it more like:

"Is it the job of the reviewing body to make an independent decision on the 
candidates suitability, or is it the only job of the reviewing body to 
protect the process irrespective of the actual nominations?"

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".

The Nomcom has to winnow through a pile of candidates, discussion, gathering 
information, discarding and ultimately selecting the one person (or for IAB 
group of persons) that it is recommending for selection. That takes lots of 
time and effort.  

Taking the information which applies only to those candidates, reviewing it, 
and making a decision, hopefully takes less time given the appropriate 

Put another way, the Nomcom is a search committee, but the hiring authority 
resides in the confirming bodies.

If they are not replicating the decision process, they are doing something 

The rest of this message is sort of ignoring the whole "winnowing" process 
done by the Nomcom.  The CBs don't repeat that, they can only act on the 
candidates provided to them.  The CBs provide a check and balance, not the 
original research.

Since I mostly don't agree with the premise the reviewing bodies are 
"repeating" the Nomcom's job if they consider candidates qualifications, I 
don't really have comments on the rest of the message.

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.


And on this we agree. 


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