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Re: On the confidentiality of the information and communication within the nomcom context

2008-03-17 15:56:47
I have been a bit under the weather and responding to some of the 
emails.  I hope to catch up in the next couple of days.

On 3/16/2008 1:56 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
Hi Lakshimnath, just a few notes and queries...

On 2008-03-16 16:10, Lakshminath Dondeti wrote:
* Nominee lists should be made public.  In fact, other selection 
processes within the IETF make the candidate lists public and so it is 
time we let go of this in the nomcom context.  The case against is 
fairly weak at this point in time.

As I recall, this was discussed extensively before 3777 (and before
2727) and opinions were so evenly split that the only possible
conclusion was "no consensus for change". So we'll need to see if
opinions have changed...

(My opinion: on the occasions when I was a candidate, I would
have had no problem with it being made public. But the tricky part
is at what stage the list of candidates is considered stable
enough to be published.)

As Ole noted, we have crossed this bridge in some cases within the IETF 
already.  I understand Melinda's concern about the whole process 
beginning to look like elections, but I think this would be for the 
better.  We can keep everything else pretty much the same, publish the 
nominees lists and take away the complexity within the feedback 
collection process.  The positive side effects (in fact, these would be 
my goals) are that we will get more nominees and more feedback, on balance.

As it stands now, we make the lists pretty much public (by casting a 
wide net as the current nomcom has done and as some of the past nomcoms 
have done), but they are not public until after the nominations are 
closed.  There are also a few people who want the list of nominees for 
one or more areas and we say no, for obvious reasons.

* Nominees are required to publish a statement for public consumption; 
in fact, I would go further and require making some of the information 
that normally goes into a typical questionnaire response public.

I think that depends completely on the previous point.


* The nomcom in the course of its operation may collect any type of 
information and all that is for nomcom's eyes only.  The nomcom shall 
only provide testimony to the confirmation body based on that information.

* Members of the community may contact any nomcom member and ask to 
anonymize their feedback; nominees cannot provide anonymous feedback on 
other nominees for the same position.

* Non voting members may share and assert the opinions of the bodies 
they represent, at will.  All personal opinions shall be shared on a 
pull-basis, initiated by the voting members or the chair.

* The nomcom chair should not share personal opinions on candidates.  It 

To be clear, do you mean the chair should not share his or her
personal opinions?

Yeah.  I am ok with leaving this to the chair though, if that is better.

is advisable to not share opinions even on a pull-basis.
The chair's role is to ensure that the nomcom voting members consider 
all opinions from the community.

* The confirmation bodies shall not receive any verbatim information 
pertaining to the nomcom (either information collected by the nomcom or 
generated during the nomcom process).

I think that's a pointless restriction. In fact I would see a positive
benefit in the nomcom's "testimony" including extracts from community
feedback. There's no point in forcing the nomcom to perform an
exercise in paraphrase. (Any such extracts should be anonymous,
of course.)

My worry is that verbatim text may leak information about who provided 
them.  Some of us have unique styles in writing.  Anyway, that's my opinion.

* The confirmation bodies are to be provided testimony on the selection 
of each candidate.  The testimony shall include the nature of 
information collection and the debates; it may include a summary of 
feedback and a characterization of the the strength of support for the 
candidate within the community and the nomcom.

* Confirmation bodies may base their decision on information not 
available to the nomcom.  They are encouraged to share information on 
nominees with the nomcom and contribute to the timely completion of the 
nomcom process.

* Confirmation bodies must inform the nomcom of their decision within 4 
weeks of receipt of the first communication from the nomcom with the 
names of the candidates and the mandatory information to be included in 
the testimony.  If there is no response, the candidates are assumed to 
be confirmed.

The rules currently say
"The completion of the process of confirming the candidates is due
 within 1 month."
I can see an advantage in making that more precise, as you suggest.
But I don't like the default exit - if a confirming body doesn't
respond, I believe that should trigger a rather uncomfortable blowback
towards the confirming body. Otherwise we are setting them up to
abstain when there is a contentious case.

The current text on interim appointments says this:  "Third, the 
confirming body has two weeks from the day it is
       notified of a candidate to reject the candidate, otherwise the
       candidate is assumed to have been confirmed."



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