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Re: Possible RFC 3683 PR-action

2008-03-30 21:02:12
Theodore Tso <tytso at MIT dot EDU> wrote:

A valid technical concern is easy to deal with.  If they provide an
idea, I suspect a cautious working group chair might insist on knowing
their real name and company affiliation, since there have been past
examples where companies have tried to inject patented technologies
into a standards specification.

I suppose a few personal notes might be in order regarding "company 
affiliation," since I've served as editor for both RFC 4645 and 
draft-ietf-ltru-4645bis, both products of the LTRU Working Group that 
started this thread, and both under the title "Consultant" instead of a 
company or other organizational affiliation.

There are a couple of reasons.  One is that my company, which had 
apparently been embarrassed by employees posting personal opinions on an 
industry message board in a way which made them sound like official 
company positions, instituted a set of "Internet and Electronic 
Communications Guidelines" some years ago which prohibits employees from 
"stating their [company] affiliation over the Internet" unless required 
as part of their job description.  This went way too far in my 
opinion -- stating that you work for XYZ Company is quite different from 
stating that you represent the official position of XYZ Company -- but 
it is the approved policy, it allows for termination in the event of 
violation, and we all signed it.

The other reason is that three years ago, there was an attempt by --  
surprise! -- JFC Morfin to contact the professional employer of one of 
the LTRU participants and single him out for corporate disciplinary 
action, in retaliation for his support of a PR-action against Morfin. 
Together with the "Internet and Electronic Communications Guidelines," 
this hostile and unprofessional action further convinced me that it was 
not in my best interests to disclose my employer in documents published 
on the Internet, and especially not in an RFC where the text:

D. Ewell, Ed.
XYZ Company

might present the impression, rightly or wrongly, of company sponsorship 
or representation.

Next week I start work for a new employer, and I hope they will have a 
more enlightened attitude toward employees "stating their [company] 
affiliation over the Internet" and will understand that stating one's 
affiliation in an IETF document is a matter of author identification, 
not corporate sponsorship.

In passing, I will restate that my involvement with the LTRU has always 
been individual in nature, and has never been sponsored or sanctioned by 
any commercial interest nor driven by any corporate goal, although I 
believe the work may be of value to any entity (corporate or otherwise) 
concerned with the identification of linguistic content.

Doug Ewell  *  Fullerton, California, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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