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Re: More and more virtual interims

2017-07-19 16:10:19

--On Wednesday, July 19, 2017 22:07 +0200 Yoav Nir
<ynir(_dot_)ietf(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com> wrote:

Hi, John.

I agree that over-emphasizing virtual interim meetings has its
drawbacks, but I'd like to push back on your first point.

On 19 Jul 2017, at 21:15, John C Klensin <john-ietf(_at_)jck(_dot_)com>

During the plenary, there was a strong pitch made for a
significantly increased number of virtual meetings, maybe even
every few weeks..  I want to play devil's advocate and point
out the downsides:

(1) We have usually thought that the IETF is at its best when
the vast majority of participants are designers, implementers,
and people with primary product responsibility rather than, at
the other extreme, professional standardizers.  For at least
some organizations, having to commit regular blocks of time
(or very long blocks of time) to specific standards work will
trigger the same sorts of "are those people too valuable to do
this or can we commit fewer or less valuable people" reviews
that are sometimes triggered by meetings in resorts or other
exotic and/or other places that are perceived as exceptionally
expensive or attractive to tourists.

Note that this is about virtual interim meetings, or as
non-IETF people call them - conference calls. Blocking out one
or two hours every two to three weeks is not that big a deal
to employers. There is no travel approval, no flight, no
hotel, no several day absence, no expense report. It's a
phone call (or Webex or some kind of WebRTC thing). This is
nothing compared to a F2F meeting, where I'm gone for 5 days
and have probably spent a total of one more day on all the
stuff around that.

Absolutely, but only up to a point.  Having been on both sides
of the approval process, if someone is going to do a phone call
every once in a while, it is, as you say, just a phone call.
Depending on the organization and particular roles, if it is
going to be a regular hour or two commitment every couple of
weeks, that may starts to be another issue, even though there
is, as you point out, no travel approval, flights, hotels, etc.
For just the latter reasons, if an interim meeting is needed,
there is absolutely no question that a virtual one is going to
mean less organizational stress, etc., than a physical one.

FWIW, I also believe that, as we get better at interim meetings,
conference calls, etc., we should be able to consider cutting
back week-long f2f meetings to maybe two per year rather than
three, with the advantages again being the ones you cite.

Your points about cross-fertilization and English stand, but a
virtual interim is a far cheaper way (for all participants and
their employers) to get a 1- or 2-hour slot for a WG meeting.

Agreed.  What I'm trying to push on a bit is the assumption that
I thought I heard during the plenary, i.e., that interim
meetings, in quantity, should be encouraged as a better way to
do work than email and occasional "everyone gets together" IETF
plenaries.  It is, to me, a matter of finding and keeping the
right balance, rather than going overboard on any one approach.


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