comments - Re: WG last call - problem description document
aconta at txc.com
Tue Nov 18 23:00:58 CET 2003
Here are a few comments regarding
"draft-ietf-problem-issue-statement-05.txt" document. They are marked
"minor" and "major".
Section titles are too long, too specific in describing a problem, which
becomes ennoying when the text in the body of the section does NOT
follow the title.
For instance, the name "The IETF Management Structure is not Matched to
the Current Size and Complexity of the IETF" of Section 2.6 does not
reflect adequately the content of all its subsections. For instance
"Procedural Blockages" subsection 2.6.3 may have little to do with a
mismatch between the size and complexity of the IETF Management structure.
A possible solution is shortening the section names, for instance:
"Participants in the IETF do not have a Common Understanding of the
"the Understanding of the IETF Mission"
"The IETF Management Structure is not Matched to the Current Size and
Complexity of the IETF"
"the IETF Management Structure"
subsection 2.6.3 is addressing "procedural blockage" at the IESG (Area
Director) level. This is not the only "procedural blockage". The
document should address the same type of problem at WG (WG Chair) level
as well. This should be done either in the same subsection, or in a new
The cause of such WG procedural blockage problem can be multiple, but
one that may be encountered in IETF, more often than it should, is when
a chair, or both chairs have vested interest in directing the work on a
certain path. This happens often when a chair or the chairs of a WG are
directly involved in writing drafts for that WG. In some WGs, the chairs
are authors or co-authors of a large number of drafts or RFCs; in such
cases, it is likely that they will favor work or drafts that are not
challenging, or are in alignment with their documents.
In many Standards Development Organizations, for limiting the cause of
such impartiality, a WG chair's role excludes participation or
authorship of drafts, and it is rather limited to moderating the WG
meetings, and driving the WG process along, according to the
organization's rules. Perhaps this is a rule that IETF should adopt.
subsection 2.6.6 "Concentration of Influence in Too Few Hands"
mentions the possible negative effect of too long continuity in IESG and
IAB memebership. However it does not mention the same negative effect in
case of too long continuity in WG chairmanship. Possible fix is
virtual, or by statute, term limits for WG chairs.
This subsection should address also the perception that the WG chair
selection is not an open process, or not as open as it should be. WG
members have in general no saying in chair selecting, or in making a
choice between several candidates.
Melinda Shore wrote:
> This is to announce the beginning of working group last call for
> "IETF Problem Statement"
> Last call closes on Monday, 24 November 2003. Please send comments to
> the mailing, and note that we're not kidding about the closing date.
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