My thoughts about the problems of the IETF

Keith Moore moore at
Thu Apr 17 10:38:41 CEST 2003

> > it's very clear that WGs in general and WG chairs in particular already
> > have too much power - this is why IESG is under such a strain to try to
> > curb their excesses.  It's 13 people against the mobs.
> Maybe you and I attend different working groups, but I have yet to see a WG
> chair having too much power. I see problems of WG chairs not enforcing
> discipline on working groups, I see breakdown in communication between
> ADs and WG chairs ... but I am really confused by your statement above.
> Do you have examples of such behavior?

Different sets of concern.  Yes, I'd agree that WG chairs could use more power
to enforce discipline - one of our worst problems is with WGs that rely
entirely on a completely unstructured and unbounded discussion to review
documents that need to have every detail attended to in finite time.  But I've
also seen WG chairs that abuse their power to push through their (employer's)
agenda, and I'm pretty fed up with that. Mainly what I'm concerned with is
giving WGs even more power to break things outside of their narrow scopes -
there's far too much of that going on. 

As for the breakdown in communication between ADs and WG chairs, I can think
of several reasons for this.  One is that the WG chair typically has very
little insight/visibility into the IESG process, so the WG chair naturally
blames either the AD or the IESG for the delays.  Another is that the AD and
WG chair live in completely different worlds.  The AD deals with the full
breadth of what is happening in the IETF, the WG chair is narrowly focused on
that group's work (these days, the WG chair often has a similar focus in his
day job).  There's can be so little overlap between these two that they can
almost speak different languages.  That, and because the document can't even
get to IESG until the sponsoring AD reviews it and approves of it, even a
little bit of communication breakdown can cause months of delay.

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