My thoughts about the problems of the IETF

Jari Arkko jari.arkko at
Thu Apr 17 18:17:16 CEST 2003

Keith Moore wrote:

> 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.

I have to agree with John and Margarent: I don't think the above
statement reflects the true state of the IETF.

But I do find Keith's statement interesting. If this really were
the problem, what would be the solution? A 13 person IETF? ;-)
And a telnet-and-ftp-only Internet? I'm sure it would be consistent
and pure, but also not very useful for the general public.

Anyways, back to the constructive discussion... there may in fact be
*some* (and only some) truth in the statement. This has to do more with
the roles chairs and iesg members play, than the persons. Or rather,
some people's views of those roles. Sometimes folks view the
chairs as being the "push" persons whose job is to make
a particular technology go forward, while the iesg job is sometimes
seen as the "push back" who should make sure bad stuff doesn't get
through. In reality, we need both roles to be present at all layers.
Good WG chairs try to get their problem solved & protocols out to the
market while at the same time trying to prevent bad things from
happening. And these bad things can be either bad things at a detail
level, or bad things for the internet architecture. Likewise, ADs
are not just for catching errors. All ADs I have worked with have
actually worked very hard to get things moving & results out.
This work isn't typically quite as visible as the error-catching


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