My thoughts about the problems of the IETF

Aaron Falk falk at
Thu Apr 17 11:02:02 CEST 2003

Keith Moore wrote:
> > How can the WGs possibly have too much power? 
> they're too narrowly focused.
> > The WGs _are_ the IETF...
> no they're not.  No WG represents the IETF as a whole, and when a WG acts
> against the interests of the whole, it's not acting in IETF's behalf.


> > It is a fundamental precept of the IETF that the rough
> > consensus of the "mobs", developed in a fair and open
> > process, will produce good results.  And, all of our
> > processes and systems are built around that assumption.
> A WG will usually (not axiomatically) produce good results if you only
> consider that WG's area of interest.  The fallacy is in assuming that results
> that are optimized for a fairly narrow area of interest are good for the
> Internet as a whole.


While I generally agree with your comments, I want to point out that
it's not an so much an issue of whether the 'group' as a whole is too
narrowly focussed, but rather whether the participants -- esp. the
chair -- are too narrowly focussed.  And this is not true in all

If the chair has a broader perspective, one way to test this is for
working group chairs to poll the group for participation in other
relevant working groups.  For example, in DCCP, which I chair, we need
good coordination with AVT and ROHC and rather than add process I've
been testing the room for people who are following those groups.  This
allows me, as the chair, to nudge the right kind of cross-group


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