My thoughts about the problems of the IETF

john.loughney at john.loughney at
Tue Apr 22 15:32:55 CEST 2003

Hi Keith,

> 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.  

I think that goes somewhat with the mode & style of communication,
unfortunately.  As a chair, it is sometimes difficult to know when
to judge that a conversation has gone from productive to non-productive

> 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. 

Any suggestions on how to improve 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. 

Well, that is a difficult call - I think it may call for increased rigor 
from IESG / IAB folks; some people with broader technical scope should be
involved in many of the WGs.

> 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.

This is still symptomatic of larger problems I believe.  Right now, WG chairs
/ document editors don't (usually) attend IESG conference calls, so insight
into some of the discussions are missed.  Mode of communication between
IESG & WGs is usually poor. The Draft Tracker records some comments, but
does not necessarily encourage insight in the working groups.  


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