objectivity vs. leadership [was Re: Cross-Area Review]

Aaron Falk falk at isi.edu
Fri Apr 25 12:13:00 CEST 2003

John C Klensin wrote:
> The problem is a bit similar to the one I think we have seen 
> with ADs sometimes becoming (or being forced to become) 
> advocates for particular documents rather than careful and 
> objective evaluators.


I find it interesting that you see this as a problem.  There are two
roles for the IESG: standard reviewers and architectural defenders.
They overlap but your comment reveals that the two roles motivate
different behaviors.  You refer to ADs as "careful and objective
evaluators."  But, I think of them also as _advocates_ of the Right
Way to engineer the Internet

We talk about having ADs as the interdisciplinary, architectural big
picture people who are protecting the Internet from Bad Ideas.  I hope
they have opinions, indeed, I expect them to.  And if I'm right, it
would be a good thing, imo, to hear about them.  I say, let these
people (IAB and IESG) express their opinions and adovocate their POV
in open fora so the community at large can a) discover their POV, b)
learn from their wisdom, and c) debate them on critical issues --
perhaps changing their minds or at least creating a community
consensus opposing an opinion (which should be respected).  If we
discover that, as a community, we don't like what they have to say, we
can replace them.  

In fact, I find the lack of participation from both IESG and IAB
members on the IETF list in general, and the IPv6 LL debate in
particular, to be somewhat disheartening.  I think their opinions on
the Internet architecture with respect to the LL issue are important
and would like to know where they stand.  

I am imagining why there are so few IESG and IAB voices in this LL
debate and can come up with a few possible reasons, all depressing:

1. They are too busy reading documents to keep up with the IETF
   list. -- Bad.

2. They feel that it is not their place to voice opinions and sway the
   debate. -- Also bad, since their opinions are supposed to be
   valuable and might drive the debate in interesting and useful
   directions.  IETF members are not shrinking violets (bug & feature)
   and will vociferously disagree with AD opinions.

3. They have made up their mind on the issue and feel the debate is a
   waste of time. -- Also bad -- the community is speaking.

Have we frightened our trusted servants to the point where they will
only express their opinions behind closed doors?  I want an IESG and
IAB with opinions that lead, teach, listen, and respond to the
community.  Reasonable, not passive, or even necessarily objective.

My rant for the day.


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