comments on problem-issue-statement-02

Pekka Savola pekkas at
Mon Aug 11 15:39:24 CEST 2003


Below are a few comments I scribbled up when reading the problem statement
draft.  I didn't go at it in a lot detail, though.  In general, I think
the document is in a pretty good condition.  I've about 3 more substantial 
issues some of which may be worth discussing, and a few more editorial 
ones.  All of them should be easily fixable.



==> general note: there are a few words used in the document that break at
least one principle we've found out, that is, not friendly for non-native
speakers.  At least "stratification", "exacerbate", "cross-pollinating",
"ossification", and "Shibboleth".  Personally I've pretty good idea of 
these, but I always flinch when I see too fancy words used, and I think at 
least these are a symptom of that :-)


   o  The IETF needs to avoid focusing on a too-narrow scope of
      technology because this would be likely to blinker the IETF's view
      of 'the good of the Internet', and will harm the long-term goal of
      making the Internet useful to the greatest number stakeholders;
      this argues for allowing a relatively wide range of topics to be
      worked on in the IETF - cross-fertilization has always been one of
      the IETF's strengths.

==> I think the two-three last lines miss the point completely, or I have 
an entirely different view of "cross-fertilization".  I do not think 
cross-fertilization automatically happens if we allow a wide range of 
topics to be worked at here.  Rather, it will only happen if people have 
the will and the energy to spend looking at and helping the other working 
groups by implanting clue there.

How should this text be edited?  Good question, either it can be fixed up 
slightly or revised at more length.  Thoughts?


2.6.6 Concentration of Influence in Too Few Hands
   Until the last couple of years, successive IETF Nominating Committees
   have chosen to give heavy weighting to continuity of IESG and IAB
   membership. Thus, the IETF appeared to have created an affinity group
   system which tended to re-select the same leaders from a limited pool
   of people who had proved competent and committed in the past.

==> I think there is a potential issue in how the NOMCOM goes about it's 
business (the approach has obvious advantages too, of course).  That is, 
providing feedback to NOMCOM is very difficult except about current IESG 
members (whose performance is more or less visiable and known after 2 
years, and who usually agree to continue to serve if necessary), and some 
outstanding new candidates.  People might have a *lot* of feedback to give 
about non-IESG candidates if it was known that those persons have agreed 
to become nominated.  

That way, it may be very difficult to get on at the same level of feedback
than the current members, and it seems to me that if the current members
are willing to continue and haven't done a bad job of it, the process also 
favors their re-instalment pretty well.

But this is both a bug and a feature..


   o  Working Groups can potentially be hijacked by sectional interests
      to the detriment of the IETF's mission.

==> I'm not sure what this point is trying to say, in particular regarding
"sectional interests".  That there are a number of separate, tightly
focused interest groups who are only pushing their own agenda (and e.g.
obtaining rough consensus in WGs by room packing) and not advancing the
IETF mission? Re-phrase?

   o  Lack of an explicit feed forward path to drive the improvement of
      the standards development process and success criteria over time
      and to avoid repetition of failures that may occur.

==> what is "an explicit _feed_ forward path"  I've no idea...

Normative References
   [1]  Huston, G. and M. Rose, "A Proposal to Improve IETF
        Productivity", draft-huston-ietf-pact-00 (work in progress),
        October 2002.
   [2]  Blanchet, M., "Suggestions to Streamline the IETF Process",
        draft-blanchet-evolutionizeietf-suggestions-00 (work in
        progress), November 2002.
   [3]  Hardie, T., "Working Groups and their Stuckees",
        draft-hardie-wg-stuckees-00 (work in progress), February 2003.

==> all of these should probably be informative references, as this 
document couldn't be published without them getting published otherwise..

   [4]  Huitema, C. and P. Gross, "The Internet Standards Process --
        Revision 2", RFC 1602, March 1994.

==> this should be updated to point to RFC2026? :-)


   o  The sub-section of Section 2.6 dealing with Formal Reconition has
      been moved to Section 2.5.

==> s/Reco/Recog/

      preparation of WG chairs and ADs for conflict resoution is noted.
==> s/reso/resol/

   o  The IETF is unsure who its stakeholders are, and consequently has
      managed to drive certain groups of stakeholder, who would

==> s/stakeholder/stakeholders/

  o  Lack of metrics to measure the achievement of the desired quality
      and the performance of WGs and the wider IETF..

==> s/.././

   o  The IETF does not posess effective formal mechanisms for inter-WG
      cooperation or communication.

==> s/posess/possess/ ?

      that subsequent modifications will be minimal as it progresses to
      DS and FS, assuming effort can be found to create the necessary
      applicability and interoperability reports that are needed..

==> s/.././

 Note: Using
   Leadership positions as rewards for good work would probably be
   damaging to the IETF.

==> s/L/l/, maybe even s/U/u/ ?

   o  Effectively providing technical management, people-management and
      project supervision for their WGs

==> s/people-management/people management/ ?

   o  Recruiting shrinkage: The number of people who can imagine taking
      on an IESG post is steadily decreasing.  It is largely limited to
      people who work for large companies who can afford to second IESG
      members to the IETF for the duration of their appointments.

==> use some other word than "second", like "support" (and other 
rewording), the intent is not clear.

   Delay in authorizing a BOF  or chartering a new WG can delay the
   start of the process with similar effects.

==> s/BOF /BOF/ (remove extra space)

  'advising' or 'process' chair to work with an enthusiatic newcomer in
==> s/tic/stic/

   The IETF culture of openess also tends to tolerate participants, who,

Pekka Savola                 "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy                    kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings

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