Working group participation issue

Andy Bierman abierman at
Tue Feb 18 18:36:03 CET 2003

At 03:55 PM 2/18/2003 -0800, Ted Hardie wrote:
>        In December of last year, Fred Baker made a couple of comments on
>the working group chairs list about how management by objective principles
>might improve the operation of the IETF.  In thinking about that, I realized one
>of the issues for me was that it was very difficult to apply those principles
>past the level of WG chair or document author.  The AD,in other words, might
>be able to use them, but the working group chairs could not.  The reason for
>that difficulty, I believe, is that we have no real way of identifying who has committed
>to the work a working group has taken on.  We can easily identify chairs and document
>authors, but it gets tricky from there to know exactly who has committed to what
>part of the work.
>        I've since written a draft on this issue, found here:

I read this draft and I agree with it.  It deserves consideration
within the 'problem' WG as one way to increase accountability.
One issue I think it could help address is the 'waning interest'
problem.  Sometimes a WG (or major subset) loses interest in
a work item or a solution for a work item along the way.  
Sometimes only the authors are still interested by the time 
the work is finished.  The proposals in this draft will help
identify this situation.


>        The introduction tries to capture the issues by saying:
>     The IETF currently defines working groups by the mailing list
>    noted in the charter.  We can identify participants on the mailing
>    list; those who express opinions, submit documents, or provide
>    critiques.  The process as defined is remarkably open and it has
>    the tremendous benefit that anyone can make a comment and be
>    heard.  That openness, though, also makes it difficult to make
>    anyone other than the working group chairs and current authors
>    accountable for the working group making progress.  Making a
>    comment on a document does not, in essence, imply that you are
>    taking responsibility for the work of the working group.  That
>    ambiguity, in turn, makes it very difficult to predict how much
>    attention a work item will receive or to estimate when a work item
>    will be completed.  
>This draft has contrains a straw-being proposed solution, which is out of
>scope for this working group.  I would appreciate the working group considering,
>however, whether the basic problem is or is not one that the IETF
>should tackle at this time.
>                                regards,
>                                        Ted Hardie

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