Working group participation issue

Harald Tveit Alvestrand harald at
Wed Feb 19 08:37:33 CET 2003

I like this one.

the problems that it addresses include:

- that a WG chair can't tell how "committed" the interest shown in a WG is
- that documents can slip by a (tired) WG without really being read by 
- that we don't have a means of detecting a moribund WG (the obvious sign 
under the "stuckee" system would be that all the stuckees have unstuck)
- that participants can't tell if their help is really needed (sometimes 
today, we don't involve ourselves because we think that it's got enough 
energy without our participation... and sometimes we're wrong).

I believe either SIP or SIMPLE instituted a system of something called 
"first readers" - does anyone here know/remember/care to guess how that 
worked out in practice?


--On tirsdag, februar 18, 2003 15:55:56 -0800 Ted Hardie 
<hardie at> wrote:

> Howdy,
> 	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:
> 	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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