Section 2.4 of draft-ietf-problem-statement-00.txt

Keith Moore moore at
Fri Feb 28 18:36:11 CET 2003

> >The above phrase is a judgement call by saying "too few".
> Absolutely. It is the judgement of many folks that the limited number 
> of people in power is a root cause of the problems we are seeing. I 
> think this is a fair characterization of that view. 

change 'judgement' to 'belief' and I'd probably agree with you.
however I do not think it's reasonable for this document to claim,
without examination or support, that this 'belief' has any validity.

> >     Authority in the IETF is explicitly concentrated in the hands
> >     of the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) rather
> >     than being delegated.
> That's not a problem statement. Lots of organizations are 
> successfully run without delegation of power. The problem (as some 
> people see it) is that there isn't enough delegation here, i.e., 
> there are too few people doing the work and holding the power.

as you indicate, this is a belief, not an observation.  I think we would do
well to separate observations from beliefs. 

> >     Although the appeal process has been exercised a number of
> >     times, there has never been a member recall, so in practice
> >     Area Directors are rarely sanctioned.
> Again, that's not a problem statement. The problem is insufficient 
> accountability. 

another belief.  is there any evidence of this?  for that matter, is there any
reason to believe that increasing the accountability of ADs is going to
improve the quality of either WG or IETF output?

> I think trying to find "objective evidence" is quickly going to get 
> into serious finger pointing. I think it should suffice that there 
> are a bunch of people who have a reasonable amount of anecdotal 
> evidence.

I'm not sure what anecdotal evidence is, particularly when many people seem
to have difficultiy distinguishing between observations and beliefs. 
Especially when they're frustrated.  I agree with you that trying to find
objective evidence might be a rathole, but let's label beliefs as such and try
to remember that what is actually going on may be different, or at least more

Collecting the various beliefs and noting the contrasts between them might be
a useful exercise in itself.

> The *problem* (as some see it) is that the current process allows, 
> and has seen, long periods of good work by a WG come to an end with 
> one or two people stopping the work at the IESG level.

>From a different perspective, working groups often labor for a very long time
in nonproductive directions, producing specifications that obviously cause
problems or fail to meet essential criteria, and don't seem to be able to
accept outside input.  And then one or two people in IESG are all that keeps
IETF from blessing shoddy work. 

Even then, the work rarely gets 'stopped'.  In four years on IESG, I can't
recall a single instance where this happened.  (I can think of cases where the
work probably should have been stopped)

> Indefinitely delayed == blocked. If a document is simply temporarily 
> delayed for a short period of time, that's not a significant problem.

is there evidence of infinite delay?   the secretariat keeps stats on these
things.  several years ago we had problems with excessive delays; changes 
were then made to IESG's balloting to try to bound the amount of time that
documents could be delayed without providing feedback.  as far as I can tell
those changes were effective.

> The quality control issue is one aspect, and I agree is a different 
> thing. But this section is talking about documents being blocked 
> "without good reason being given".

which is blatently false.  ADs are not allowed to vote Discuss without
giving a reason.  of course there is the question of whether this is
a good reason, but that's what appeals are for.

> The point is that the current 
> system leaves open the possibility for abuse,

*any* system leaves open the possibility for abuse.  *any* system can be
manipulated.  no system can remove the need for sober judgement,
trust, and goodwill.

> I think it's a 
> problem enough that people perceive a problem and therefore have lost 
> faith in IESG practices.

it's a valid point that the 'perception' of a problem is harmful by itself.
we just need to be careful to distinguish perception/belief from things that
can be observed more objectively and reliably.


More information about the Problem-statement mailing list