ISSUE: Procedural rapid ossification

John C Klensin john-ietf at
Fri Jun 6 17:55:33 CEST 2003

--On Friday, 06 June, 2003 15:35 -0500 Spencer Dawkins 
<spencer at> wrote:

> Dear John (Klensin),
> I look forward to the Vienna meeting with increased
> anticipation.
> Thank you for the slap across the face ("thanks, I needed
> that").
> Since you mention I-D submission deadlines specifically -
> I remember the Munich IETF, and hearing from an IAB member
> who missed the I-D cutoff by several minutes (less than 10), so
> we couldn't discuss the proposal (can't remember if it was a WG
> document or not).

Just in case I was the relevant IAB member, note that you just 
invoked two separate rules...

	(1) There is an I-D cutoff, and documents submitted
	after it are not going to get posted.
	Can the IESG make an exception to that rule if they
	consider it important enough?   That has, I believe,
	always been the case.  Should they do it very often?
	No, that would probably cause chaos and accusations of
	unfairness.  But the notion that they _cannot_ make an
	exception would be, IMO, just wrong.
	(2) Many WGs, and some areas, have adopted a rule that
	documents that weren't posted before the IETF meeting
	starts can't be discussed because there would be
	insufficient time for people to read and assimilate
	them.  Is that a good rule?  Almost always.  Can the
	relevant AD, or even the WG Chair, waive it if that is
	in the WG's best interests?  Yes, I hope so -- if that
	is impossible, we have really gotten hung up on
	procedures to the exclusion of substance.  Should an
	exception occur very often?  I personally think that
	would be a really bad idea.

And, for whatever it worth, were I an AD or WG Chair, I'd be a 
lot more sympathetic to a 10-minute-after-deadline request to 
ask the Secretariat to post a draft anyone, or to an 
hour-after-deadline request to post a link to the draft on a web 
page and notify the WG's mailing list that it is on the meeting 
agenda, than I would to someone standing up during a WG meeting 
and saying "well, I've got this draft that missed the deadline, 
and which no one has seen, but I think we should discuss it 
anyway".  The first two options preserve the principle of early 
and widely-available posting.  The "in the meeting" one would 
seem to be nonsense and abusive of the time of the WG 
participants... but there might be an exception somewhere.

> After that, I've had very high regard for the IETF's rules.
> You are suggesting that my regard might have been a little TOO
> high. An interesting thought.

Very possibly.   They are rules.  Almost all of them are useful 
rules.  They have not been chiseled into stone by a divine hand 
and I think we put ourselves at risk by pretending that they 


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