Staying on Track (Re: Documenting pilots (RE: pausable explanation for the Document Series))

Harald Tveit Alvestrand harald at
Sat Jun 7 17:19:38 CEST 2003

--On lørdag, juni 07, 2003 10:01:34 -0400 John C Klensin 
<john-ietf at> wrote:

> As I hope my recent notes make clear, I'm not in favor of trying to
> invent procedures to alleviate any of the above, or of delaying things
> until such procedures reach some extraordinary consensus.  But I'd be
> much happier about the idea --even as an experiment-- had the IESG been
> willing to stand up and say "fascinating idea, lets try it".

Full disclosure: I said "fascinating idea, let's try it". Or the semantic 
equivalent thereof.
I thought at the time, and still think, that the IESG doesn't have to give 
blessing to this experiment - so I spoke only as myself.

> And it
> would have been even better, at least from an "experimental" context, had
> the IESG chosen to say "It would be good to really do this as an
> experiment and therefore to be able to make some comparisons. So let's
> look at the following mix of areas, or specific groups of WGs, first,
> leave the others with status quo, and see how things work out.

Given the variability between areas that Eric Rescorla's numbers showed up, 
and the variability between groups, I think this is difficult to do.
I'd be very interested in seeing someone propose metrics to measure whether 
or not the experiment succeeded.
But I don't really see why the IESG should be the one doing that.

> I'm disappointed that type of response from the IESG hasn't happened.
> Maybe they don't think they have been asked.   And the latter is, of
> course, what my recent notes have been about: if we need a formal
> document and request to publish it as an RFC and/or a formal WG call for
> consensus and response, in order to get an IESG response to a "we think
> this would be worth trying, do you have reactions or
> suggestions/requirements about how to try it", then, IMO, we are in deep
> trouble.    But, going ahead with something on the grounds that it is an
> experiment, without objective evaluation criteria or any real possibility
> of them, and without IESG comment, input, or participation...  That seems
> to me to be an opportunity for some future demagogue, with some other
> experiment, to try something, claim it succeeded, and then insist
> --loudly and by whispering campaign-- it was a success and that IESG
> failure to immediately adopt it indicates that all of those rascals
> should be thrown out and the procedural structure blown up (and replaced
> with one of the demagogue's liking) to mark their way.


*Someone* needs to do quality control and measurement on experiments.
But .... the IESG has other jobs. Our standard-and-often-recommended 
practice when asked to do something is to figure out who to ask to do it.

Who should be asked in this case, and who should do the asking?


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