time-to-approve etc. [Re: Trusting the IESG to manage thereform process (was:Re:Doingthe Right Things?)] (fwd)

Pekka Savola pekkas at netcore.fi
Mon Jun 9 18:08:50 CEST 2003


This was my off-list response [slightly edited afterwards] to Margaret's
comment.  It made me think of a few more other things, which may be
something people might want to comment on.

Pekka Savola                 "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy                    kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 9 Jun 2003 16:34:53 +0300 (EEST)
From: Pekka Savola <pekkas at netcore.fi>
To: Margaret Wasserman <mrw at windriver.com>
Subject: Re: time-to-approve etc. [Re: Trusting the IESG to manage the 
    reform process (was:Re:Doingthe Right Things?)]

On Mon, 9 Jun 2003, Margaret Wasserman wrote:
> At 03:06 PM 6/9/2003 +0300, you wrote:
> >So, my perception is that the most time-consuming thing after submission
> >to the IESG appears to be resolving issues raised by IESG; I hope nobody
> >sees this delay as a problem of IESG :-).
> In most cases, I agree that this isn't an IESG problem...
> However, it is true that cryptic or poorly understood issues can
> take a long time to resolve.  So, if it takes a significant amount
> of time for the WG or authors to understand the IESG's issues,
> that may be the fault of the IESG.

Yes, this is also true, to some extent.  Depending on the responsiveness
of the person communicating with the editors, the feedback cycle could be
much longer than if the comments were worded so carefully that the
problems are understood by the editors (or at least somebody :-).

This is often a very difficult thing to do: not because comments are 
worded improperly, too short to understand etc., but because the issue 
can be looked at from different angles (e.g. an implementer might not 
understand operational person speaking, or a prototype designer someone 
worrying about security considerations, etc.).

I've noted that it may cause three different kinds of responses:
 1) "We don't think this is a problem"
 2) "We don't think this is a major concern [or they may not understand it
correctly], but we'll add some text to clarify"
 3) "I see the point, thanks for catching it, we'll rework the document" 
The most dangerous option is 2): there is a disconnect in
communication/understanding, but the editorial team is willing to make
some "surface" changes to satisfy a "whim" of IESG.  In this case, it
takes a lot of energy from the communicating person to see whether the
issue was addressed *properly* or just on the surface -- and be pain in
the ass if not properly.

In case 1) you really have to do some more explaining anyway, and 3) is 
optimal as the people seem to get the point raised and rework the document 

> I also believe that the feedback from the IESG could be offered
> more openly (perhaps by mailing it to the pertinent WG?) which
> would allow the WG to put pressure on the chairs and authors to
> correct the problems.  Right now, it can appear to a WG that a
> document has "disappeared" in the IESG, when actually it is
> waiting for updates from the authors.

I agree: I can personally testify that the working groups want to know
:-).  It isn't useful to keep WG chairs uselessly as middlemen here
(happens way too much already IMHO).

Two issues come to mind:
 1) the person reporting the issues is often not subscribed to the mailing 
list.  Many lists forbid outside postings, or make them wait in a queue 
(with no assurance when it'll be processed).  It may be more practical to 
be in touch with persons-in-charge.

 2) it may be more "politically correct" to approach chairs/editors first,
e.g. if the comments were highly negative, OR if the commenting person
wants to clarify some issues (ie. to gauge whether they are issues or
not); also, the bar to participation which does not include public
exchange of raw thoughts may be lower for some than for others.

.. but having a trigger which notifies about the state change in a
tracking tool email the WG mailing list directly (but without possibly the
comments itself) might help in getting folks feel a bit more confortable
about the document status..

Pekka Savola                 "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy                    kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings

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