Trusting the IESG to manage the reform process (was:Re:DoingtheRight Things?)

James Kempf kempf at
Mon Jun 9 09:47:24 CEST 2003


> that is not the problem i see day to day.  what i see is chairs not
> wanting to take a stand against weak documents, ersatz populism
> being easier, and preferring to let it through to ietf last call
> and iesg, letting the iesg take the heat.

Putting on my WG chair hat, it is not so simple. WG chairs are
essentially middle management, and they have all the problems
associated with responsibility without authority that middle
management has. In my experience, a WG chair that tries to make a
technical argument about a document is viewed as being "just another
WG member". WG members with different opinions feel they can endlessly
quibble with the chair, go to the AD and complain that the chair is
being "uncooperative and blocking WG concensus", etc., if the chair
says that they won't release the document to the IESG. If the WG
member couches their opposition in terms of what the AD says or the
IESG may say, the resistence evaporates, because the IESG has the
ultimate authority to block the document. WG chairs only authority is
to hire and fire WG document editors, call concensus, and prune the
mailing list of people who are really disruptive (at the cost of a
long email exchange beforehand to warn the person). They of course
control the agenda at meetings, but they need to be careful to be
evenhanded here, or risk being accused of bias.

If you think that WG chairs should have the authority to block
documents, then it needs to be explicitly written into RFC 2418bis.


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