MAJOR ISSUE: "Concentration of power"

Joel M. Halpern joel at
Thu Jun 19 11:49:05 CEST 2003

I agree with both of Harald's characterizations below.
Some folks will argue that the "tend to talk more freely" covers what might 
be called the corner cases Harald refers to.  However, I think that by its 
structure this section misses the point.

If, as I suspect, the folks who have talked about the IETF operating on 
personal trust are correct, then this ('ruling class' tending to talk to 
itself) is merely a symptom.  Folks who have worked together extensively 
will tend to develop an understanding of each other, and this fosters a 
useful trust model which encourages personal communication.  I will tend to 
talk more with folks I have worked with even when I disagree with them 
because I know how to interact with them.  I think that the core issue is 
the reliance on inter-personal trust and inter-personal communication 
rather than an actual concentration of power as described.

I will also note that when the argument about reappointment of the same 
people was raised (as described in the paragraph) I reviewed the data.  It 
is quite clear that for the last 10 years the turnover rate has been quite 
reasonable and would meet any sensible statistical standard.

Joel M. Halpern

At 09:42 AM 6/19/2003 +0200, Harald Tveit Alvestrand wrote:
>[Yes, I'm posting more than my usual quota of two issues per day today.
>But I've been lax in keeping up, and I DO want the discussion on issues, 
>if any, to have a chance of converging before Vienna. But this is it for 
>[Note: This message has two issues, but they concern the same paragraph.]
>-issue- reads:
>2.5.5 Concentration of Influence in Too Few Hands
>   Until the last couple of years, successive IETF Nominating Committees
>   have chosen to give heavy weighting to continuity of IESG and IAB
>   membership. Thus, the IETF appeared to have created a 'ruling class'
>   system which tended to re-select the same leaders from a limited pool
>   of people who had proved competent and committed in the past.
>   Members of this 'ruling class' tend to talk more freely to each other
>   and former members of the 'ruling class' - this may be because the
>   'ruling class' has also come to share a cultural outlook which
>   matches the dominant ethos of the IETF. Newcomers to the organization
>   and others outside the 'ruling class' are reluctant to challenge the
>   apparent authority of the extended 'ruling class' during debates and
>   consequently influence remains concentrated in a relatively small
>   group of people.  This reluctance may also be exacerbated if
>   participants come from a different cultural background than the
>   dominant one.
>ISSUE: Yes, I have issues with this paragraph. I percieve the distinction 
>more in terms of trust networks than in terms of classes - and the trust 
>networks of most of the percieved "ruling class" described here are, as 
>far as I can percieve, rarely if ever inclusive of the whole class, are 
>quite changeable, and have lots of members who are not members of any 
>unified "class". This is related to my problem stated as "the IETF runs on 
>personal networks".
>SUGGESTED RESOLUTION: None. This appears to be a viewpoint held by others. 
>So I'll just state that I disagree.
>ISSUE: The problem identified in [WRONG] as excessive reliance on personal 
>relationships is not reflected anywhere in section 2.5. Its closest 
>relation is 2.5.5, but the focus seems different.
>[WRONG] =

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