MAJOR ISSUE: "Concentration of power"

hardie at hardie at
Thu Jun 19 18:57:29 CEST 2003

Hi Avri,
	I recently wrote a draft that touches on this
(submitted today as draft-hardie-12-2-1-00.txt, but
not yet available).  The salient text is:

    The author believes that the IETF has traditionally been
     integrated in two different ways, one formal and one informal.
     The formal integration relates to the steps of the standards
     process and the precursor steps of working group formation and
     chartering.  The informal integration is an overlapping set of
     personal relationships that allows participants to identify
     skills, perspectives, or energy needed to complete the efforts
     identified in the formal processes.  During a period of rapid
     growth and a follow-on period of contraction, the second system has
     been strained to the point of failure.  Though the IETF retains a
     large pool of skilled professionals with energy and needed
     perspectives, the overlap in personal networks is now not
     sufficient to associate those with the efforts the IETF has taken
     on.  This has led to delay, lowered quality, and frustration, both
     among those whose skills and perspectives are not appropriately
     connected to salient efforts and among those whose efforts have
     stalled for lack of energy or early input by those with relevant

	In other words, I also see this in terms of personal
relationships, though I would not use the term trust network.
I think, though, that it is better than the term "class", which
is overburdened with economic ("owning class") and social
("lower class") connotations.
	I think the heart of the matter, though, is that
some significant population that wants to participate
in the IETF feels excluded.  Further, the basis of that
exclusion is such that the participant has no immediate
way of determining either the cause of the exclusion
or the method for achieving inclusion.   Whatever terms
we use, this needs to be captured as an issue.
	As a side note, my personal experience is that this is
very common as a side effect of rapid growth.  Having been part
of several start ups that went through periods of rapid hiring,
going in one case from 7 to 300 in under 18 months, this seems
familiar.  In the cases I have personally been through, the original staff
tended to go again and again to the same people for expertise or
energy, because they simply had not been able to expand their
personal relationships to the other staff in ways that made
them confident of their skill or commitment.
	This is, of course, only my personal view and others'
analysis or belief in this parallel may differ,
				Ted Hardie

At 9:26 AM +0900 6/20/03, avri wrote:
>There have been several notes in support of the thesis
>that it is not a case of  a power disparity based on class,
>e.g. membership past or present in an I* body,  but rather
>that is it based on trust networks where it is concentrated
>based on personal relationships (if i understand it correctly).
>Since this was a controversial theme, and since I have heard
>privately from many who were originally supportive of the
>class notion, I would like to hear more voices on this theme to
>determine if there is consensus on the shift from the terminology
>of class to the terminology of 'trust networks.'
>My perception, so far, has been that those within the trust networks
>see them as trust networks, while those who are not in trust
>networks tend to see them as a class, for some definition of class.
>My perception may be wrong,  and that is why I am asking for more
>people to speak on this theme.
>Also it is possible, that it is just a semantic issue, and that 'trust
>network'  is a gentler more acceptable term then 'class'.

More information about the Problem-statement mailing list