"trouble maker"

James Seng jseng at pobox.org.sg
Mon Jun 23 06:38:33 CEST 2003

> The flip side of this is the WG that just won't get it - no matter how valid
> the issues that are raised, the group brands the individual a "trouble maker"
> and refuses to do anything about them other than to try to marginalize him or
> her.  No matter how well-supported that individual's arguments are, they are
> dismissed as specious - or the group will even claim that the arguments or
> evidence have not been presented.  This is most likely to happen when the
> group sees the individual as "not one of us" - e.g. not an employee of a
> vendor of the products that the group is trying to standardize. 

This is where the "fuzziness" of "trouble maker" comes in, especially no 
one likes to be label as such. We need a careful definition.

(btw, imho, someone who provides constructive counterview is a *not* a 
trouble maker)

> So if we're going to mention the troublemaker issue in the document (and I
> agree it's a valid issue), we should mention this issue also.
> I've also seen groups get hung up for months because they couldn't make a
> decision to stop arguing.  They'll blame it on the troublemaker, but the
> troublemaker isn't the real problem - the problem is that the group isn't
> willing or able to make a decision in the presence of any controversy.
> Sometimes the right thing for a group to do is to document the controversy
> and move on.  And sometimes the right thing is to ask for wider review of a
> design decision.

But lets not forget the core principle of IETF are "running code" and 
"rough consensus". So in the event of arguments of "technical merits" vs 
"rough consensus", "rough consensus" *should* win. (Unless there are 
"technical failure" in the proposed solution.)

In other words, so long a solution 'works' and have majority support 
from the community, it wins. The existence or non-existance of any other 
'better solution' is irrelevant.

But as you said, WG chairs are in difficult position to declare "rough 
consensus" in the event of controversy (aka, "someone still complaining 
about it") especially worried over appeal. This effectively put a halt 
on the progress in many working groups. And personally, I find this is a 
serious problem which slows down IETF drastically.

-James Seng

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