Some other subject

hardie at hardie at
Tue Jun 24 12:09:25 CEST 2003

Hi Dave,
	I've changed the subject line again, because
my comments weren't on the "trouble maker" point;
you may be right that they weren't on the point of trusting
the IESG to manage reform (though there is an odd resonance).
	Aside from this, I think you missed my point.  I
responded to Phillip Hallam-Baker's discussion of age
as a criterion for membership in "the inner circle" in order
to get back to the idea of "affinity groups" (a.k.a trust networks,
personal relationship networks, etc.) and the mesh
of such groupings in the IETF.  This was not a criticism of
Phillip; indeed, I agree that there is a very serious problem
here in integrating folks with energy and expertise into
the IETF.  I believe, however, you need to look past a
simple distinction based on age to get at how that integration
succeeds or fails.  To me, this is a critical part of getting
the problem statement here right. I also believe that the point on the
size of organizations integrated with personal networks
belongs here, and I posted the solutions space aspect of
the draft explicitly to raise that point---that the question
of the maximum size which can be integrated with a
specific mechanism may be a problem in its own right.
	I hope that clarifies things,
				Ted Hardie

At 10:39 AM -0700 6/24/03, Dave Crocker wrote:
>Please note that I've changed the Subject line, to purse the cited
>topic. This note could easily be construed as making statements about a
>particular contributor. Please avoid the inclination to interpret it
>that way. I am citing that posting in order to demonstrate some choices
>in how to evaluate an issue with making working group progress.
>hqc> At 8:30 PM -0700 6/23/03, Hallam-Baker, Phillip wrote:
>>>It would also explain the generation gap problem. The simple fact is that no
>>>matter what anyone under 40 does in the IETF they are never going to get
>>>accepted into the inner circle.
>hqc> This means that a good portion of the current IESG and IAB are not in the
>hqc> inner circle.  It certainly may be true that some of the younger folk are
>hqc> not part of the same affinity groups as some of the more experienced,
>hqc> but the mesh does include lots of folks under 40.
>This sub-thread on "Trusting" has a focus on criticizing individuals and
>re-visiting a number of topics that have been discussed at length.
>Let's ask whether there is anything constructive that is likely to
>come out of this sub-thread?  My own guess is that there is not.
>How should we evaluate this sub-thread? What should a diligent
>discussion participant do, in response to such a posting? What formal
>mechanisms can work to reduce such postings, in favor of postings that
>are more likely to be productive?
>One possibility is to attack the originator of the thread as a
>troublemaker and seek formal mechanisms for restricting their behaviors.
>There are several dangerous problems with that approach. First is that
>it keeps things personal, which is not what we are here to do, and which
>is certain to keep things uproductive -- it always does. Second is that
>the criteria for acceptable and unacceptable behavior cannot be subtle;
>they need to be as objective as we can make them. This necessitates
>their coming into effect only in the most extreme cases. Third is that
>the current formal mechanisms are expensive and distracting. Using them
>further delays making forward progress.
>So, only extremely objectionable behaviors can reasonably be restricted,
>formally. Unfortunately, that makes the formal mechanism applicable a
>long time after productive exchanges have become impractical.
>I believe that a major strength among IETF participants is also a major
>weakness, namely the desire to press for mutual understanding -- or, at
>least, convincing that one's own view is correct.  This means that we
>tend to respond more often than we need to.  (Alas, I'm speaking from
>too much expertise in committing this sin.)
>If we view this kind of sub-thread as one example of going down an
>unproductive path, then existing mechanisms are probably sufficient --
>if we become more diligent at using them.
>The two existing mechanisms that are most appropriate are a) the rest of
>us need to simply ignore the posting; don't take the bait, and b) wg
>chair management of the discussion can be invoked, in the same way as
>Melinda (correctly) just pointed out that a separate thread needed to
>be pursued elsewhere.
>  Dave Crocker <mailto:dcrocker at>
>  Brandenburg InternetWorking <>
>  Sunnyvale, CA  USA <tel:+1.408.246.8253>, <fax:+1.866.358.5301>

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