appeal mechanisms was Re: Ombuds-process

Joel M. Halpern joel at
Sun Jun 29 23:00:12 CEST 2003

Let us be clear on the history and purpose, and then decide which of 
several possible problems we actually have.

[This is based largely on outside observation, as I was not active in 
defining these processes at the time.]

When the current processes were being created, it was understood that there 
was plenty of room for the IESG or IAB to do things wrong, and some 
mechanism for correcting these errors was needed.
It was presumed that errors requiring this level of appeal ought to be 
rare.  Normally, WG chair errors should be discussed with the AD, and AD 
errors would be discussed with the IETF chair.  If significant errors 
requiring major action ever become common, then the basic structure is 
wrong and needs changing.
It was also presumed (and activity since has shown this to be true) that 
requests to overturn IESG action would inevitably require significant work 
from a fair number of people.  Hence, the current system simply will not 
work if such requests were common (even ignoring the fundamental 
observation in the previous paragraph.)

Hence, the appeals process was not created to make it easy to cause 
extensive review of IESG actions.  The IETF last call is the intended 
mechanism to make it easy for folks to provide useful input.  And that 
(sensibly) is before the decision.

So, my question becomes what problem do we want to solve?
Do we really want to make appeals of IESG decisions easy and common?  I 
hope not.
Is there a problem where people feel that their input has not been 
considered, and it is too hard to force the issue?  Probably.
Is the underlying problem then that people think that they are being 
ignored when in fact their input was considered?
Or is there an underlying problem of the IESG ignoring important input?   I 
hope not, but it is certainly not impossible.
Or is there a problem that the appeals process, by nature difficult, is 
simply perceived as too hard, even if it is appropriate for the job?
Or is there a problem of insufficient explanations of the decisions that do 
get made?

Joel M. Halpern

At 10:42 AM 6/30/2003 +0900, avri wrote:
>On måndag, jun 30, 2003, at 10:27 Asia/Seoul, Spencer Dawkins wrote:
>>I agree with the sentiment, but we've had at least a couple
>>of people who've posted references to appeals that were
>>filed, including appeals that resulted in overturned
>i think looking at the counter-examples will show that the folks
>brave enough and process savvy enough to file these appeals
>where not our average participants.
>yes, there is a process but it takes a lot of energy and savvy to
>use that process.
>>I'm thinking "there is no mechanism" will just generate more
>>postings of this type.
>>What about "existing mechanisms intended to aid an individual
>>in seeking to change such a result, including the appeals process
>>described in RFC 2026 section 6.5, aren't used consistently"?
>there is a process which i would argue is not a mechanism.
>and certainly not a mechanism intended to aid.
>i think it is as much a barrier to appeal as anything else.
>i certainly do not believe the existing process is a mechanism
>that aids people in making appeals.

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