appeal mechanisms was Re: Ombuds-process

Keith Moore moore at
Mon Jun 30 12:06:52 CEST 2003

] People  seem to  have trouble  remembering just  what the  problem  with the
] appeals process is,  although this was discussed extensively  on this list a
] month or so ago. 
] An  AD  may decide  to  derail  a document  by  explicitly  rejecting it  on
] non-objective grounds.  Or, more likely, the AD may derail it by delaying it
] indefinitely;   John  Klensin  gave   a  very   lucid  description   of  the
] "hypothetical" process  which an  AD could use  to ensure that  the document
] never gets published, even though it never really gets rejected.)  

Let's take these two cases separately.  First, to some degree engineering 
judgement is and must be subjective, so it may be perfectly valid for an AD
to reject a document on such grounds.  However since the reasons for 
objection are made explicit, they can be the subject of an appeal - the
appellant can assert that the AD made a technical error in his subjective
judgement, and the IAB can agree or disagree as it sees fit.

As for the second case, it can be difficult to distinguish between a case
where an AD is trying to get a document fixed before putting it to the entire
IESG for review, and the case where an AD is trying to delay the document
indefinitely; d different observers might come to different conclusions.  
For a while it has at least been recommended that WG chairs CC the IESG
secretary when submitting a document for approval by IESG; this at least
makes it visible that the document is waiting for review by an AD.  I don't
see any reason to not make this a formal requirement.  The one thing we
cannot do is require an AD to approve a document merely because the WG
submitted it.  It may be that we need another means by which a WG can get
their documents reviewed by the entire IESG, so that the lone AD cannot 
hold things up forever.

But whenever a WG submits a docuent that the WG's AD doesn't like, in most
cases this is because the WG has failed to get broad consensus on a document.
And IMHO that's a much bigger problem than the potential deadlock at AD review.

] Unless there is an explicit process violation, there is no effective appeals
] mechanism to remedy this situation.  

Well, the appellant could in some cases claim that the AD made a technical

But I object to the use of the word "derail" as it presumes a right to
publication which doesn't (and shouldn't) exist. 

] Given that  the IETF is ostensibly  set up as a  meritocracy, its legitimacy
] depends on  the application of  objective criteria for decision  making, but
] there is no effective way to audit the IESG to ensure that they don't try to
] impose their own personal visions and/or political agendas.  

To some degree engineering judgement is and must be subjective.

] It is unfortunate that most of the messages on this list seem to be from the
] "old boys" themselves, who of course  take umbrage any time someone tries to
] point out a real problem. 

so when you can't support your arguments, inovke ad hominem attacks (in
advance) against those who point out their flaws.  that way, you don't 
even have to know what the arguments are to discredit them.


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