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At 15:56 30-05-2012, The IESG wrote:
The IESG has received a request from an individual submitter to consider the following document: - 'The Tao of IETF: A Novice's Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force' <draft-hoffman-tao4677bis-15.txt> as Informational RFC
In the Introduction Section: "This will give them a warm, fuzzy feeling and enable them to make the meeting and the Working Group discussions more productive for everyone."Reading 51 pages may give people who are a bit stale a warm, fuzzy feeling. I don't think that is what newcomers seek. Reading this draft does not make the meeting or Working Group discussions more productive except for people who have been around before November, 2008.
Section 3.2.1 mentions "ISOC (Internet Society)". Didn't ISOC rebrand itself to "Internet Society"?
"The ISOC is one of the major unsung heroes of the Internet." This sounds like a line from the marketing department.According to www.ietf.org, the "Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) is an organized activity of the Internet Society (ISOC)". This draft places ISOC at the top of the hierarchy. Does that mean that ISOC runs the IETF?
In Section 3.2.2: "It administers the process according to the rules and procedures that have been ratified by the ISOC Board of Trustees."Isn't the process (and rules) documented through BCPs? Are the BCPs ratified by the ISOC Board of Trustees?
"Because of this, one of the main reasons that the IESG might block something that was produced in a WG is that the result did not really gain consensus in the IETF as a whole, that is, among all of the Working Groups in all Areas."The above does not seem correct to me. All working groups do not participate through this mailing list. This list is more of a venue for the IETF as a whole, i.e. its participants and not its Working Groups, to provide substantive comments about a draft during a Last Call. These substantive comments tends to include "+1" as it is viewed as a way for some participants to make their vote heard. The origins of the "+1" can be traced back to another community, which is unrelated to the IETF, where contributors actually vote.
In Section 3.2.3: "Approves the appointment of the IANA" Isn't IANA more of a U.S. Government decision? In Section 3.2.5: "Once an RFC is published, it is never revised." That can be debatable . In Section 3.2.7: "Few IETF participants come into contact with the IETF Trust, which is a good sign that they are quietly doing their job." This sounds more like marketing. In Section 3.3: 'People who would like to "get technical" may also join the IETF general discussion list'People who would like to get a vague idea of IETF politics may also join the IETF general discussion lists. Some of the topics discussed on that mailing list are:
- What is a "MUST" - Future Handling of the Blue Sheets - IETF aging - Proposed IESG Statements (not even mentioned in the draft) - Is IPv6 bad news - Why is DNS broken - A proxy war between the IETF and the ITU - Shared IPv4 address space I wouldn't describe the above-mentioned topics as being of cosmic significance. In Section 4: "primary goal is to reinvigorate the WGs to get their tasks done"After watching two people taking shots at low flying ducks, my guess is that such action does have an invigorating effect. Those ducks must have read the current version of the Tao to learn the inner workings. There were a couple of unfortunate accidents .
"although IASA kicks in additional funds for things such as the audio broadcast of some Working Group sessions.This is an unnecessary detail. How important is it to know that some body within the IETF called IASA is paying for that?
"There is no exposition hall" Isn't there a plan to have an exposition during meetings? In Section 4.5: "These are used for long-term archival purpose to show how many people came to a particular meeting and, in rare cases, exactly who showed up." What's the consensus on "Blue Sheets" these days? In Section 5.2: "Any decision made at a face-to-face meeting must also gain consensus on the WG mailing list." Are decisions taken during meetings or only on the mailing list? "There are numerous examples of important decisions made in WG meetings that are later overturned on the mailing list, often because someone who couldn't attend the meeting pointed out a serious flaw in the logic used to come to the decision." The above does not seem correct. In Section 7.3: '[RFC2223], "Instructions to RFC Authors", describes the submission format.'Isn't RFC 2223 considered as Historic? I doubt that the RFC editor uses that RFC.
In Section 7.4: "To become an Internet Standard, an RFC must have multiple interoperable implementations and the unused features in the Proposed Standard must be removed; there are additional requirements listed in [BCP9]." Is this correct? Unused features (the MAY) are not removed in practice. In B.1: "P4. Participation in the IETF or of its WGs is not fee-based or organizationally defined, but is based upon self-identification and active participation by individuals." What is the meaning of self-identification? In B.2: "P7. Dissent, complaint, and appeal are a consequence of the IETF's nature and should be regarded as normal events, but ultimately it is a fact of life that certain decisions cannot be effectively appealed."Is this a roundabout way of saying that a person can appeal but it won't change anything?
"P10. A community process is used to select the leadership." It's not a community process in my opinion (see NomCom selection process). "P11. Leaders are empowered to make the judgment that rough consensus has been demonstrated. Without formal membership, there are no formal rules for consensus."This is like using the draft as a backdoor to say something. It looks like accountability is being glossed over. I suggest renaming B.2 as Animal Farm .
In B.3: "P14. Parts of the process that have proved impractical should be removed or made optional." Why is the above in this draft? In B.5: "P30. Standards Track and Best Current Practice documents must be subject to IETF wide rough consensus (Last Call process)." Is it "rough consensus" or "consensus"?Some parts of this draft are well-written. Other parts comes out as nostalgia instead of providing a view of the inner workings of the IETF. Overall this draft could be more effective in helping newcomers if it was reorganized and if it used a language which is more accessible to non-English speakers . There is truth in advertising and what the IETF would like people to believe. If the objective is the later, it has been met. There is a long coverage of the meeting details. That can be traced back to a RFC written in 1993. In the old days meetings could have been considered as "the IETF". I would describe meetings more as a landmark nowadays than being "the IETF".
I don't think I know what "the IETF" is. Some of the people on this mailing list have been active in the IETF for the last 19 years and they may have a better idea of what the IETF universe must be. If this is their idea of a better idea, I'll say "ok". There is a world out there. That world has a different view of the IETF. After reading this draft that world will still have a disconnected view of the IETF. It could be said that "that world" is not important, that newcomers are not important, that those who have built the Internet know better.
I am going to file the minority report on this draft before the one  that sometimes does that. BTW, I don't see the "please be patient with the old folks" advice in this draft. Is it politically incorrect to say that?
Regards, -sm 1. Insert smiley2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL7iS4aZHas