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Re-examining the IESG and IAB

Document Type Declined BOF request
Title Re-examining the IESG and IAB
Last updated 2023-02-22
State Declined
Editor Rich Salz
Responsible leadership
Send notices to (None)

Name: Re-examining the IESG and IAB (KOBE 2022)


This year's NomCom was very disappointed in the number of AD positions that
were unopposed: four out of seven. As one piece of feedback put it, "pick
[name elided]; what choice do you have." This is not a new situation, and
has been common for at least the past decade.

We believe there are a number of reasons for this, including:
- All other things being equal, the incumbent will be picked. The community
expects this. Examples include:
- There was a draft proposal to do two selections in two rounds, pick
incumbents and then "open call."
- There are no formal term limits, and it seems only one area has an
informal practice (which was bypassed this year)
- The AD job is described as being very difficult, with common statement that
"it takes the first term to understand it." It is hard to imagine any other
position in the IT field which requires two years to understand it.
- The AD job is described as time-consuming, being essentially a full-time job
and many companies are not willing to "lose" their senior engineers to that
for two, if not four, years. Many start-ups, or environments that are
comparitively new to the Internet and IETF can't afford to do that, either

The community has heard grumblings from ADs, such as when asked to consider the
leadership pipeline (successors), some are reluctant to add to the work requirements.
There have been and admissions that "we've tried
to make changes before" from the IESG. As they are unable to reform
themselves, it is incumbent on the IETF community to make changes. This
should not be seen as a confrontational position since the IETF prides itself
on being organized "bottom-up."

This year NomCom appointed one AD for a third term, and did not appoint
another who would have been serving their fifth term. Instead, that person
was appointed to the IAB. This brings up a related issue that should also
be addressed. The IAB is often labelled the "IESG retirement home." There
is a mix of reasons for that, including:
- The community wants to keep outoing AD leadership involved
- The individuals enjoy, or benefit in their career, from continued leadership
- Being an AD is one of, if not the best and only, way to get broad exposure
to IETF technologies, which is seen as important for an IAB position.

Because of the close relationship between the IESG and IAB, we believe it
is proper to discuss both groups at the same time. After all, together
they comprise the technical leadership of the IETF. One example of a joint concern
is putting a corporate limit on the number of seats one company can have
on either the IESG or IAB.

Fill in the details below. Keep items in the order they appear here.

Required Details

  • Status: WG Forming
  • Responsible AD: Lars Eggert
  • BOF proponents: Rich Salz,; IETF 2022-2023 NomCom,
  • BOF chairs: Rich Salz, additional person TBD
  • Number of people expected to attend: 100
  • Length of session (1 or 2 hours): 2 hours
  • Conflicts (whole Areas and/or WGs)
  • Chair Conflicts: TLS, HTTPAPI
  • Technology Overlap: DISPATCH, GENDISPATCH
  • Key Participant Conflict: none known

Information for IAB/IESG

This proposal represents the opinion of multiple members of this year's
NomCom. Because of the lateness of this proposal, the committee did not
have time for a formal review and vote on the text, so it is probably
most accurate to attribute this to Rich Salz and other NomCom members.

To allow evaluation of your proposal, please include the following items:

  • Any protocols or practices that already exist in this space: none
  • Which (if any) modifications to existing protocols or practices are required:
    We expect changes to be made to the expected job requirements for
    most of the IETF leadership, notably the IESG and IAB. This may
    have knock-off effects on how NomCom works.
  • Which (if any) entirely new protocols or practices are required:
    No new protocols. Practices will be evolved.
  • Open source projects (if any) implementing this work:


- Administrivia; 10min
- Background (Rich); 20min
  - Survey of recent IESG/IAB corporate memberships
  - Survey of recent unopposed positions
  - Lack of leadership pipeline
- Open discussion; 1 hour
    - problem statement; 30 min
- possible solutions
- Chartering and timeline; 30 min