Considerations for Having a Successful "Bar BOF" Side Meeting

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Network Working Group                                          L. Eggert
Internet-Draft                                                    NetApp
Intended status: Informational                              G. Camarillo
Expires: March 1, 2013                                          Ericsson
                                                         August 28, 2012

     Considerations for Having a Successful "Bar BOF" Side Meeting


   New work is typically brought to the IETF by a group of interested
   individuals.  IETF meetings are a convenient place for such groups to
   hold informal get-togethers to discuss and develop their ideas.  Such
   side meetings, which are not reflected in the IETF meeting agenda and
   have no official status, are often half-jokingly referred to as "bar
   BOF" sessions, to acknowledge that some of them may eventually lead
   to a proposal for an official IETF BOF ("birds of a feather" session)
   on a given topic.

   During recent IETF meetings, many such "bar BOF" get-togethers have
   been organized and moderated in ways that made them increasingly
   indistinguishable from official IETF BOFs or sometimes even IETF
   working group meetings.

   This document argues that this recent trend is not helpful in
   reaching the ultimate goal of many of these get-togethers, i.e., to
   efficiently discuss and develop ideas for new IETF work.  It
   encourages the organizers to consider the benefits of holding them in
   much less formal settings, and to also consider alternative means to
   develop their ideas.  This document also recommends that the
   community abandon the term "bar BOF" and instead use other terms such
   "side meeting", in order to stress the unofficial nature of these

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1.  Introduction

   A typical IETF meeting is full of sessions of different kinds.  In
   addition to official IETF and IRTF sessions listed in the meeting
   agenda, such as working and research group meetings, area meetings or
   plenaries, many other unofficial meetings take place.  These include
   meetings between IETF participants from one organization or company,
   design team meetings, Internet-Draft editing sessions,
   interoperability testing, directorate lunches and many others.

   Some of these unofficial get-togethers are organized by individual
   participants with a common interest in initiating new IETF work of
   some kind.  New IETF work often fits into an existing working group
   and does not require an official "birds of a feather" (BOF) session
   to determine community consensus.  Nevertheless, the phrase "bar BOF"
   has commonly been used in the community when talking about such
   informal get-togethers that are held to discuss potential new work.
   [RFC4677] characterizes a "bar BOF" as

      "(...) an unofficial get-together, usually in the late evening,
      during which a lot of work gets done over drinks.  Bar BOFs spring
      up in many different places around an IETF meeting, such as
      restaurants, coffee shops, and (if we are so lucky) pools."

   During recent IETF meetings, "bar BOFs" have become increasingly
   indistinguishable from official IETF BOFs or sometimes even IETF
   working group meetings.  The symptoms of this trend are unofficial

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