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Open Participation Principle regarding Remote Registration Fee

Document Type Active Internet-Draft (shmoo WG)
Authors Mirja Kühlewind , Jonathan Reed , Rich Salz
Last updated 2023-01-23 (Latest revision 2023-01-09)
Replaces draft-kuehlewind-shmoo-remote-fee
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Intended RFC status Best Current Practice
ARTART Last Call review Ready with Issues
OPSDIR Last Call Review Incomplete, due 2023-01-23
Additional resources Mailing list discussion
Stream WG state Submitted to IESG for Publication
Associated WG milestone
Aug 2022
Adopt Guidelines for determining meeting fees for fully online meetings
Document shepherd Suresh Krishnan
Shepherd write-up Show Last changed 2022-12-07
IESG IESG state IESG Evaluation
Action Holder
Consensus boilerplate Yes
Telechat date On agenda of 2023-02-02 IESG telechat
Has a DISCUSS. Needs 7 more YES or NO OBJECTION positions to pass.
Responsible AD Lars Eggert
Send notices to
IANA IANA review state IANA OK - No Actions Needed
Network Working Group                                       M. Kühlewind
Internet-Draft                                                  Ericsson
Intended status: Best Current Practice                           J. Reed
Expires: 13 July 2023                                            R. Salz
                                                          9 January 2023

     Open Participation Principle regarding Remote Registration Fee


   This document outlines a principle for open participation that
   extends the open process principle defined in RFC3935 by stating that
   there must always be a free option for online participation to IETF
   meetings and, if possible, related IETF-hosted events over the

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
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   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on 13 July 2023.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2023 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

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   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (
   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.
   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
   and restrictions with respect to this document.  Code Components
   extracted from this document must include Revised BSD License text as
   described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are
   provided without warranty as described in the Revised BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Principle of Open Participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Financial Impact  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   4.  Considerations on Use and Misuse of a Free Participation
           Option  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   6.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   7.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   8.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   Remote participation for IETF in-person meetings has evolved over
   time from email-only to live chat and audio streaming, and,
   subsequently, to a full online meeting system that is tightly
   integrated with the in-room session and enables interactive
   participation by audio and video.  Online participation has
   historically been free for remote attendees.

   Given this more full-blown participation option, the IETF has started
   seeing an increasing number of remote participants.  This increase
   can be explained by the ease with which new participants can join a
   meeting or only attend selected parts of the meeting agenda, and also
   by a less strongly perceived need to attend every meeting in person,
   either due to financial reasons or other circumstances.  In order to
   better understand these trends, the IETF started requiring
   registration as "participant" (in contrast to an "observer") for
   remote participation, still without any registration fee applied.

   With the move to fully online meetings in 2020 and 2021, however,
   there was no longer a distinction between remote and on-site
   participants for those meetings.  Since IETF meeting costs and other
   costs still had to be covered, a meeting fee was charged for remote
   participants, eliminating the free remote participation option (for a

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   The introduction of a fee for remote participation raised concerns
   about the potential impact on both, those who regularly remotely
   attend IETF meetings and those people considering attending an IETF
   meeting for the first time.  In both cases, even a small registration
   fee can be a barrier to participation.

2.  Principle of Open Participation

   This document outlines the principle of open participation that the
   IETF Administration LLC (IETF LLC) is expected to incorporate into
   decisions about the registration fee structure for fully online

   The principle this document states is simple: there must always be an
   option for free remote participation in any IETF meeting, regardless
   of whether the meeting has a physical presence.  Related events
   collocated with an IETF meeting are part of the IETF's open process
   [RFC3935] and are encouraged to follow this principle as well, f they
   offer remote participation at all.

   This principle aims to support the openness principle of the IETF as
   defined in [RFC3935]:

   "Open process - any interested person can participate in the work,
   know what is being decided, and make his or her voice heard on the
   issue.  Part of this principle is our commitment to making our
   documents, our WG mailing lists, our attendance lists, and our
   meeting minutes publicly available on the Internet."

   While the principle in RFC3935 is explicitly noting that this
   principle includes a requirement to open basically all our documents
   and material and to make them accessible over the Internet, it was
   written with mainly having email interactions in mind when talking
   about participation.  This document extends this principle to
   explicitly cover online participation at meetings.  Particularly in
   this context, openness should be seen as open and free.

   This document does not stipulate that all IETF meetings or related
   IETF events must have a remote participation option, because there
   could be technical or other reasons why that might not always be
   possible.  This document rather states that if remote participation
   is provided, there should always be a free option to make the process
   as open as possible.  Having said that, it is of course strongly
   anticipated that at least all working group sessions as well as BoFs
   and the administrative plenary of an IETF meeting provide an option
   for remote participation.

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   Further, in order to fully remove barriers to participation, any free
   registration option must offer the same degree of interactivity and
   functionality available to paid remote attendees.  The free option
   must be clearly and prominently listed on the meeting website and
   registration page.  If the free option requires additional
   registration steps, such as applying for a fee waiver, those
   requirements should be clearly documented.

3.  Financial Impact

   Online meetings can have lower costs than in-person meetings,
   however, they still incur expenses, as do other services that the
   IETF provides.  This includes items such as mailing lists, document
   access via the datatracker or other online platforms, and support for
   videoconferencing, like use of Meetecho and others.

   These and other operating costs of the IETF are partially cross-
   financed by income generated through meeting fees.  The intention of
   this document and the principle stated herein is not to make
   participation free for everyone, but to always offer a free remote
   option that enables remote participation without any barriers other
   than the application for the free registration itself.  As long as
   the overall meeting expenses are covered by paid registrations,
   sponsorships and other sources of revenue, additional remote
   participants usually impose very low additional expenses.

   It is not in scope for this document to make suggestions for changing
   the IETF's overall funding model.  This is the responsibility of the
   IETF LLC Board taking agreed principles like the one proposed in this
   document into account.  If unlimited free remote participation is
   determined to adversely affect the number of paying participants or
   the cost of free participation emerges to be a signification factor,
   the LLC might implement additional measures to manage these costs.
   If the LLC decides to do this, they should make their decision and
   rationale known to the community.  As discussed in the next section,
   assessment of eligibility is difficult and any limit on the number of
   available free registrations can cause unfairness and negatively
   impact openness.

4.  Considerations on Use and Misuse of a Free Participation Option

   This document does not provide specific requirements on when to use
   or not use the free option.  The purpose of the free option is to
   enable everybody who is interested in participation to join meetings
   without the meeting fee imposing a financial barrier.  These cases
   cannot be limited to a certain group, like students or "self-funded"
   participants, nor to any specific other restrictions like the number
   of meetings previously attended or previous level of involvement.

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   The purpose is simply to maximise participation without barriers in
   order to make the standards process as open as possible.

   It is expected that participants who have financial support to use
   the paid regular registration option will do so.  Paying a
   registration fee is a way for their sponsor to support the
   sustainability of the IETF.  For example, a higher late payment
   charge can be used to maximise this financial support.  However, this
   document does not comment on the actual payment structure of the IETF
   meeting fee other than the requirement for a free option.  The fee
   payment structure is set the by the IETF LLC such that the viability
   of the IETF and the need of IETF participants to work productively
   within the IETF can be warranted.

   The LLC is responsible to ensure the financial stability of the IETF
   and therefore should monitor trends in the use of the free
   participation option that could endanger the viability of the IETF
   and, if necessary, manage the associated costs.  Aggregated data on
   the number and percentage of free registrations used should be
   published, as this will permit analysis of the use and change in use
   over time of the free registration option without revealing personal

   As the principle defined in this document aims to promote openness
   and thereby enhance participation, an increase in use of free
   registrations is a success and likely a sign of increased interest
   and not necessarily a sign of misuse, as long as the number of paid
   registrations stays stable and retains the projected needed income.
   If the number of paid registrations decreases, however, this can be
   due to various reasons other than misuse, such as restrictions on
   travel to physical meetings due to cost savings or environmental
   reasons, general cost savings and lesser focus on standardization
   work, or simply lost of business interest.  Such trends can impact
   the sustainability of the IETF due to its dependency on meetings fees
   to cross-finance other costs, independent of use of the free

5.  Security Considerations

   This document introduces no new concerns for the security of Internet

6.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

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7.  Acknowledgments

   Thanks to everybody involved in the shmoo working group discussion,
   esepcially Brian Carpenter, Jason Livingood, Lars Eggert, and Charles
   Eckel for proposing concrete improvements and their in-depth reviews.

8.  Normative References

   [RFC3935]  Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
              BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004,

Authors' Addresses

   Mirja Kühlewind

   Jon Reed

   Rich Salz

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