Network Working Group                                      M. Kuehlewind
Internet-Draft                                                  Ericsson
Intended status: Best Current Practice                           J. Reed
Expires: 22 July 2021                                            R. Salz
                                                         18 January 2021

     Open Participation Principle regarding Remote Registration Fee


   This document proposes a principle for open participation that
   extends the open process principle as defined in RFC3935 by stating
   that there must always be a free option for online participation to
   IETF meetings over the Internet.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on 22 July 2021.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Principle of open participation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   3.  Financial impact  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Considerations on Use and Misuse of a Free Participation
           Option  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   6.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4

1.  Introduction

   Remote participation for IETF in-person meetings has evolved over
   time from email-only to live chat and audio streaming, and,
   currently, to a full online meeting system that is tightly integrated
   with the in-room session and enables interactive participation by
   audio and video.  Due to this evolution, and because most in-person
   attendees paid registration fees and this has been sufficient to
   support the meeting, online participation has historically been free
   for remote attendees.

   Given this more full-blown participation option, the IETF has started
   to observed 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 recent move to full online meetings, however, there is no
   distinction between remote and other participants anymore which lead
   to the introduction of a meeting fee for all participants, removing
   the free remote option.

   This change led to concerns about the impact both on those who
   regularly remotely attend meetings, as well as people looking to
   attend IETF meetings 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 and
   solicits community feedback in order to reach consensus on this or a
   similar principle that the IETF LLC can use to guide future decision
   about registration fees for full online meetings.

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   The principle this document states is simple: there must always be an
   option for free remote participation in any IETF meeting, whether or
   not that meeting has a physical presence.

   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."

   It should be noted that opennees as defined in [RFC3935] should be
   seen as open and free.  While the principle in RFC3935 is explicitly
   noting that this principle includes a requirement to open basically
   all our documents and documentation and making them accessible over
   the Internet, it was probably written with mainly having email
   interactions in mind when talking about participation.  This document
   extends this principle to explicitly cover online participation at

   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 have lower costs than in-person meetings, however
   they still come with expenses, as do other services that the IETF
   provides such as mailing lists, document access over the datatracker
   or other online platforms, or Webex accounts for working groups and
   other roles in the IETF.

   These and other running costs of the IETF are also 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 have a free option that can be used
   without any barriers other than the registration procedure itself.

   It is not in scope for this document or the shmoo working group to
   make suggestions for changing the IETF's overall funding model.  This
   is the responsibility of the LLC Board taking agreed principles like
   the one proposed in this document into account.

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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-founded"
   participants, nor to any specific other restrictions like the number
   of meetings previously attended or previous level of involvement.
   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 regular registration option will do.  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 LLC such that the viability of the IETF and the need of IETF
   participants to work productively within the IETF can be warranted.

   Aggregated data on the number and percentage of free registrations
   used should be published, as this will permit analysis the use and
   change in use over time of the free registration option without
   revealing personal information.  If the number of paid registrations
   decreases, this can however also have various reasons, 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.  These are
   risks that can impact the sustainability of the IETF independent of
   the free registration option due to its dependency on meetings fees
   to cross finance other costs.

5.  Acknowledgments

6.  Normative References

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

Authors' Addresses

   Mirja Kuehlewind


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   Jon Reed


   Rich Salz


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