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Minutes for IESG at IETF-86

Meeting Minutes Internet Engineering Steering Group (iesg) IETF
Date and time 2013-03-13 21:40
Title Minutes for IESG at IETF-86
State Active
Other versions plain text
Last updated 2013-03-26

IETF 86 Plenary Minutes
Orlando, FL, USA
Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Minutes by Mirjam Kuehne, RIPE NCC


Administrative and Management Plenary

   1. Welcome
   2. Host Presentation
   3. Reporting
      - IETF Chair
      - IAOC Chair and IAD
      - IETF Trust Chair
      - NomCom Chair
   4. Recognition
   5. 2013 Postel Service Award Call for Nominations
   6. Thank Outgoing IAB, IAOC, and IESG Members
   7. Outgoing IETF Chair Comments
   8. Incoming IETF Chair Comments
   9. Introduce Incoming IAOC Members
  10. IAOC Open Mic
  11. Introduce Incoming IESG Members 
  12. IESG Open Mic


1. Welcome

Russ Housley opened the administrative plenary session.

2. Host Presentation

Glenn Reitmeier from NBC Universal gave the host presentation on behalf
of Comcast and NBC Universal.

Russ presented plaques to the two hosts: Jason Livingood from Comcast
and Glenn Reitmeier from NBC.

3. Reporting

3.1. Reporting - IETF Chair (Russ Housley)

3.2. Reporting - IAOC Chair (Bob Hinden) and IAD (Ray Pelletier)

Instead of walking through the regular IAOC report, the IAOC decided to
prepare a 'roast' for Russ, because he is stepping down as IETF Chair.
Some funny pictures were shown, some funny stories were told, and
finally Bert Wijnen sang an old Dutch song to thank Russ for all the
years of serving as an IETF Chair.

Lynn St.Amour handed a pretty glass bowl ans a plaque to Russ as a
thank-you from ISOC.

3.3. Reporting - IETF Trust Chair (Ole Jacobsen)

3.4. Reporting - NomCom Chair (Matthew Lepinski)

4. Recognition

Our community lost two people since the last IETF meeting: Milan Sova
and Mark Crispin. The participants honoured them with a minute of

5. 2013 Postel Service Award Call for Nominations

Lynn St.Amour announced the opening for nominations for this year's
Jonathan B. Postel service award.

Lynn also asked for volunteers for next year's NomCom chair.

6. Thank Outgoing IAB, IAOC, and IESG Members

All outgoing members were recognised and received a plaque.

7. Outgoing IETF Chair Comments

Standing ovation for Russ.

8. Incoming IETF Chair Comments

Jari is planning to put together a design team to see how diversity in
the IETF and the IETF leadership can be increased. He is looking for
individuals to lead such a team.

9. Introduce Incoming IAOC Members

Incoming, continuing, and outgoing IAOC members came on stage, and
they were introduced.  Incoming IAOC members received their purple dot.

10. IAOC Open Mic

Leslie and Olaf, two past IAB Chairs, congratulated Russ for his new
adventure as the IAB Chair and asked him to realise that this is a
very thankless job. They then asked Bernard Aboba to stand up and get
his well-deserved applause. Standing ovation for Bernard!

Drew Dvorshak shared that he is responsible for raising money for the
IETF, and Drew worked very closely with Russ over the last few years.
Drew believes that Russ deserves tremendous recognition. The IETF is in
a very different position today; it doesn't have to scramble for money
at the last minute. Thanks to Russ.

Matt Lepinski thanked the IAOC for the informal IAOC session on Sunday
afternoon. Future NomComs will benefit from that kind of information.

Bob Hinden announced that the IAOC is planning to repeat this for a
few meetings to come.

11. Introduce Incoming IESG Members

Incoming, continuing, and outgoing IESG members came on stage, and
they were introduced.  The outgoing IESG members gave dots to the
incoming Area Directors.

12. IESG Open Mic

Margaret Wasserman mentioned the letter on diversity that was sent and
signed by over 50 people. Does anyone wants to comment on it?

Jari agreed that the IETF will be far stronger when it will be more
diverse in various aspects. But it is good to see that the IETF has
become much more international than in the past. Especially there are
many more participants from China, also in WG chair positions, and we
now also have a participant from China on the IAB. It is however a long
process. Some good ideas how to increase diversity were already brought
up on the mailing list. International participation can for instance be
increased by organising meetings in other regions.  Other than that Jari
said he didn't have any answers at this stage and also didn't want to
preempt the discussions of the future diversity design team.

Curtis Vilamizer said that when he started coming to the IETF it was
mostly male. We came a long way.

Sean Turner mentioned that a year ago someone asked him how to become
a WG chair. Asking is the first step! He thinks that if people want to
actively participate, they need to volunteer to write drafts etc.

Barry Leiba agreed that asking is useful. But the other way round is
also important: we need to actively look around for good talent.

Pete Resnick realised that we have an idea of what kind of people are
appropriate for the position. This means we pick people that are like
all the others in that position before. This is more comfortable.
However, we need to consciously think about people that we don't
normally think of for leadership positions. This could be one of the
things that could increase diversity in leadership.

Michael Richardson suggested to more formally recognise people in the
WGs that are actively participating (beyond just the chair and the
secretary. That could mean more position slots in a WG, such as
document shepherds and document authors so that they can be
recognised for their work. This would also make it easier to se
who has actively contributed. And it will also allow those people
to show their supervisors or manager that they play some formal role
in the IETF.

Jari thought this is a good suggestion.

Phillip Hallam-Baker didn't think it was true to say that we cannot
recognise people moving through the ranks. He has been involved in
the IETF since 1992, and there were women then. But now there aren't
any women on the panel in front. The IAB and the NomCom didn't realise
that by rejecting 15 people who volunteered to be the Transport Area
Director they blew off 15 people who volunteered to spend a lot of
time. You need more women! And yes, there is a problem. The notion
that the NomCom is better than democracy reminded him of a stalinist
model and it ensures that you keep power to yourselves. The way to
solve this is to blow up the Nomcom. If you qualify for the NomCom,
you are part of the electorate and they elect the slate.

Mary Barnes said that 130 people gave input to the NomCom, which is
not a lot and is not an improvement since we have the open list. There
are many more people in this room including many people who seem to
care about diversity. How many people were aware that the diversity
within this year's pool of candidates was higher than ever before? But
the results do not reflect the diversity of the pool.

Jari acknowledged that. But of course there are multiple criteria when
looking for positions. Of course we want the best people for the job.
It is hard to draw too many conclusions from these numbers.

Matt Lepinski said that Mary is absolutely right: we had a very diverse
pool this year, both in terms of geopolitical background and gender (the
companies that send people here weren't as diverse as he would have
liked though). The challenge that the NomCom has was that they were
talking to many different people, and many different people told them
different things. Some people find diversity very important, other
people find other things very important. The NomCom then has to find a
balance. Some additional guidance to the NomCom how they should think
about diversity would be helpful.

Arturo Servin is very eager to promote diversity in the IETF. But h
asked not to polarise too much. We don't only need to bring new people,
we also have to prepare new people to write documents and standards and
be prepared for leadership positions. He also had one suggestion for
the NomCom Chair: don't be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and
pick people that you maybe would not have thought of before.

Peter Saint-Andre mentioned that during a WG meeting, SM and he were
chatting about how to get more people on the Applications Area
Directorate. Some people are shy about going to the mic. If you are
not a native English speaker or if you are not comfortable to speak in
public or if you are a woman in a room of 50 males, you might not feel
comfortable. We might want to think about other ways to reach out and
get other people's input than the ways we have right now.

Jari agreed, and he added that relatively aggressive discussion culture
here at the IETF is not necessarily welcoming to everyone either.

Keith Drage noted that it is possible to be a newcomer and a WG chair.
Should it be possible to be a newcomer and be appointed to the IAB or
the IESG?

Harald Alvestrand said he has been listening to this problem for twenty
minutes now. Whatever the IETF community has done over the last years
did not help, so he feels that we need to do something different, but
doesn't have a suggestion.

Jari mentioned the ISOC fellowship program, which brings new people to
the IETF from different parts of the world. Maybe this can be expanded.

Toerless Eckert commented on having elections for the NomCom. Purely
public elections would bear the risk that "whoever kissed the baby
best" would win the election. If we start to combine factors that are
evaluated under confidentiality with other factors like diversity, it
would become very hard to weigh them. It would be helpful if the
diversity design team could think about which factors in diversity
would make somebody a better candidate for that role.

Dave Crocker pointed out that we have a tool you that allows you to look
up all the documents that person wrote. He suggested to also include
other roles the person has help in that tool as well. And maybe also the
reverse: give me all the WG chairs over the last years. We may or may
not have the raw data preserved right now.

Jari responded that it is probably not only a lack of information, but
a problem of "going out of the comfort zone" as someone called it
previously. We need to give other people a chance.

Dave clarified that he was only suggesting to facilitate input. The
other comment he wanted to make is that we seem to believe that if
we organise an IETF in a certain region, we increase participation
from that region. He doesn't believe that this is necessarily the
case. And it also makes the travel very inconvenient and expensive
for all existing participates.

Jari acknowledged that this was a well understood opinion, and he
also thinks that it is true to a large extent that just by going to
a certain country or region, participation from that area doesn't
necessarily increase. But as a part of a bigger package, for
instance a combination of the fellowship program plus going to that
region could have a bigger impact.

Syed Hasan, returning ISOC fellow from Bangladesh noticed that there
are very few people from universities. There is a huge potential to
bring leadership from universities. Will the IETF try to get more people
form universities to the IETF?

Stephen Farrell said that unfortunately the work here at the IETF often
does not count as first class publication topic for academics.

Ralph Droms agreed that the IETF does not give an incentive to get their
work done here. Students have to go elsewhere to get their academic

Thomas Narten said that the diversity topic is a very hard problem to
solve. But it is very important, and he is glad that we are talking
about it. He urged the audience to resist the temptation to be
engineers and try to solve the problem on our own. It might be good
to take a look at how other organisations have dealt with similar
problems. One of the reason we are in this situation is that the IETF
community is a rather small circle. We have a system that perpetuates
itself. We have the tendency to pick the people we know and trust,
which is understandable. Some WG Chairs are in their roles a very long
time. Thomas suggested to do a self-review from time to time.

Pete Resnick agreed with Thomas, and Pete said this is an important
point: Not only do we have standing chairs, but we are also locked into
the opinion that firing a chair means they have done a horrible job. We
need to get more into the habit of rotating chairs every so often.

Barry reported that in the Applications Area they are trying to appoint
one new chair for every new WG. The ADs are also trying to appoint
short-term chairs.

Spencer Dawkins reported on the discussion during the Transport Area
meeting on Tuesday, moderated by Allison Mankin. The purpose was to
discuss the requirements for the Transport AD. The discussion was very
civilised and many good suggestions were made that could also be useful
for other Areas.

Keith Moore said that he got the impression we're trying to solve the
problem of diversity as engineers and that the problem can be solved
and will then go away. What we're really trying to do is to produce
consensus-based solutions. But consensus is only meaningful if it
includes a broad spectrum of interests. This is an ongoing goal.
Independent of the role you hold, we constantly need to think: will
this decision bring a good range of interests?

Ted Lemon was thinking about what worked in his particular WG, and he
thanked Yang Sijes, who pushed a number of students to him, and some of
these people became active participants in the IETF. It is difficult for
a newcomer to have the courage to stand up and contribute. The best way
to help them to do this is to push them. And the best people to push are
the people who know them. He hopes that people will follow that example.

Lorenzo Colitti was wondering what problem we are trying to solve: He
looked at the IESG and they all look the same as the people in the
audience. Is the problem that the people on the IESG don't represent the
people in the audience? Or is the problem that the IETF participants are
not diverse enough. These are two different problems, and they cannot
both be solved with one solution.

Pete Resnick suspects that we have both problems and that the two are
being mixed in the discussion right now.

Ron Bonica thanked Lorenzo to bring this up. He believes we have to
identify which problem we need to solve first, because they require
different methods.

Ralf Droms said that from his experience from university programs, there
is also a lack of diversity, especially the number of women in technical
studies is very low.

Ron Bonica asked to please get an answer to Lorenzo's question before we
discuss this any further.

Jari said that he doesn't think we can answer this right now, but he
also believes we have both problems.

Joseph Hildebrand said that it might be tempting for us to say that the
larger community we are drawing from (such as science and math) has a
lack of diversity, so we are doing the best we can. He would argue that
we can do better. In theory we are leaders in that community and part of
that leadership responsibility is to fix the diversity problem. Maybe we
are not doing an adequate job on this topic.

Bob Hinden commented on the topic of WG Chairs being in potion for a
long time. He himself was in that role for a long time, but he likes to
think that he was pretty successful in mentoring people in co-chair
roles. He would like to encourage others to do the same. This helps
people to become more experienced in the IETF.

Brian Haberman agreed that while the IESG can do this to a certain
degree and WG Chairs can do it to some degree, anyone can do it. He
encouraged everyone to help others who look lost, and so on.

Adrian Farrel said that he is currently looking for a mentor for a new
IETF participant, and he asked for volunteers.

Margaret Wasserman said that it may be due to where she was sitting,
but she saw something different than what Lorenzo saw. She saw that
the group in the audience is more diverse than the one on stage. That
doesn't mean that those people are not good enough. She thinks the
problem is a cultural problem. The problem is the attempt to find the
"best candidate". There is no best candidate. There are various
criteria that can be interpreted in various ways. There is also the
question: what is the best IESG, IAB, IAOC, etc. for the IETF. The
answer might be that there is no "best". More diversity can actually
help create a "better" leadership group.

Jari agreed with this notion.

Ron was wondering if the problem we're trying to solve is that the
IESG is not diverse enough?

Margaret said she thinks that we have both problems, and she encouraged
people to talk to other IETF participants and find out why it is harder
for some people to be successful than for others.

Mary Barnes added that if we fix the first problem, it might be easier
to solve the second problem. It can be scary, for instance, for women
to enter a predominantly male group.

Allison Mankin emphasised that we should be careful not to come up with
an engineering solution, because it is much more subtle than that. The
IETF is one of the best fields for engineers in the world. One can
participate by email, remotely, etc. But she also said that she is
always really uncomfortable to encourage women to come to the IETF,
because they will feel very lonely in the WG sessions. She would like
to attract other people to attend the IETF and make them feel more
comfortable and welcome -- the idea of a mentoring program.

Alissa Cooper responded to Ron's question about the two problems. She
said she thinks it is a little short sighted to see them as two
problems. If you never see someone on that stage that looks like you,
then you might think you will never make it there. It is a re-enforcing
circle. Making a real commitment to mentorship could be very useful.
There are different options, for instance one-to-one mentorship. If
Dorothy Gellert would not have reached out to her in the first year or
so, she would probably not have continued to come to the meetings. In
addition to that, there is also a way to build a community by carving
out a space for a group or minority, similar to what the Systers
(the mail list for women at the IETF) are doing during the IETF.

Benoit Claise believed that it is also a matter of perception. If there
is a perception that certain people cannot become leaders, then we have
a problem.

Pete Resnick quoted a saying: "If you are in the group that is in power
your task is to get out of the way." He said we have to make it more
inviting and create space for others so they feel more comfortable.

Sean Turner suggested that going out to lunch with people works.

Ted Lemon was wondering if he could help or if he would he become part
of the problem if he would mentor someone?

Alissa responded that he can of course help. She just wanted to point
out some of the female mentors who usually don't get recognition.
Generally having more sensitivity that the problem is out there, is a
good start.

Yong Cui mentioned that he always encourages his students to come to
the IETF. But as a participant from China, he is aware that there might
be language problems and there might also be problems with technical
understanding. He said he appreciates the encouragement and
understanding during the WG sessions even if their English and
presentation skills are not very high.

Kathleen Moriarty said that in addition to the technical fellows, ISOC
also brings a number of policy people from around the world to the
meetings. That also increases diversity. In terms of looking at other
organisations: what women and young girls need are examples. In the
IETF that could mean giving examples that women or people from other
regions can be good leaders in a technical environment.

Steve Conte added that for every single meeting, ISOC has problems to
find mentors for these 10 to 12 fellows that come to the meetings. So,
if it is already difficult to find mentors for these people, how will a
larger mentor program work?

Adrian thanked Steve and ISOC for the work on the fellowship program
and suggested to build a pool of mentors in each IETF Area.

Steve said that they are taking the work of the fellows into account
and that they usually reach out to the WG Chairs to identify mentors.
Steve will be at the ISOC table during the Bits-N-Bites on Thursday
evening, and he will be happy to take the names of volunteers.

Sean suggested sending an announcement to the IETF discussion list.

Keith Moore felt that over the last few years, there seems to be a lot
of recycling going on, and he said he was surprised to see that. That
means, we seem to have difficulties to bring new people in. He believes
that a lot of it comes down to cost. If you don't have 10,000 USD per
year, it is very hard to attend on a regular basis (he knows this from
personal experience). This is a serious problem. But he is not sure
what to do about it.

Phillip Hallam-Baker added that the amount of time it takes to be an AD
also seems to be a problem. There are two parts to the job: managing the
WGs and the technical work. Since the IAB stopped doing Internet
architecture since the Kobe meeting, he would like to see a document
that describes default ways to use a protocol. Such guidance would mean
that we don't have to spend time in each WG session on this topic.

Jari concluded that it is good to see that the community cares greatly
about this topic.