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Appeal Against IESG PR-Action from Dean Anderson (Dean Anderson) - 2006-04-18
Response - 2006-07-13

From: Leslie Daigle

To: Dean Anderson

Cc: iab@iab.org

Subj: IAB Response to Appeal by Dean Anderson dated 18 April 2006

Executive Summary

On 18 April 2006, the IAB received an appeal from Dean Anderson

regarding the decision, on appeal, of the IESG to uphold their

previous decision to issue an RFC 3683 Posting Rights Action (PR-

action) removing his posting rights on the IETF discussion list.

The IAB has now considered this appeal, deciding that the appeal is

denied and the IESG’s decision in this matter is upheld.

  1. Introduction

On 18 April 2006, the IAB received an appeal from Dean Anderson

regarding the decision, on appeal, of the IESG to uphold their

previous decision to issue an RFC 3683 [RFC3683] Posting Rights

Action (PR-action) removing his posting rights on the IETF

discussion list. According to the procedures in Section 6.5.2 of

[RFC2026], the IAB has reviewed the situation and issues the

following response.

  1. The Appeal Question

The appeal from Dean Anderson as submitted can be found at

http://www.iab.org/appeals/2006-04-18-anderson-appeal.html. The

IAB has interpreted the appeal in this extensive document as

requiring consideration of the following matters:

  1. Did the evidence warrant the issue of the PR-action?

  2. Was the procedure of Section 2 of RFC3683 followed adequately up

to when the initial PR-action was issued for Last Call?

  1. Should any members of the IESG have recused themselves who

didn’t?

  1. Did the IETF Last Call reach a consensus that the PR-action was

appropriate, was this consensus unduly affected by its original

incorrect announcement resulting in the extended duration of the

Last Call and was the consensus correctly called by the IESG?

  1. Was the evidence examined fairly and without malice?

  2. Did the IESG correctly action the appeal as specified by Section

6.5.4 of RFC 2026?

These matters will be addressed point by point in Section 5.

  1. The Scope and Basis of the Appeal

Mr Anderson seeks resolution of both a working group dispute under

RFC 2026 Section 6.5.1 and resolution of process failure under RFC

2026 Section 6.5.2. The IESG PR-action that is the focus of the

dispute has no direct connection to working group processes. The

IAB has therefore restricted its considerations to matters of

potential process failure in the IESG’s handling of the PR-action.

This requires checking that Section 2 of RFC 3683 was followed for

the original process and Section 6.5.4 of RFC 2026 was followed by

the IESG for the subsequent appeal.

The IAB considers that the detail of the technical, commercial and

intellectual property disputes reiterated at length in the appeals

document is not relevant to the process matters relating to the PR-

action and they will not be considered further.

As with other recent appeals on matters of posting rights, the IAB

conclusions apply narrowly to the process used by the IESG in

issuing the original PR-action and upholding their decision in

the appeal determination of 20 March 2006.

  1. IAB Members Considering this Appeal

This appeal was considered by the full set of voting members of the

IAB except for Brian Carpenter (IETF Chair) who recused himself

because of his previous involvement with this matter as a member of

the IESG.

The remaining voting members of the IAB considered the type of

associations Mr. Anderson described as “conflicts of interest” for

the IESG. The IAB determined which members might be considered to

have similar associations; the rest discussed and agreed the

associations did not constitute material conflicts of interest in

this case, and the consideration of the appeal proceeded with all

IAB voting members except Brian Carpenter.

  1. IAB Considerations

This section addresses each of the matters listed in Section 2 in

turn.

5.1. Did the evidence warrant the issue of the PR-action?

The IAB reviewed the messages cited in the PR-action as well as the

mailing lists in question (IETF, dnsops, etc.) and agrees with the

IESG that there was adequate evidence to justify the PR-action. We

observe that the interpretation in Mr. Anderson’s appeal of certain

individual messages are in many cases not the interpretation that

the IAB has of those same messages as they appeared in their

original context.

Mr Anderson’s continued disruption of the IETF’s discussions both

through postings containing inflammatory and unprofessional attacks,

repeated re-opening of closed topics and remarks about individual

contributors (perceived as ad hominem attacks) fall within the

criteria expressed in RFC3863, and that process is therefore

applicable.

5.2. Was the procedure of Section 2 of RFC3683 followed adequately up

to when the initial PR-action was issued for Last Call?

The IAB reviewed the specific points raised by Mr. Anderson, and the

available facts in the matter, and compared them to the process

outlined in RFC 3683. It is the determination of the IAB that the

process of Section 2 of RFC 3683 was followed adequately, and that

Mr Anderson’s specific complaints are not well grounded. Greater

apparent transparency might have been achieved by having somebody

else author the notice, but the oversight of the remaining IESG

members appeared to be adequate to eliminate any inappropriate

influence that the ‘initiator’ might have had on the outcome.

5.3. Should any members of the IESG have recused themselves who didn’t?

Mr Anderson considers that both Brian Carpenter and David Kessens

have significant conflicts of interest.

The IAB reviewed the facts and determined that the claims against

Brian Carpenter are unsubstantiated – his actions were clearly

focused on legitimate refereeing. Similarly, David Kessen’s actions

were aimed at appropriate warnings to Mr. Anderson; indeed, he would

have been failing in his responsibilities as area director for the

Ops area had he not done so. The IAB does not find any substance to

Mr. Anderson’s claims that Mr. Kessens has an association with a

company with which Mr. Anderson has issues. Accordingly, there is

no substantial reason for either of the two people named to recuse

themselves once it had been decided to go ahead with the process.

Arguably the claim of conflict of interest against David Kessens as

introducer of the request for the PR-action could have been further

vitiated by having a different member of the IESG write up the

notice served on Mr Anderson, but the document was subject to review

by all IESG members who would have been made aware of the issues

from the messages cited. The IAB considers that the IESG was

entitled to delegate this work to Mr Kessens as the most efficient

course of action and that there was no conflict of interest.

5.4. Was the IETF Last Call Process handled correctly and the concensus

correctly called?

The IESG originally announced the last call on the wrong list. Mr

Anderson complains that the re-issuing of the last call on the

correct list with an extended deadline ‘disrupted the discussion’.

The appeal provided no evidence on the claimed discussion

disruption. The effect was merely an extended last call during

which time Mr Anderson’s posting rights were maintained. It appears

there were less than 10 messages on the main IETF Discussion list

regarding this specific Last Call (as opposed to meta-discussion of

the whole RFC 3683 process mainly associated with a previous

action). A similar number of messages were also received directly

by the IESG during this period.

Subsequent to the end of the Last Call, the IESG determined that

there was an adequate consensus in support of the proposed PR-action

and they confirmed the PR-action. The IAB has reviewed both the

public mail archives and the mails sent directly to the IESG. The

IAB finds that they demonstrate that the community at large took a

serious interest in this issue. Opinions were expressed both for

and against the appropriateness of the PR-action as well as

expressing concerns about the usefulness of RFC 3683. After

considerable deliberation, the IAB believes that the IESG was

entitled to call the consensus in this way. The IAB has come to

this conclusion on a narrow interpretation: RFC 3683 has been

approved for use by the IETF and the IESG had been requested to

apply it. Discussions of the usefulness of RFC 3683 were not in

scope for this Last Call.

5.5. Was the evidence examined fairly and without malice?

From all the material the IAB reviewed, it does appear that the

evidence was examined fairly. Mr Anderson’s appeal document

examines the same evidence but the IAB believes his interpretation

of it does not stand up to scrutiny when the whole context is

considered.

5.6. Did the IESG correctly act on the appeal as specified by Section

6.5.4 of RFC 2026?

As regards the evidence on which the PR-action was served on Mr

Anderson, his appeal mostly reiterates the material that

precipitated the original request for a PR-action together with his

interpretation: there is no new evidence presented to justify an

appeal on evidential grounds, and some of the additional material

actually shows additional disruptive behavior. To that extent the

IESG’s refusal to indulge in re-analysis is justified.

  1. IAB Conclusion on the Appeal

The IAB found that the processes of Section 2 of RFC 3683 for the

original PR-action and of Section 6.5.4 of RFC 2026 for the appeal

had been adequately carried out, and accordingly Dean Anderson’s

appeal is denied.

  1. References

[RFC2026] Bradner, S., “The Internet Standards Process — Revision

3”, BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

[RFC3683] Rose, M., “A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF

mailing lists”, BCP 83, RFC 3683, February 2004.

[RFC3710] Alvestrand, H., “An IESG charter”, RFC 3710,

February 2004.

Leslie Daigle,

for the IAB.