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Appeal to the IAB over IESG dismissed appeals from J-F C. Morfin (JFC Morfin) - 2006-09-11
Response - 2006-12-05

IAB Response to an Appeal from J-F C. Morfin.

On September 9, 2006 the IAB received an appeal against several

previous IESG appeals from J-F C. Morfin dismissed by the IESG.

  1. Introduction

Mr. Morfin’s appeal contains 25 pages of text with a lot of background

and material. Based on the section on “Purpose of this appeal”, the IAB

concluded that Mr. Morfin was seeking redress for the following three

complaints relating to a PR Action affecting Mr Morfin initiated in

February 2006.

Ia. Against the decision to Last Call the PR Action Ib. Against

the decision on the PR Action.

II. Against the IESG deciding the PR Action prior to the processing

Mr. Morfin’s 2006/02/17 appeal.

On matters Ia and Ib we uphold the decisions of the IESG. Our reasoning

is presented in section 2 below.

On matter II, while the IAB has some concerns regarding the time it

took the IESG to handle the appeal, we uphold the ultimate decision

of the IESG to decide on the appeal action prior to processing the Feb

17 appeal. In section 3 we provide arguments and advice on this matter.

  1. Last Call of and PR action.

There are a number of issues that we identified in the appeal to the

Last Call and the actual PR action.

* Mr. Morfin argues that RFC 3683 is in conflict with the universal

declaration of human rights.

Our view, supported by our legal counsel, is that the Universal

Declaration of Human Rights is not directed to non political-state

behavior and a discussion of this instrument, no matter how admirable

it may be, is not relevant to the appeal at hand.

* Mr. Morfin argues that various participants have conflicts of interest.

We reviewed and did not agree with Mr. Morfin that there were any

supportable conflicts of interest relevant to the PR action.

* Mr. Morfin argues that the PR Last Call was invalid because it did

not contain Mr. Alvestrand’s original request to the IESG.

RFC 3683 clearly states that the PR action is initiated by an AD. That

Mr. Alvestrand’s request lead to the PR action is irrelevant to the Last Call.

* Mr. Morfin argues he is actually not disrupting the

consensus-driven process.

Mr. Morfin argues that RFC 3683 does not apply to expert review lists

because they are not consensus driven. In the IAB’s opinion, this

is an overly strict interpretation of non-normative text in RFC 3638.

RFC3683’s purpose is to provide guidelines for handling disruption in

the open mailing lists that are at core to the IETF work. In RFC3683

the disruption of the consensus-driven process is provided as an example.

* Mr. Morfin argues that a PR action based on behavior on lists or in

working groups that have ceased to exist is moot.

An RFC 3683 PR action allows maintainers of lists under IETF auspices

to revoke a subject’s posting rights. These PR actions are based on

observed behavior of the subject. The action is not based on where

within the IETF context, that behavior took place. That the list and

working group do not exist or are inactive is irrelevant.

* Mr. Morfin argues that he was not disruptive but rather others

were acting against him and that the PR Last Call contained

pointers to disruptive messages towards him.

The pointers that were provided in the Last Call were, in majority,

warnings and suspension messages. Technically Mr. Morfin is correct

that those messages all contain actions directed towards him. However,

to us it is clear that the content of those messages contain references

that demonstrated the behavior leading to the PR action.

* Mr. Morfin argues that because the decision’s votes were not

published, and voting does not constitute the usual

consensus-based process, the decision by the IESG is invalid.

We are of the opinion that the use of voting as an instrument to judge

if consensus exists is not unusual. There is no requirement to publish

the result of those votes. There is no indication that within the IESG

there was not rough consensus on the decision.

* Mr. Morfin finally argues that the PR action is partly based on a

suspension that the IAB overturned.

We overturned the suspension by Mr. Alvestrand on procedural grounds.

The fact that the suspension by Mr. Alvestrand is used as a pointer

to the alleged misbehavior is not sufficient grounds to revert the PR action.

  1. The timing of the PR decision.

* Mr. Morfin argues that the IESG should have first dealt with his

appeal on the Last Call before deciding on the PR action

itself. Mr. Morfin also complains about the length between

filing the appeal and receiving an answer.

The IESG response to the appeal states:

The IESG decided not to consider this appeal until after deciding

the PR-action, and then not to do so until Mr Morfin’s expected

appeal against the PR-action.

It is within normal IETF practice to not stop operation in the face of

an active appeal, and the IAB therefore believes the IESG was within

its rights to decide the PR-action prior to the appeal.

However, we believe that appeal bodies should not block consideration

of an appeal based on expectations of future appeals, except when

clearly communicated with the appellant. Rather, each appeal should

be expediently considered as it is received.

Hence, while the IAB upholds the ultimate result of the appeal, we

believe the IESG acted inappropriately in not immediately considering

the appeal. Future appeals should be considered without waiting

for additional appeals, except as agreed on by the appellant.

Mr. Morfin argues that the decision to withdraw the appeal agenda item

was itself a decision on the appeal. The IAB does not agree with that


Leslie Daigle,

for the IAB.

Jefsey_Morfin wrote:

On 20:45 11/09/2006, Leslie Daigle said:

Mr. Morfin,

Please deliver a copy of your actual appeal text. I appreciate

the care in not overburdening mailboxes, but we require receipt >of

a single, agreed-upon, canonical text of the appeal.



Dear Leslie, Phil, and IAB Members,

Here it is. However, I understand that the date is the date I sent my

mail to you (2006/09/09).

Thank you for your care.

Best regards.


JFC Morfin wrote:

Dear Leslie and IAB Members,

I appeal of the IESG dismissals on 2006/07/10 of my appeals of

2006/02/17 against a PR-action LC and of 2006/05/17 against a

PR-action decision by the IESG.

You will find that appeal at .

Please indicate if you have any problem to retrieve it (my

OpenOffice >>plays me tricks with .doc and .pdf files). I preferred

not to >>overload IAB and IESG Members with that file in attachment.

I also appeal in the same document the decision of the IESG

published >>in its 2006/07/10 responses on the timing of its answers.

There may >>some doubt to know if this last point is or not to be

appealed first >>to the IESG. This appeals having to be forwarded

before 9/10 and >>being uncommunicando for 48 hours, I sent an appeal

to the IESG Chair >>and Members and copied you.

I am sorry to have again to appeal to the IAB. But the IESG has

decided that I should escalate to you points which should be

addressed at WG layer. This appeal object to that decision.

Sincerely yours.