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Appeal: IESG Statement on Guidance on In-Person and Online Interim Meetings (John Klensin, 2023-08-15) - 2023-08-15
Appeal - 2023-08-15

From: John C Klensin
Subject: Appeal: IESG Statement on Guidance on In-Person and Online
Interim Meetings
Date: Tue, 15 Aug 2023 15:03:55 -0400
cc: IETF

--On Tuesday, August 15, 2023 10:23 -0700 IESG Secretary
<> wrote:

The IESG has issued a Statement on Guidance on In-Person and
Online Interim Meetings:

14 August 2023

This statement provides IESG guidance on hybrid and online
interim IETF working group (WG) meetings.

Read more:


(I am bypassing the normal procedure of a discussion with the
IETF Chair before creating an appeal because there was a
discussion with him about some of the issues in the prior
version of the guidelines, including a request that those issues
be considered as part of another appeal and any resulting
rewriting. Most of those have not been addressed and are
reiterated below.)

While I appreciate the effort to update this document, this
revision raises several concerns (most raised earlier and not
addressed) in addition to including a key statement, apparently
as justification, that I do not believe to be true.

(1) The guidelines for online interim meetings now read as if
they can reasonably be run as effectively closed sessions,
announced only to those who happen to be on the mailing list of
that WG. There is not even a requirement to let the responsible
AD know that the meeting is being scheduled (the text says
"should discuss" which would not be requirement even if "should"
were in upper case). That is less open than we usually require,
exclusionary of those who are not very active WG participants,
potentially hostile to newcomers, and, most important,
undermines the traditions of encouraging IETF participants to
look in on WGs in which they are not actively participating and
hence undermining cross-area reviews prior to IETF Last Call
except when WG Chairs explicitly ask for those reviews. There
are more quibbles about that section including about timing of
the "reminders" for recurring meetings.

(2) For hybrid meetings, the decision as to whether "extended
sequences" of such meetings are needed and acceptable appears to
be left entirely to the WG, even though, unlike online meetings,
AD approval of some type is required (but, for a sequence, it is
not clear what the AD has to approve). That raises most of the
same issues as above.

(3) The statement "Interim meetings of any type are integral to
the IETF way of working," is, AFAICT, false. Every WG that has
managed to get through all of its work in the last
quarter-century without holding even one interim meeting is a
counterexample. Perhaps it is the intention of the IESG to
change that or perhaps the IESG is just adjusting to trends in
that direction, but those would be rather fundamental changes,
for which see the next two items.

(4) We can repeat the requirements of RFC 2418 (especially
Section 3.2) as often as we like but the reality is that,
especially if a WG moves to regularly scheduled and frequent
interim meetings, those meetings (and not mailing lists) are
almost certain to become the primary discussion venue for the
WG. In many cases (and I think I have seen examples), if a WG
becomes used to working that way, "reviewed and confirmed on the
mailing list" becomes a note to the mailing list saying
something close to "the interim decided XYZ; anyone with serious
objections should speak up".

(5) Almost separate from the above, but equally or more
important, portions of this document are essentially an update
or reinterpretation of RFC 2418. As such, with the probable
exception of the discussion of visas and meeting invitations,
establishing policies like those outlined by an internal IESG
discussion and IESG Statement violates principles about
community decision-making established in the wake of the Kobe
incident as well as the provisions of BCP 9 (RFC 2026 and
updates). This policy document should be presented to the
community in I-D form, discussed and revised as needed, and then
subjected to IETF Last Call. Unless the IESG believes that it
can fairly and objectively evaluate Last Call comments on a
document that it wrote and approved, it should devise some other
way for the Last Call to be evaluated such as handoff to the IAB.