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Appeal of current Guidance on in-Person and Online meetings (Ted Hardie, Alan Frindell, 2023-07-19) - 2023-07-19
Appeal - 2023-07-19

From: Ted Hardie
Subject: Appeal of current Guidance on in-Person and Online meetings
Date: July 19, 2023 at 7:17:16 AM PDT
To: IESG, Ted Hardie, Alan Frindell
Cc: IETF <>

Dear IESG,

The undersigned write to appeal the current Guidance on in-Person and
Online meetings (

Remedy requested:

The current guidance should be reverted to the previous guidance and a
proposal for updated procedures brought to the community in an
appropriate venue. MTGVENUE seems like an appropriate place to discuss
this, but a new list or other designated venue would be fine.


The MoQ working group chairs requested the Secretariat to provide
letters of invitation for an interim meeting to be held in Seattle,
Washington in January of 2023. The Secretariat referred the matter to
the IESG, which failed to render a timely decision; it eventually
instructed the Secretariat to decline, but at a time so late that the
decision had long been moot.

The IESG then promulgated the updated guidance on January 27th of 2023.
While members of the IESG have stated that they believe that this was a
clarification of existing guidance, issues were raised with the
language as early as January 29th of 2023. Among the most serious of
these concerns is the following text:

"If invitation letters are required for visa purposes, the host of the
meeting needs to be able to issue those to all interested in-person

This fails to recognize that interim meetings may take place without a
host, and it binds those with a host to making a significant legal
commitment which may not be possible (e.g. if an "interested in-person
participant" comes from a country under sanction by the host's

There are other issues with the text, among them its failure to
recognize that "in-person" meetings are now by default hybrid, with
full support of MeetEcho or similar facilities. There is an additional
ambiguity in this text: "The proposed meeting venue should also be
accessible without participants needing to sign non-disclosure-
agreements (NDAs) or similar agreements." as it is not clear on whether
agreeing to abide by a code of conduct at a venue is a "similar

These issues were raised again at the plenary of IETF 116, and the IESG
agreed at the time to bring it back to the community after discussion
at their retreat in May of 2023 (see
t=6140 for Lars agreeing that after the retreat the IESG would bring it
to the community).

The IESG has not brought it back to the community. When a private
request for clarification was made to the IESG, the response given was
that it had been discussed but that the IESG intends to promulgate a
new set of guidelines without community discussion.

The undersigned believe that this is both contrary to their public
commitment and contrary to the interests of the community. The choice
of the community to carry out a working group process and publish an
RFC on meeting venue guidance is a strong indication that meeting
mechanics are a topic where community input is required. RFC 8718 has
nuanced guidance on some aspects of this, and the IESG guidance in the
document cited above does not, in the opinion of the undersigned,
follow its guidance in considering trade-offs. A conversation with the
community on why this should be different seems warranted.

Thank you for your attention and we look forward to a resolution of
this matter and a public conversation on a proposed updated set of

best regards,

Ted Hardie
Alan Frindell