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IETF an Openness

I'm sort of having a crisis of faith about the IETF lately. We've been doing a number of things that test the assumption that the IETF is an open organization that tries to be fair. We permanently banned the posting rights of Dean Anderson even though we never explicitly tried leser measures like a 30-day suspension. Our reason? Apparently while such measures are strongly recommended they are not normatively required. We didn't bother to explain why we couldn't take the time to apply them in this case--they were not required so we did not require them.

More recently we've been having an IESG discussion about banning people from participating who don't make sense. AFter all, that's a DOS attack on the process trying to understand them. Our time would better be spent managing working groups or writing drafts.

And then there's Jefsey.


You could move discussions to a site running Slash and use comment voting.

Sorry. Can't think of much else.
Me, too...

How far is it from here to people being unwilling to strongly assert an unpopular opinion for fear of being thrown out of the club?

I think there is a big difference between someone who asserts an unpopular opinion and someone who repeatedly asserts the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.

Saying that we should ban people who perpetuate denial-of-service attacks on mailing lists is a huge distance from banning people who voice unpopular opinions.

Your argument, taken to extremes, would say that we can't sanction people who yell "fire" in a crowded theatre, or throw blackmailers into jail, because somehow we are degrading the right to free speech.

Reasonable people can (and have!) disagree about whether or not the person in question is in fact really carrying out a denail of service attack, and whether we need to have better sanctions than mere 30-day suspentions and a permament PR action. (I prefer an expoential growing suspension period, myself...) But I don't believe that openness is somehow this sacred principle that must be upheld at all costs, even if when someone is generating smoke and disrupting work.


Hi Ted,

I mostly agree with you, and my opinion of this particular situation has been changing recently, mostly based on Jefsey's own posts about his actions and intentions...

However, I think that if we belong to an organization, like the IETF, that claims openness as one of its core values, we need to be very careful about maintaining that openness. I do agree, though, that we shouldn't allow our policy of openness to be intentionally abused in a way that disrupts our work.

Why was that anonymous?

Hmmm.... I don't know why my last response was anonymous. I didn't mean it to be.

BTW, my initial comment was on the idea of banning people for not making sense. It was not meant to be a specific comment on the Jefsey issue, nor was it a comment on what to do about people who post the same information often enough to disrupt work (which is distinct from whether those posts make logical sense).



Openness isn't sacred, but it is open


A thing is only sacred in as much as it must be what it is or it will no longer be what it was. The only reason to uphold openness at all costs would be to remain open.

My limited experience with the IETF and this situation is that the denial of service cry is used as a tactic more than a truth. It made me sad because I had envisioned the people behind the Request For Comments to be gentler.


Re: Openness isn't sacred, but it is open

Make that greater, not gentler.


IETF Openness

The IETF is the Catholic Church of the High Priests of the New Era. Open when it suits its purposes, by nature it is a closed political organization. A rule of elites which, if the public benefits, does so only by accident. Over time we can expect it to become more Byzantine, authoritarian, and opaque.

You are seeing the beginning of such a system, which usually works quite well for the first few generations. Over time, however, apointee-based organizations all follow the same trend.

At least Gibbon would perdict so, I suppose.



Nice quote

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I'm new here, just wanted to say hello and introduce myself.

September 2019

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