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R. Hill's hypothesized process concerns regarding the IETF proposal development process

  • To: icg-forum@xxxxxxxxx
  • Subject: R. Hill's hypothesized process concerns regarding the IETF proposal development process
  • From: John Curran <jcurran@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2015 06:37:59 -1000

Esteemed ICG members - 

In public comments to the ICG on 8 January 2015, Richard Hill asserts concerns 
respect to the IETF proposal development process for the protocol parameters 
part of 
the IANA transition.

Richard notes calls attention to Section 3 of IETF’s RFC 7282 ("On Consensus 
Humming in the IETF”) and suggests that the IETF IANAplan working group (WG) 
co-chairs did not provide justification for their call of “rough consensus”, 
thus resulting 
in a process concern that the ICG should consider when evaluation of the RFP 
requirements for openness and inclusiveness.

Richard fails, however, to highlight several other relevant aspects of the IETF 
used for determination of “rough consensus”; this starts with the very title of 
Section 3 - 

    “Rough consensus is achieved when all issues are addressed, but not 
necessarily accommodated”    

The mere act of a WG giving thorough _consideration_ to an issue does suffice 
for the 
WG to proceed with “rough consensus”, even if the outcome does not accommodate 
objectors concerns.  Section 3 of RFC 7282 specifically notes this potential -

   "If the chair finds, in their technical judgement, that the issue has truly 
   been considered, and that the vast majority of the working group has 
   come to the conclusion that the tradeoff is worth making, even in the
   face of continued objection from the person(s) who raised the issue, 
   the chair can declare that the group has come to rough consensus. "

The two issues raised by Richard (replacing the existing IANA functions 
contract between 
NTIA and ICANN with an legally binding contract & making provisions for future 
use of 
intellectual property related to the IANA name) received thorough consideration 
on the 
IANAplan WG mailing list; these were beyond doubt two of the most popular 
topics of the
discussion.  Furthermore, these same topics were discussed face-to-face at the 
WG meeting at IETF 91, and as noted in summary of results by the IANAplan WG 
Leslie Daigle - 

“...After robust discussion in the room, the issue moved from the marks 
themselves, or attempting to address stability by fixing the current reality in 
stone, or predicting future possible problems in a contract-like framework, to 
focusing on using this document to address the specific requirement of 
addressing the question of what the current requirements and agreements are.

The support for the latter was quite clear from the 100 - 200 participants in 
the meeting, and the hum in the room to support removal of text stating 
requirements for the IAOC to negotiate contingency plans for the disposition of 
marks and iana.org was unanimous in the room.  No one hummed against.”  

i.e. the two issues raised by Richard were both extensively discussed on the 
WG mailing list and at the face-to-face meeting at IETF 91.  It is impossible 
to argue that 
these issues were not fully considered, although the result of that thorough 
may not have pleased Richard.

In the end (and as reflected in summary sent by the WG co-chair to the list), 
the working
group came to the conclusion that these issues did not need to be included in 
the ICG 
response in order for response to be considered complete.

Richard’s misunderstanding of the IETF process is evident, and he emphasizes it 
in his 
message on the IANAplan mailing list, when he writes  "I don't consider that an 
has been addressed if it is left open for the future.”

If a Working Group has thoroughly considered an issue, and comes to the 
that the issue does not have to be dealt with at that time, then that issue has 
been “addressed.”   The fact that the raised concern may not be accommodated in 
the resulting output is perfectly acceptable, as "rough consensus is achieved 
when all 
issues are addressed, but not necessarily accommodated”, and addressing an issue
is a question of thorough consideration by the working group, not necessarily 
in the result.

The IANAplan WG thoroughly considered the two issues highlighted by Richard and
in the fullness of that consideration reached rough consensus that the two 
issues did 
not need to be included the ICG response.  To the best of my understanding of 
processes, no process issues occurred in the IETF’s proposal development effort 
the resulting proposal obtained rough consensus as it is defined by the IETF.

Best wishes on your efforts in the coming months!

Disclaimer:  my views alone.

John Curran
Internet staff

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