On Consensus and Humming in the IETF, June 2014
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- P. Resnick
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The IETF has had a long tradition of doing its technical work through a consensus process, taking into account the different views among IETF participants and coming to (at least rough) consensus on technical matters. In particular, the IETF is supposed not to be run by a "majority rule" philosophy. This is why we engage in rituals like "humming" instead of voting. However, more and more of our actions are now indistinguishable from voting, and quite often we are letting the majority win the day without consideration of minority concerns. This document explains some features of rough consensus, what is not rough consensus, how we have gotten away from it, how we might think about it differently, and the things we can do in order to really achieve rough consensus.
Note: This document is quite consciously being put forward as Informational. It does not propose to change any IETF processes and is therefore not a BCP. It is simply a collection of principles, hopefully around which the IETF can come to (at least rough) consensus.
For the definition of Status, see RFC 2026.
For the definition of Stream, see RFC 4844.