[rfc-i] a possible refinement to draft-iab-rfc-editor-model

SM sm at resistor.net
Sat Apr 18 15:24:59 PDT 2009

Hi John,
At 07:14 18-04-2009, John C Klensin wrote:
>Indeed.  And, as long as the contractual relationships are
>unclear and in a state in which the RSE actually has the
>authority to manage what the Model expects her to manage, that
>job may be at least hard and maybe impossible.

In a previous message posted to this mailing list, I mentioned 
devolution.  It allows those closer to the action to take some of the 
decisions.  If we take our responsibility seriously, we might balk at 
that notion as we are leaving it to others to decide the fate while 
having to bear the final responsibility for the failure.  If the IAB 
expects a toothless RSE or some "Rubber Duck" body to manage the 
relationships without the authority to do so, think again.

Sometimes we do all the right moves and end up with the wrong 
outcome.  The RFC Editor model is somewhat like that.  We will only 
know about the outcome when we write the successor of RFC 5540.  We 
can delay the inevitable decisions and then slap a waiver of urgency 
on our request when the deadline approaches to ram it through the 
process.  That can even be a good strategy to side step the hard 
questions and silence the contrarian voices.

>Again, we agree.   And I think it may actually have to be
>"compensation".  In the words of many job descriptions, that
>means "commensurate with salary history and experience", i.e.,
>comparable to what the person would make doing something else,
>including both salary and benefits/overhead expenses.  The IASA
>should not expect that someone with the right level of
>experience (remember "executive management"?) will take on a
>difficult, time-consuming, and inevitably stressful as a gift to
>the community in return for, e.g., travel expenses and a nominal
>stipend.   We might get lucky. Someone might turn up who had the
>needed skills and experience and who had other sources of
>support or no need for external support.  But I think planning
>for that is not only like wishing for the proverbial pony, but
>could so limit the choices of possible RSEs as to leave us with
>no options or only poor ones.

We can hope for the best but we should plan for the worse.  If we can 
settle for no options or poor choices, then we can play the "I'm 
feeling lucky" card.  Otherwise, let's be realistic.

>In order to be a little bit more concrete about this (and at the
>risk of being even more blunt than usual), based on the Model
>document and related public discussions, a realistic job
>description for the RSE is going to require a set of skills that
>are much more specific and harder to find than those required
>for, e.g., an association administrator or executive.
>Consequently, it may require a higher level of compensation to
>fill the position.  Again, we might get lucky, but...

If the IAB is serious about getting the right person to fill the 
shoes of the initial RSE, it should not consider this as as 
"executive management" position only.  That obviously affects the 
level of compensation.  The initial RSE package can also be seen as 
an investment.  For it to be worthwhile, the IAB will have to see 
that the results contribute in a significant way towards the RFC 
Editor function in the long term.

>Actually, it has been disputed frequently, especially by people
>who are very concerned about accountability and appointment
>models and (from my perspective) appear to be more concerned
>about those issues than about whether something actually works
>on January 1.

There are eight months left.  I doubt that it will be enough time to 
create an accountability and appointment model, consult the community 
and get it to work right.  There is something to be learned from last 
year's (IETF) BCP.  We can always fix accountability and appointment 
models.  We cannot fix loss of institutional memory.  I have not seen 
any statement from the IAB saying that it has the time and experience 
to micro-manage the RFC Editor function.  For those concerned about 
accountability and appointment, I'm not asking you to give that 
up.  I suggest using the Editorial Board for the transition.  I don't 
think that the community would dispute the probity of the board.

>I have to agree with this although I can also tell you, as an
>IAB "insider" now, that the IAOC has not been significantly more
>forthcoming with the IAB than it has with the community as a

If the IAB and the IAOC cannot work in unison, there's a bigger 
problem.  Hiding under the veil of confidentiality won't make the 
problems go away.


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