[rfc-i] Developing consensus, episode 3.

Dave CROCKER dhc at dcrocker.net
Fri Feb 11 09:36:23 PST 2011


Latest draft looks quite good.

A few comments and suggestions, with most being minor wording changes, but a few 
nuggets scattered throughout...

> 2.1.  Executive Management of the Publication and Production function.
>    o  The RSE provides input to the IASA budget, statements of work, and
>       manages vendor selection processes....

While the sub-section title specifies the scope of the reference, I suggest that 
the first bullet's first sentence repeat it, for safety.  So, something like:

    o  With respect to the Publication and Production functions, the RSE
       provides input to the IASA budget, statements of work, and
       manages vendor selection processes.  The RSE performs annual


However, the phrase "manages vendor selection processes" appears to be in 
conflict with the next bullet:

>    o  Vendor selection is done in cooperation with the streams and under
>       final authority of the IASA.

While the 'Concretely' bulleted list after this can be taken to clarify things, 
it would be better not to invite the confusion.

Perhaps the way to resolve this is to have the first one say

    and manages the vendor search processes

and have the latter say

    Final vendor selection is done...

This clarifies that the two roles of primacy are sequential and it invokes a 
common distinction between search/recommendation vs. selection. I believe this 
accurately reflects what is meant by the text and by the prior discussion.

>       *  with the RSE to provide advice and assistance as the IASA deems
>          useful in those later stages

Given the new wording of "The IASA will remain in close consultation with the 
RSE", this last bullet does not seem to be needed any more.  If retained, it 
should be cast as "The RSE will provide".

But "as the IASA deems useful" can actually be interpreted to conflict with the 
requirement for "close consultation" /requirement/ of the preceding bullet.  So 
I suggest just removing the latter.


> In case of
>       disagreement the IAB acts as mediator.

Mediation does not assign authority for making a final decision to the IAB. It's 
a "facilitation" mechanism.  I'm a fan of mediation as a preferred mode of 
conflict resolution, but it's not enough for some circumstances.  While 
"arbitration" would be a formal term of art that resolves this ambiguity, I 
suggest something less legalistic:

    In case of disagreement, the IAB will attempt to mediate the issue.
    If no mutual agreement can be reached, the IAB will make the final


>    o  The RSE has operational responsibilities for issues that raise
>       above the responsibilities of the publication or publication
>       functions such as cross stream coordination of priorities and
>       other issues.

Hmmm.  What happens if the RSE asserts authority for an ops issue that a Pubs 
contractor thinks is out of the RSE's scope?

More broadly, this language does not explicitly declare that the RSE supervises 
on-going performance of the Pubs contracts.  I thought we had some earlier 
language that stated this directly and I recommend we use it.


> The job is expected to take on average half of an FTE (approx 20 hrs

While I think that's the consensus, I'm wondering how it will be handled if the 
average turns out to be low?  This is more of a budget and contracting issue 
than a "policy" one.  The document might want to leave it to the IAOC to decide 
this, since there are standard ways to deal with the issue.

However the different ways have very different implications.  One approach is 
open time-and-materials, which ensures that the RSE can spend the necessary 
time, but has an open-ended budget impact.  Another is fixed-time, which means 
that some work won't get done.  Another is fixed-work which means the RSE is to 
take whatever time is needed to get the work done.  That's a bit unusual for 
anything less than full-time, I think.


>    In those general cases the IAB is ultimately responsible for
>    oversight and acts as a body for appeal and mediation.

    mediation -> resolution

>    o  manage candidate selection and advises the IAB on candidate
>       appointment (in other words select the RSE, subject to IAB
>       approval)

    manage candidate -> manage RSE candidate

>    are
>    approached as-if they are binding.

    approached as if they were binding.

>    There is one aspect in which the RSOC will work with the IASA: the
>    enumeration of the RSE herself.

1. I don't understand this sentence.  I don't know what it means to enumerate 
the RSE.

2.  herself -> itself.  (note that that's the convention established a few lines 
earlier and I think it superior.)


Generic:  'will' vs. 'should' usage should be made consistent.  I think that in 
all cases the same word should be used.  I think that 'will' is somewhat better 
suited to the document and the IETF, but either is ok.


> The RSOC will operate as a Program of the IAB,

I'll repeat my concern with this language using "Program":  The definition and 
details about an IAB "Program" are not documented -- and they have no 
established practical history, public or private, that I am aware of.  As such, 
the term is meaningless to the reader except the natural meaning of the word, 
which certainly means it should not be capitalized.

I think that it is sufficient to use lowercase and say "activity" so that there 
is no implication that the word is a term of art.


>    The RSOC will operate as a Program of the IAB, with the IAB retaining
>    final responsibility but delegating authority and responsibility and
>    authority to the RSOC as appropriate and as RSOC and RSE
>    relationships evolve.

The length of the sentence makes this a bit awkward to read. There also a minor 
typo.  I suggest:

    The RSOC will operate as a Program of the IAB, with the IAB retaining
    final responsibility.  The IAB will delegate authority and responsibility
    to the RSOC as appropriate and as RSOC and RSE
    relationships evolve.


>    large enough
>    to provide general Internet Community expertise, specific IETF
>    expertise, Publication expertise, and stream expertise.

There are important policy implications in the balance of representation of 
these different constituencies.  Too many from one means they dominate. I 
suggest some language be added to indicate a policy preference for the balance.

My own preference is an equal balance of stream producers and community 
consumers, with a smattering of publication expertise.


>    The RSE and a person designed to represent the IASA will serve as ex-
>    officio members of the RSOC but either or both can be excluded from
>    its discussions if necessary.

      designed -> designated

However if 'designed' is actually meant, then I suspect we are into the realm of 
genetic breakthrough...

Broadly, the question of non-voting 'liaison' vs. voting 'member' is worth 
calling out.  I take the language, here about ex-officio as meaning the former.


   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

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