[rfc-i] REOC membership

Glenn Kowack glenn at riveronce.com
Tue Jan 25 22:08:49 PST 2011

On Jan 21, 2011, at 3:52 PM, Russ Housley wrote:

> Glenn:
>>>> - The IAB should avoid appointing:
>>>> 	- current stream approver committee members, to allow focus and sufficient time to satisfy the
>>>> 		requirements of REOC membership, and
>>> I don't see the need for this rule.  Your text says that it because they won't have enough time.  Anyone who is willing do the job will need to commit the time.
>> The REOC is not merely advisory; it's oversight of the Editor entails real exercise of authority. 
>> REOC decisions well might come into conflict with demands by a stream. The recommendation 
>> above is therefore necessary to avoid conflicts of interest. It would not be good for a large 
>> fraction of the REOC to frequently recuse themselves because they're on both sides of a 
>> controversy.  This point probably needs to be a hard rule, whereas most of the other points 
>> here are guidelines.
>> Regarding time: I was taking into account reports that many I* leaders are massively 
>> overworked and that many others have the similar knowledge of broad requirements through 
>> prior experience. I was thinking of enlarging the base of people involved, but really didn't make 
>> a strong case for it with my terse language.  I hear that the IETF is putting too much load on 
>> too few people, and that this is a reason it is so difficult to find candidates for some positions.
>>> I also think there is value in having a few people involved in the streams be on the oversight committee.  Even as far as having someone from every stream.
>> As long as 'involved' doesn't conflict with the point above.  Note that the Overview doesn't say 
>> much about voting structure, other than the possibility of there being a non-voting IASA liaison.  
>> In time, more distinctions between liaison and regular members might be made, and voting and 
>> non-voting status might be used
>>>> 	- standing members of the various other I* entities. Doing so is unnecessary and could make it
>>>> 		more difficult for members to focus on Editor issues.
>>> Likewise, I don't see the need for this rule.  Please explain.
>> See above.
> Since the IAB is the appeal body for REOC decisions, there is already a built-in way to resolve severe conflict.  Therefore, I do not think we should go out of our way to exclude anyone.  We have already had a situation where IAOC members have held other I* seats.  No conflict surfaced.  Had there been an appeal of anIAOC decision to the other body, that dual-hatted person would have to recuse.  Not a big deal.
> Russ

I'd like to revisit all the points regarding REOC membership.  The current
text from the 'Overview' says:
"5.1.2.  Membership
    The REOC will be a small committee, defined by the IAB.  Terms will
    be two years renewable (with several one year terms initially, to
    stagger the renewals).  The membership will have the following skills
    or backgrounds (members may satisfy more than one of these criteria):

  	o  substantive knowledge of technical writing and publications,
  	o  substantial experience at using RFC Editor services as a author
	      or editor,
 	o  none may be from current streams approving bodies,
 	o  there may be a non-voting IASA liaison member.

    The REOC will elect its chair among the regular (non-liaison) members."

The motivation for the third bullet ("none may be from current streams 
approving bodies") was to avoid creating a structure that requires 
frequent recusals. (It may have been better stated as: "none may be 
current members of stream approver bodies".) This is especially so 
because the REOC will consider conflicts among the streams - arguably 
among the most important things the REOC will do.  Having stream 
members (by dint of being a current member of an approving body) 
recuse themselves means that the perspective of their stream will not be 
well represented, if at all, during that discussion. This loss of continuous 
presence by that stream will further reduce their influence within the 
REOC.  This would be undesirable.

The second bullet already points towards people historically involved with 
streams, and the perspective of the streams should be well represented.  
Because previous members will not need to be recused, the streams 
perspective will be better represented, and more continuously.  A plus all 

Then there is the issue of how the REOC views itself, and what sort of 
focus it has.  If the REOC tends towards being a committee of current 
streams (supply side customer) leadership, it risks being pulled by short-
term requirements. This is not entirely unreasonable - after all, the 
streams have serious requirements - but it can create a bias toward 
immediate issues to the detriment of long-term priorities and 
development.  Having people from and knowledgeable about the 
streams and what they need, but not from the stream approver bodies 
and thus not *representing* the streams per se, should provide the 
proper balance. Otherwise, we may find ourselves suffering from REOC 
members each representing narrow requirements of specific entity (e.g., 
a particular steam) and failing to come together to represent the overall 
interests of the community and the Internet.

Finally, I've written before how the RFC Editor has producer-side
(streams) and consumer-sider (readers) customers.  It will benefit the
Editor and the Series if the IAB can eventually find at least one outside
person who has extensive experience with the consumer side to appoint
to the REOC.


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