Current Meeting Report
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2.2.2 Operation of the IESG/IAB Nominating and Recall Committees (nomcom)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 55th IETF Meeting in Altanta, Georgia USA. It may now be out-of-date.

Last Modifield: 07/15/2002

Avri Doria <>
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Harald Alvestrand <>
General Area Advisor:
Harald Alvestrand <>
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Description of Working Group:
RFC2727 (BCP10) specifies the process by which the members of the IAB and IESG are selected, confirmed, and recalled. It has been two years and three nominating committees since the document was updated. The experience has identified a number of areas where the process could be both improved by additional clarifications and updated with additional guidance.

This working group will consider all such clarifications and suggestions and produce a revision to RFC2727. However, the basic mechanism of selection, confirmation, and recall will not be changed by this group. It is only concerned with the details of the current process.

The input document will be draft-galvin-rfc2727bis-00.txt.

Goals and Milestones:
MAY 02  Initial set of issues to be addressed selected
JUN 02  Revised I-D published
JUL 02  Revised I-D published, WG Last Call started
AUG 02  Submission to IESG for publication
  • - draft-ietf-nomcom-rfc2727bis-01.txt
  • No Request For Comments

    Current Meeting Report

    Notes taken by Elliot Lear
    Meeting Chaired by Avri Doria
    Jim Galvin discussed the differences between 
    draft-ietf-nomcom-rfc2727bis-01.txt and -02.txt
    Several Issues were brought up during this discussion:
     One issue that was discussed was whether the definitions of the roles for 
    advisors and liaisons reflected current practice or not.  There was a 
    disagreement on this point between 2 previous NomCom chairs: Don 
    Eastlake and Avri Doria.  Jim maintained that the current text reflects the 
    intent of RFC2727.  The old version indicated explicitly who votes on 
    what, while new version specifies that only voting volunteers vote on 
    candidate issues and everything else is open to other members. The -02 
    version lists explicit responsibilities of each role.  This is new text.  
    The issue needs to be reviewed by the WG list.
     Phil Roberts brought up an issue about filling replacements.  The 
    current random selection process is renewable, but needs 
    clarification about how to reinitiate the system.  Right now someone can 
    figure out who the next choices would be.  Jim pointed out that this is 
    covered in the -02 draft with an additional week to reset the random 
     WG participants were asked to review the latest draft as it contains new 
    language in many areas.
    After the review of the -02 draft, open issues that had not yet been 
    resolved were discussed.
    The first issue involved the qualification for volunteering with the basic 
    question being was attendance at 2 out 3 of the last IETF meetings a 
    sufficient criteria.
     Joel Halpern observed that we seem to have a problem of not getting 
    enough experienced IETF participants on the nomcom.  We need to 
    encourage more participation.  He  didn't like the idea of 2 pools.  Maybe 4 
    out of 6 IETF meeting would be better then 2 out of 3?
     Don Eastlake observed that a jury pool model would not work because the 
    commitment involved was too substantial.
     Dave Allen commented in favor of allowing people who had attended many 
    IETFs to be included, the big N proposal, even they did not meet the 
    recent attendance requirements.  He further commented that the process 
    could arbitrarily select people from one area in the same way it has it has 
    selected people from one company.
     Mark Allman agreed that the 2 out of the last 3 rule is 
    insufficient.  Would like to see some weighting of rules for including 
    management experience.  Would like to see something that has a little bit 
    longer time scale.
     George Swallow commented that after 2 IETF meetings he didn't have a clue as 
    to how the IETF was organized.
     Michael Richardson, currently on the NomCom, commented that the current 
    NomCom doesn't suffer from lack of experience.  But if you've been to one, 
    missed one, and then went to a third, then that's a different problem.  
    Things aren't all that broken.  He believes that self selection already 
    occurs, based on whether people believe they know what's going on.
     Don Eastlake stated that as long as the nomcom has a finite number of 
    volunteers there will always be some bias in some way or another.  It's 
    okay for it to be imperfect.  Not sure he'd be happy with an IETF that ran 
    purely smoothly.
     Harald suggested two changes:
      - add a statement to the oral tradition 'if you don't know how the IETF 
    works don't volunteer for NomCom.
      - change from 2 out of 3 IETFs to 3 out of 5 IETFs
     A hum was requested on the 3 out of 5 versus of 2 out of 3.  The 3 out of 5 
    was the unanimous view of the room.
     John Klensin commented that there were 2 reasons to volunteer.
     1 is obligation.
     2 is that one has an ax to grind.
     He's worried about the "don't volunteer" folk self selecting out in favor of 
    the ax grinders.
     A hum was requested on adding a statement to the oral tradition of 
    "don't volunteer if you don't know what's going on."
     The group seemed to lean toward adding the statement.
     The chair reminded the meeting that a hum is just an indication.  This all 
    goes out to the mailing list.
     Jim Galvin asked what goal is the group trying to achieve?
     Harald responded that since he made the suggestion he should say 
    something.  One property of mailing list discussions is that they fly off in 
    all directions.  It's easier to discuss when you have a specific 
    proposal.  So he made a specific proposal.  The problems that is to be 
    solved is that we want people who have more experience just than 6 months 
    participation volunteering for the NomCom.
     Eliot asked why 3 out of 5?  Why not 4 out of 6 or 5 out of 7, etc?
     Jim mentioned pool of people increases as you go from 2/3 to 3/5, etc.
     Avri responded that we don't really know that.
     George Swallow mentioned that though he hummed in favor of 3/5 he would 
    also support requiring a minimum of having attended 5 meeting ever, AND 
    attendance at 2 out of the last 3 meetings.
     Avri pointed out that this that would bias the selection procedure in 
    favor of long time participants.
     Harald said we should ask the secretariat for numbers.
     Avri asked if the room favored adding a requirements for increased 
    number of meeting attended in the past as George recommended.  The room was 
    not in favor of the proposal.
     Ron Da Silva had a last comment regarding language stating that it's 
    important to encourage people to understand the process.  He suggested that 
    the oral tradition indicate where people could learn about the process and 
    recommend that they then reconsider volunteering.
    The next issue involved limiting the number of participants from a single 
    group or company
    In the WG list discussions to date, there was no consensus on 
    definition of company, group, or organization, but but there seem to be 
    consensus that the maximum number should be 2.
    Was a strict definition of control group necessary and should other 
    diversity or lack there of be considered?
    The meeting reviewed some very legalistic language that had been 
    proposed on the list.
     Michael Richardson thought that it seems like a good idea.  
    Understanding that this would be done only at selection time, and that 
    subsequent acquisitions or change of employment would not impact 
     Ross Callon asked if all the various wings of the U.S. or other 
    governments would count as one organization.
     John Klensin commented that when ANSI went down this path for 
    balloting, their first cut labeled the U.S. as a single entity, but that 
    would have cut attendance to nothing.  Same issue involving large 
    companies with separate divisions.
     Ross Callon likes the rule.  Doesn't mind U.S. government agencies being 
    counted separately.
     Don Eastlake doesn't expect perfection.  It is unfortunate that we have to 
    do something like this.  Where there appears to be substantial bias or the 
    appearance such that people bend over backwards to avoid it, then public 
    oversight is important.  If people try to game the system then people will 
    notice.  When the pools were small, this was impossible.  If you have 100 
    volunteers where 10 or more are from the same company, the 
    probability of 4 or more from the same company is 1.3%.  With multiple 
    large companies, that probably increases to 5% or so.
     John Klensin is suspicious of measuring probability with reality.  We 
    should say that packing behavior is inappropriate.  We should consider a 
    mechanism for challenging a list of selected members, and a way to 
    challenge the company to indicate whether it was packing or not.
     Jim Galvin responded there is in fact a one week challenge period after the 
    announcement, but there is no process for actually challenging.
     Don Eastlake believes the criteria needs to be public and 
    challengeable, but only for a brief period of time so that you have a 
    stable nomcom.  Not sure there is a corporate conspiracy, it's more word of 
    mouth.  E.g. he works for a company that gives bonuses based on 
    standards activity.  Perhaps there are companies who would remunerate 
    based on their involvement.  Wants some sort of rule like what is 
     John Klensin would prefer to rely on integrity of individuals.
     Steve Silverman asked "as a consultant, how does he fit in"?
     Avri responded one would state affiliation, so it's up to the 
    individual, and is subject to challenge.
     Lou Berger commented we have an existence proof that community 
    pressure does not work.  He seconds the rule.  No subjectivity to the 
    proposal.  No bias to particular organizations.
     Joel Halpern stated that there are other dimensions as to why we need such a 
    rule.  If companies believe it is possible to pack the nomcom, then they 
    will try in order to protect themselves.  And we need to make it clear that 
    they can't.
     John Klensin completely agrees with Joel.  But he doesn't think this is the 
    right solution.  He disagrees that public pressure doesn't work.  We're 
    creating lawyer bate through the limitation as it is worded.  If we 
    introduce a formal procedure then the courts will decide.
     Harald said that at the time of volunteering a person states their 
    affiliation, the person doing the picking rejects people who have the same 
    string in their affiliation.  Put the onus on the individual, not on the 
    process.  Joel says this proposal has too much detail, but agrees it 
    should be made mechanical.
     Marshall Rose claimed that we've already crossed the lawyer bate 
     Joel Halpern argued that John's point is valid, but that we can fix it by 
    stating that this is a best effort and not perfect.
     John Klensin responded that if a company decides that it's in its 
    corporate advantage to game the procedure, they will do it.  The rule is too 
    fuzzy.  Get people to self identify, again putting the onus on the 
    individual, and then use a challenge process.
     Eliot Lear was concerned about both the perception and the potential 
    reality of a government packing the nomcom.  Depending on the 
    administration of a government this could be the case.
     Jeff Hultzman stated it doesn't hurt us if more than 2 folk from the same 
    government can't serve.  We're not ANSI.
     Avri stated that seems to be a consensus for some sort of a rule, 
    choosing the middle path of having people self identify and remove 
    themselves.  Asked if that was correct?
     Marshall Rose pointed out that there are 2 issues.
      - Level of formality.
      - Voluntary or mandatory removal.
     Don Eastlake said we need a rule that can be executed by a person, not a 
     Lou Berger said he was confused by the summary.  Informal or formal?  If 
    formal, what's the enforcement mechanism?
     Avri said she believed legalistic language was more a problem than an 
     Lou Berger said we ask the ISOC counsel to help us here.
     Avri asked if we want legal language?
     Lou Berger said we still need to ask the ISOC to review the language to 
    keep us from getting into trouble.
     Harald informed the group that the language of the present RFC has been 
    reviewed and that the language of the next RFC will be reviewed prior to 
     Eliot added that once you have legalistic language, then you need 
    lawyers to interpret it, and then you have blood in the water.
    The next issue involved the question of whether there should  be a 
    process for resolving challenges over volunteer selection?
    The current draft allows time is allowed for challenge but does not 
    indicate a specific process. Especially if control group notion is added, 
    challenges might be more likely.
    The question is whether resolving any challenges should be left to nomcom 
     Jim Galvin responded that to be precise, there is no ADDITIONAL 
    process.  Anyone can move for a challenge, and they use the ordinary IETF 
    appeals process, with the exception is that the challenge is to be 
    directed at the IETF chair.  It's also worth noting, there's no defined 
    time period for the IETF appeals process.
     Eliot Lear commented that maybe there should be some time frame.
     Marshall asked Harald how long would it take for him to resolve a 
     Harald that it depends.  If the challenge was specious, up to 2 weeks. If it 
    was a serious issue, it would be harder to bound.  There has never been a 
    challenge to deal with.
     Marshall responded that we have a serious problem, because the IETF 
    appeals process wasn't designed for this purpose.
     Harald said we might want to add language saying that makes it 
    possible for the nomcom to operate with those who were not 
     Jim pointed out that the NomCom is permitted to continue forward, but they 
    cannot submit a slate to a confirming body while a challenge is in 
    process.  Dispute resolution process has a time limit of 2 weeks.
     Avri pointed out that using the IESG means the possible candidates could 
    become the judges in this process.
     Steve Coya suggested going right to the IETF chair and not involving the 
    entire IESG.  Harald commented that he objects.
     Lou Berger suggested it go from the NomCom chair to the ISOC 
     Jim Galvin suggested that the NomCom chair runs the process, so it would 
    have to be the ISOC president that handled a challenge.
     Don Eastlake pointed out that it would not necessarily be an 
    adversarial process in every case.  The chair should be given 
    opportunity to correct mistakes.
     A Hum was in favor of Lou Berger's proposals.
    The next issue involved mid term vacancy procedures
    A new procedures has already been documented but has not seen much 
    discussion.  The new procedure involves a 3 month overlap for handling 
    midterm vacancy.  There would be no overlap for handling regular 
     Scott Bradner noted that there is potential for a great deal of 
    confusion. Perhaps it would be better for  a seat to sit idle.
     Harald mentioned that a possible vacancy of both members of an IESG area 
    could be a serious problem.  In fact it would be disastrous to have 6 
    month vacancies.
     Scott Bradner mentioned that the NomCom only acts when the IESG or IAB 
    informs them of a vacancy.
     Jim responded that the IAB or IESG didn't have a choice as to which 
    NomCom filled a vacancy.  But the IESG or IAB could choose to not to fill a 
    vacancy by not informing the NomCom.
     Leslie Daigle pointed out that we must be mindful of what happened in the 
    routing area last year.
     Jim Galvin agreed that we should have overlapping NomComs, but that is a 
    slippery slope.
     Phil Roberts commented that if you have two NomComs going at the same 
    time, one of which is filling a midterm vacancy and the other is filling the 
    other vacancy in the same area, it seems strange, and this might lead to 
    poor dynamics between the two people who are selected.  If you 
    reconstitute a NomCom after they've gone dormant, there is more of a risk of 
    having to find replacement volunteers.
     A hum was requested in favor of leaving wording of document as is. A hum 
    was inconclusive about adding a restriction about serving in 
    consecutive 15 month NomComs.
     Scott Bradner pointed out that question was perhaps confusing.
     Eliot Lear addressed Phil Roberts' point saying that hopefully the old 
    NomCom would fill midterm vacancies prior to the new NomCom submits its 
    The next topic concerned the recall procedure of IESG/IAB members, and how it 
    gets initiated
    The current procedure is susceptible to DOS attack.  A mechanism needed to 
    protect against this is needed.  The proposal presented involved 
    requiring that 2% of average attendance sign a petition in order to 
    initiate the current recall procedure.
     Don Eastlake thought the procedure should be 2% of number of 
    QUALIFIED people according to the 2 out of 3 meetings rule, and that it 
    should not be based only on attendance.
     Harald supported Don's change.
     John Klensin indicated that if we are going to have petition lists the 
    list should be public.
     Steve Silverman asked if anyone had done this? [NO] He suggested that 3 
    people instead of one, would be ok.  But questioned requiring 40?
     Marshall explained that this procedure was as added as a last minute 
    afterthought.  Surprising no one has invoked it.
     Harald asked how many people are needed?  Thinking about the end game, is 
    there a situation where someone should be removed from office without 40 
    people being able to agree. Should you really want to have that person 
     David Putzolu supported the proposal and agreed that it was useful to only 
    count nomcom eligible signatures, as otherwise one could have random 
    people sign recall petitions. 
     Avri pointed out that the proposal called for the petition signers to be 
    qualified to serve on the NomCom
     A hum was generally in favor of the proposal
    The meeting was adjourned.