I don't think the IETF, either as a whole, in any of its working
groups, or as individuals, need feel inhibited about having the same
sorts of discussions in Beijing that it would have anywhere else.
Run the experiment and get some data. Survey attendees afterwards and
find out what everyone felt. (My prediction: There will be more
discussion about the usual problems of not enough cookies, location of
restaurants, connectivity, etc.)
On Sep 20, 2009, at 12:37 PM, Michael StJohns wrote:
> Hi Steve -
> To paraphrase, you believe we should accept constraints upon the
> topics that can be raised at the meeting (stick to the center) as
> the cost of doing business in China. And the reason for that is to
> maintain the relevance of the IETF?
> I'm finding this argument not well constructed.
> I agree that engagement is good, but the IETF is about individuals
> and we engage better at a personal level than IETF to country.
> That can be accomplished at any venue - and possibly better at a
> venue without excessive constraints on discussion.
> I'd be happy to have a WG meeting in the PRC - on topics other than
> those common to the security area, but I remain concerned about
> prior restraint for the IETF as a whole as a price of holding a
> meeting there.
> At 03:55 PM 9/19/2009, Steve Crocker wrote:
>> The choice is between engaging and not engaging. Engaging is better.
>> Not engaging isn't constructive. The Internet and the IETF are all
>> about engaging, expanding, communicating and being open. Much of
>> dialog has been worried about possible extreme situations. Let's
>> focus on the center. More than a billion people live in China and
>> their use of the Internet is expanding rapidly. They are building
>> much of the technology and contributing technically. It's to
>> everyone's advantage to have comfortable, constructive interaction.
>> Our first slogan was "Networks Bring People Together."
>> If you prefer to focus on the negatives, here's my analysis:
>> If we don't go to China, we have charted a downhill course and the
>> rest of the world will come together without us. The IETF will lose
> This construction is black and white and somewhat irrelevant. The
> IETF not meeting at this time in China is unlikely to make the rest
> of the world "come together without us". Nor will us going to the
> meeting be the sole reason for the world coming together with us.
>> If we do go to China and something bad happens, the consequences will
>> be much worse for China than for the IETF. The work of the IETF will
>> suffer a bit, but we'll recover quickly enough. However, China's
>> quest for engagement with the rest of the world will be hurt more
> There's bad and there's BAD. I'm mostly concerned not about the
> whole IETF being kicked out of the hotel/PRC, but in individuals
> being sequestered or removed for speech that in any other IETF venue
> would be relevant and on-topic for the technical discussion. That
> (fear of) prior restraint has a strong possibility of adversely
> affecting the IETF by limiting discussion and constraining the free
> flow of ideas. And that - free flow of ideas- not "engagement" - is
> the strength of the IETF.
>> Bottom line: We should go to China with a positive attitude. We're
>> robust enough to deal with any consequences. If we don't go to
>> however, we have weakened ourselves.
> Bottom line - we should be the IETF and find venues that will accept
> us for ourselves.
> Hmm.. I was going to stop there, but let's ask the meta question:
> What is the maximum set of constraints you think we should accept on
> the IETF as the price of holding a meeting? For example, would it
> be acceptable to go somewhere where a class of IETF participant were
> treated as 2nd class citizens and possibly segregated? Would it be
> acceptable to go somewhere where ALL presentations had to be vetted
> and approved by the local government? Etc?
> Its all about slippery slopes - if we accept constraints other than
> those we impose upon ourselves, we weaken ourselves.
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