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RE: Re: Membership on an 802.3ae Reflector

Thank you Howard.

There is little doubt that the current system works pretty darn well and we
do not want to mess with it. I, as chair, have no desire to do so. The
reflector policies are, in my humble opinion, simply a statement of what is
already in existence, known, and understood by those who have participated
in prior Ethernet standards efforts.

Please, understand that with the following comment I am not trying to turn
this reflector into a forum for discussion on political philosophy (hint!):
As with any "freedom" or "liberty" there is tied to it a level of personal
and group responsibility on which it rests. Rules, which tend to restrict
liberty, are usually applied when these liberties lead to abuse.

Let us resolve individually and collectively to avoid going down that path.


Chair, IEEE 802.3 Higher Speed Study Group

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx
[mailto:owner-stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx]On Behalf Of Howard Frazier
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2000 9:21 PM
To: stds-802-3-hssg@xxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Re: Membership on an 802.3ae Reflector

Here's my two cents on reflector membership vs attendance at meetings.

For 802.3z, we had no such restriction.  Anybody who asked to
be added to the reflector was added, with only two conditions:

   1) You had to make the request on your own behalf.  I wouldn't
      accept "proxy" requests.

   2) You couldn't subscribe a reflector to the reflector.  I
      needed to be able to add or delete individual addresses,
      so each subscription was on an individual basis.

The Rules of Engagement that I dictated as chair were otherwise similar
to what Jonathan has dictated for the newest incarnation of the HSSG.

I can recall many instances where valuable input was received from
individuals who did not attend any meetings, let alone on a regular
basis.  These "outsiders" often brought a fresh point of view to
the discussions by questioning the conventional wisdom.  This was
beneficial.  Sometimes us standards weenies argue so loudly
about the angel count that we miss the sound of the pin dropping.

I even went so far as to further dictate that all subscribers to the
email reflector were officially considered members of the Task Force
as far as access to the drafts were concerned.  I sent the secret
password that you needed to get the draft out on the reflector.

There were also times when "outsiders" asked stupid questions or made
particularly naive remarks.  Had they attended a meeting, they probably
would have understood the obvious and kept quiet.  Usually, one or more
of the members of the establishment would point out the error in the
newbie's thinking, occasionally even using a civil tone of voice.  In
a few cases, I had to personally intervene by contacting one or
more of the flame warriors and offering them a clue.

The old stds-802-3-hssg reflector had about 800 names on it.
That's just about the same size as the current incarnation.  Meeting
attendance is usually around 100 to 150, and there are new faces showing
up, and old friends fading away at every meeting. People's interest
in the project often exceeds their available time and budget for attending
meetings.  There are also people who come to the meetings regularly, but
do nothing more than sign the attendance book and drink coffee.

Also, we already have voting procedures (at the WG level and the Sponsor
level) where there are membership requirements.  This is necessary to bring
order to the balloting and comment process.  In the brainstorming/drafting/
concensus building stage, we can benefit from hearing as many points of
view as possible.

On balance, I have to disagree with a policy that ties reflector
subscriptions to meeting attendance.  Openess is preferable.  We should
perform our work with full illumination and participation.   Attendance
at standards meetings isn't a guarantee of competence in standards
related email discussions.

Of course, any one who feels inclined to ignore the opinion of people who
don't attend meetings is free to build an email filter that will screen
out the messages from the disenfranchised.  A digital implementation of
such a filter springs immediately to mind.  It consists of a finger,
clicking a mouse on the DELETE button.

Howard Frazier
Cisco Systems, Inc.