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Anybody can participate in the IETF (Was: Why is IPv6 broken?)

On Jul 10, 2011, at 9:16 AM, Jeroen Massar wrote:

> On 2011-07-10 17:56 , David Miller wrote:
> [..]
>> +1
>> The lack of will on the part of the IETF to attract input from and involve
>> operators in their processes (which I would posit is a critical element in
>> the process).
> Ehmmmm ANYBODY, including you, can sign up to the IETF mailing lists and
> participate there, just like a couple of folks from NANOG are already doing.
> You are on NANOG out of your own free will, the same applies to the
> IETF. If you don't participate here your voice is not heard either, just
> like at the IETF.
> Peeking at the ipv6 at ietf.org member list, I don't see your name there.
> You can signup here: https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/ipv6
> Greets,
> Jeroen

While this is true, there are a couple of factors that make it more difficult
than it would appear on the surface.

Number one: Participating effectively in IETF is a rather time-consuming
process. While a lot of engineers and developers may have IETF effort
as a primary part of their job function and/or get their employer to let
them spend time on it, operators are often too busy keeping what they
already have running and it can be _VERY_ difficult to get management
to support the idea of investing time in things like IETF which are not
seen by management as having direct operational impact. NANOG
is about the limit of their vision on such things and even that is not
well supported in a lot of organizations.

Number two: While anyone can participate, approaching IETF as an
operator requires a rather thick skin, or, at least it did the last couple
of times I attempted to participate. I've watched a few times where
operators were shouted down by purists and religion over basic
real-world operational concerns. It seems to be a relatively routine
practice and does not lead to operators wanting to come back to
an environment where they feel unwelcome.