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RFC2850

IAB Response to Appeal from Dean Anderson, 13 July 2006.

Home»Appeals»2006» IAB Response to Appeal from Dean Anderson, 13 July 2006.

From: Leslie Daigle
To: Dean Anderson
Cc: iab@iab.org
Subj: IAB Response to Appeal by Dean Anderson dated 18 April 2006

Executive Summary

On 18 April 2006, the IAB received an appeal from Dean Anderson
regarding the decision, on appeal, of the IESG to uphold their
previous decision to issue an RFC 3683 Posting Rights Action (PR-
action) removing his posting rights on the IETF discussion list.
The IAB has now considered this appeal, deciding that the appeal is
denied and the IESG’s decision in this matter is upheld.

1. Introduction

On 18 April 2006, the IAB received an appeal from Dean Anderson
regarding the decision, on appeal, of the IESG to uphold their
previous decision to issue an RFC 3683 [RFC3683] Posting Rights
Action (PR-action) removing his posting rights on the IETF
discussion list. According to the procedures in Section 6.5.2 of
[RFC2026], the IAB has reviewed the situation and issues the
following response.

2. The Appeal Question

The appeal from Dean Anderson as submitted can be found at
http://www.iab.org/appeals/2006-04-18-anderson-appeal.html. The
IAB has interpreted the appeal in this extensive document as
requiring consideration of the following matters:

1. Did the evidence warrant the issue of the PR-action?

2. Was the procedure of Section 2 of RFC3683 followed adequately up
to when the initial PR-action was issued for Last Call?

3. Should any members of the IESG have recused themselves who
didn’t?

4. Did the IETF Last Call reach a consensus that the PR-action was
appropriate, was this consensus unduly affected by its original
incorrect announcement resulting in the extended duration of the
Last Call and was the consensus correctly called by the IESG?

5. Was the evidence examined fairly and without malice?

6. Did the IESG correctly action the appeal as specified by Section
6.5.4 of RFC 2026?

These matters will be addressed point by point in Section 5.

3. The Scope and Basis of the Appeal

Mr Anderson seeks resolution of both a working group dispute under
RFC 2026 Section 6.5.1 and resolution of process failure under RFC
2026 Section 6.5.2. The IESG PR-action that is the focus of the
dispute has no direct connection to working group processes. The
IAB has therefore restricted its considerations to matters of
potential process failure in the IESG’s handling of the PR-action.
This requires checking that Section 2 of RFC 3683 was followed for
the original process and Section 6.5.4 of RFC 2026 was followed by
the IESG for the subsequent appeal.

The IAB considers that the detail of the technical, commercial and
intellectual property disputes reiterated at length in the appeals
document is not relevant to the process matters relating to the PR-
action and they will not be considered further.

As with other recent appeals on matters of posting rights, the IAB
conclusions apply narrowly to the process used by the IESG in
issuing the original PR-action and upholding their decision in
the appeal determination of 20 March 2006.

4. IAB Members Considering this Appeal

This appeal was considered by the full set of voting members of the
IAB except for Brian Carpenter (IETF Chair) who recused himself
because of his previous involvement with this matter as a member of
the IESG.

The remaining voting members of the IAB considered the type of
associations Mr. Anderson described as “conflicts of interest” for
the IESG. The IAB determined which members might be considered to
have similar associations; the rest discussed and agreed the
associations did not constitute material conflicts of interest in
this case, and the consideration of the appeal proceeded with all
IAB voting members except Brian Carpenter.

5. IAB Considerations

This section addresses each of the matters listed in Section 2 in
turn.

5.1. Did the evidence warrant the issue of the PR-action?

The IAB reviewed the messages cited in the PR-action as well as the
mailing lists in question (IETF, dnsops, etc.) and agrees with the
IESG that there was adequate evidence to justify the PR-action. We
observe that the interpretation in Mr. Anderson’s appeal of certain
individual messages are in many cases not the interpretation that
the IAB has of those same messages as they appeared in their
original context.

Mr Anderson’s continued disruption of the IETF’s discussions both
through postings containing inflammatory and unprofessional attacks,
repeated re-opening of closed topics and remarks about individual
contributors (perceived as ad hominem attacks) fall within the
criteria expressed in RFC3863, and that process is therefore
applicable.

5.2. Was the procedure of Section 2 of RFC3683 followed adequately up
to when the initial PR-action was issued for Last Call?

The IAB reviewed the specific points raised by Mr. Anderson, and the
available facts in the matter, and compared them to the process
outlined in RFC 3683. It is the determination of the IAB that the
process of Section 2 of RFC 3683 was followed adequately, and that
Mr Anderson’s specific complaints are not well grounded. Greater
apparent transparency might have been achieved by having somebody
else author the notice, but the oversight of the remaining IESG
members appeared to be adequate to eliminate any inappropriate
influence that the ‘initiator’ might have had on the outcome.

5.3. Should any members of the IESG have recused themselves who didn’t?

Mr Anderson considers that both Brian Carpenter and David Kessens
have significant conflicts of interest.

The IAB reviewed the facts and determined that the claims against
Brian Carpenter are unsubstantiated – his actions were clearly
focused on legitimate refereeing. Similarly, David Kessen’s actions
were aimed at appropriate warnings to Mr. Anderson; indeed, he would
have been failing in his responsibilities as area director for the
Ops area had he not done so. The IAB does not find any substance to
Mr. Anderson’s claims that Mr. Kessens has an association with a
company with which Mr. Anderson has issues. Accordingly, there is
no substantial reason for either of the two people named to recuse
themselves once it had been decided to go ahead with the process.

Arguably the claim of conflict of interest against David Kessens as
introducer of the request for the PR-action could have been further
vitiated by having a different member of the IESG write up the
notice served on Mr Anderson, but the document was subject to review
by all IESG members who would have been made aware of the issues
from the messages cited. The IAB considers that the IESG was
entitled to delegate this work to Mr Kessens as the most efficient
course of action and that there was no conflict of interest.

5.4. Was the IETF Last Call Process handled correctly and the concensus
correctly called?

The IESG originally announced the last call on the wrong list. Mr
Anderson complains that the re-issuing of the last call on the
correct list with an extended deadline ‘disrupted the discussion’.

The appeal provided no evidence on the claimed discussion
disruption. The effect was merely an extended last call during
which time Mr Anderson’s posting rights were maintained. It appears
there were less than 10 messages on the main IETF Discussion list
regarding this specific Last Call (as opposed to meta-discussion of
the whole RFC 3683 process mainly associated with a previous
action). A similar number of messages were also received directly
by the IESG during this period.

Subsequent to the end of the Last Call, the IESG determined that
there was an adequate consensus in support of the proposed PR-action
and they confirmed the PR-action. The IAB has reviewed both the
public mail archives and the mails sent directly to the IESG. The
IAB finds that they demonstrate that the community at large took a
serious interest in this issue. Opinions were expressed both for
and against the appropriateness of the PR-action as well as
expressing concerns about the usefulness of RFC 3683. After
considerable deliberation, the IAB believes that the IESG was
entitled to call the consensus in this way. The IAB has come to
this conclusion on a narrow interpretation: RFC 3683 has been
approved for use by the IETF and the IESG had been requested to
apply it. Discussions of the usefulness of RFC 3683 were not in
scope for this Last Call.

5.5. Was the evidence examined fairly and without malice?

From all the material the IAB reviewed, it does appear that the
evidence was examined fairly. Mr Anderson’s appeal document
examines the same evidence but the IAB believes his interpretation
of it does not stand up to scrutiny when the whole context is
considered.

5.6. Did the IESG correctly act on the appeal as specified by Section
6.5.4 of RFC 2026?

As regards the evidence on which the PR-action was served on Mr
Anderson, his appeal mostly reiterates the material that
precipitated the original request for a PR-action together with his
interpretation: there is no new evidence presented to justify an
appeal on evidential grounds, and some of the additional material
actually shows additional disruptive behavior. To that extent the
IESG’s refusal to indulge in re-analysis is justified.

6. IAB Conclusion on the Appeal

The IAB found that the processes of Section 2 of RFC 3683 for the
original PR-action and of Section 6.5.4 of RFC 2026 for the appeal
had been adequately carried out, and accordingly Dean Anderson’s
appeal is denied.

7. References

[RFC2026] Bradner, S., “The Internet Standards Process — Revision
3″, BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

[RFC3683] Rose, M., “A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF
mailing lists”, BCP 83, RFC 3683, February 2004.

[RFC3710] Alvestrand, H., “An IESG charter”, RFC 3710,
February 2004.

Leslie Daigle,
for the IAB.