IAB Response to an Appeal from J-F C. Morfin.
On September 9, 2006 the IAB received an appeal against several
previous IESG appeals from J-F C. Morfin dismissed by the IESG.
Mr. Morfin’s appeal contains 25 pages of text with a lot of background
and material. Based on the section on “Purpose of this appeal”, the IAB
concluded that Mr. Morfin was seeking redress for the following three
complaints relating to a PR Action affecting Mr Morfin initiated in
Ia. Against the decision to Last Call the PR Action Ib. Against
the decision on the PR Action.
II. Against the IESG deciding the PR Action prior to the processing
Mr. Morfin’s 2006/02/17 appeal.
On matters Ia and Ib we uphold the decisions of the IESG. Our reasoning
is presented in section 2 below.
On matter II, while the IAB has some concerns regarding the time it
took the IESG to handle the appeal, we uphold the ultimate decision
of the IESG to decide on the appeal action prior to processing the Feb
17 appeal. In section 3 we provide arguments and advice on this matter.
2. Last Call of and PR action.
There are a number of issues that we identified in the appeal to the
Last Call and the actual PR action.
* Mr. Morfin argues that RFC 3683 is in conflict with the universal
declaration of human rights.
Our view, supported by our legal counsel, is that the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights is not directed to non political-state
behavior and a discussion of this instrument, no matter how admirable
it may be, is not relevant to the appeal at hand.
* Mr. Morfin argues that various participants have conflicts of interest.
We reviewed and did not agree with Mr. Morfin that there were any
supportable conflicts of interest relevant to the PR action.
* Mr. Morfin argues that the PR Last Call was invalid because it did
not contain Mr. Alvestrand’s original request to the IESG.
RFC 3683 clearly states that the PR action is initiated by an AD. That
Mr. Alvestrand’s request lead to the PR action is irrelevant to the Last Call.
* Mr. Morfin argues he is actually not disrupting the
Mr. Morfin argues that RFC 3683 does not apply to expert review lists
because they are not consensus driven. In the IAB’s opinion, this
is an overly strict interpretation of non-normative text in RFC 3638.
RFC3683’s purpose is to provide guidelines for handling disruption in
the open mailing lists that are at core to the IETF work. In RFC3683
the disruption of the consensus-driven process is provided as an example.
* Mr. Morfin argues that a PR action based on behavior on lists or in
working groups that have ceased to exist is moot.
An RFC 3683 PR action allows maintainers of lists under IETF auspices
to revoke a subject’s posting rights. These PR actions are based on
observed behavior of the subject. The action is not based on where
within the IETF context, that behavior took place. That the list and
working group do not exist or are inactive is irrelevant.
* Mr. Morfin argues that he was not disruptive but rather others
were acting against him and that the PR Last Call contained
pointers to disruptive messages towards him.
The pointers that were provided in the Last Call were, in majority,
warnings and suspension messages. Technically Mr. Morfin is correct
that those messages all contain actions directed towards him. However,
to us it is clear that the content of those messages contain references
that demonstrated the behavior leading to the PR action.
* Mr. Morfin argues that because the decision’s votes were not
published, and voting does not constitute the usual
consensus-based process, the decision by the IESG is invalid.
We are of the opinion that the use of voting as an instrument to judge
if consensus exists is not unusual. There is no requirement to publish
the result of those votes. There is no indication that within the IESG
there was not rough consensus on the decision.
* Mr. Morfin finally argues that the PR action is partly based on a
suspension that the IAB overturned.
We overturned the suspension by Mr. Alvestrand on procedural grounds.
The fact that the suspension by Mr. Alvestrand is used as a pointer
to the alleged misbehavior is not sufficient grounds to revert the PR action.
3. The timing of the PR decision.
* Mr. Morfin argues that the IESG should have first dealt with his
appeal on the Last Call before deciding on the PR action
itself. Mr. Morfin also complains about the length between
filing the appeal and receiving an answer.
The IESG response to the appeal states:
The IESG decided not to consider this appeal until after deciding
the PR-action, and then not to do so until Mr Morfin’s expected
appeal against the PR-action.
It is within normal IETF practice to not stop operation in the face of
an active appeal, and the IAB therefore believes the IESG was within
its rights to decide the PR-action prior to the appeal.
However, we believe that appeal bodies should not block consideration
of an appeal based on expectations of future appeals, except when
clearly communicated with the appellant. Rather, each appeal should
be expediently considered as it is received.
Hence, while the IAB upholds the ultimate result of the appeal, we
believe the IESG acted inappropriately in not immediately considering
the appeal. Future appeals should be considered without waiting
for additional appeals, except as agreed on by the appellant.
Mr. Morfin argues that the decision to withdraw the appeal agenda item
was itself a decision on the appeal. The IAB does not agree with that
for the IAB.
> On 20:45 11/09/2006, Leslie Daigle said:
> >Mr. Morfin,
> >Please deliver a copy of your actual appeal text. I appreciate
> >the care in not overburdening mailboxes, but we require receipt >of
> a single, agreed-upon, canonical text of the appeal.
> Dear Leslie, Phil, and IAB Members,
> Here it is. However, I understand that the date is the date I sent my
> mail to you (2006/09/09).
> Thank you for your care.
> Best regards.
> >JFC Morfin wrote:
> >>Dear Leslie and IAB Members,
> >>I appeal of the IESG dismissals on 2006/07/10 of my appeals of
> >>2006/02/17 against a PR-action LC and of 2006/05/17 against a
> >>PR-action decision by the IESG.
> >>You will find that appeal at http://jefsey.com/appeal-pr-iab.pdf .
> >>Please indicate if you have any problem to retrieve it (my
> OpenOffice >>plays me tricks with .doc and .pdf files). I preferred
> not to >>overload IAB and IESG Members with that file in attachment.
> >>I also appeal in the same document the decision of the IESG
> published >>in its 2006/07/10 responses on the timing of its answers.
> There may >>some doubt to know if this last point is or not to be
> appealed first >>to the IESG. This appeals having to be forwarded
> before 9/10 and >>being uncommunicando for 48 hours, I sent an appeal
> to the IESG Chair >>and Members and copied you.
> >>I am sorry to have again to appeal to the IAB. But the IESG has
> >>decided that I should escalate to you points which should be
> >>addressed at WG layer. This appeal object to that decision.
> >>Sincerely yours.