Network Working Group S. Dawkins
Request for Comments: 5078 Huawei (USA)
Updates: 3777 October 2007
IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and Recall Process:
Revision of the Nominating and Recall Committees Timeline
Status of This Memo
This memo provides information for the Internet community. It does
not specify an Internet standard of any kind. Distribution of this
memo is unlimited.
RFC 3777 defines the Nominations and Recall Committee's (NomCom's)
operation, and includes a sample timeline for major steps in the
NomCom process that meets the minimum normative requirements for the
process. Recent NomComs have been scheduling based on the sample
timeline, and the chairs of the last three NomComs -- Danny McPherson
(2004-2005), Ralph Droms (2005-2006), and Andrew Lange (2006-2007) --
have all reported that this timeline is very aggressive and suggested
starting earlier. This document restructures the sample timeline,
but makes no normative process changes.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22. The Problem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23. Interaction with IETF Face-to-Face Meeting Schedule . . . . . . 34. Proposed Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35. Sample Timeline for 2008-2009 NomCom Schedule . . . . . . . . . 46. Some Observations from the 2007-2008 NomCom Experience . . . . 67. Out-of-Scope Suggestions Requiring Normative Text Changes . . . 68. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 710. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
RFC 3777 ([RFC3777]) is a complete specification of the process by
which members of the IAB and IESG are selected, confirmed, and
recalled as of the date of its approval. [RFC3777] includes
normative requirements for timing allowed for the various steps, and
also includes an informative appendix, Appendix B, that contains a
timeline based on the normative text.
The normative time requirements in [RFC3777] are end-of-task, so
adjusting the informative timeline to get an earlier start does not
require changes to the normative text in [RFC3777].
In IETF 68, IETF 65, and IETF 62 plenary reports, NomCom chairs
suggested starting the NomCom cycle earlier. This document describes
a timeline that meets this need, replacing RFC 3777, Appendix B, and
makes no other changes to [RFC3777].
2. The Problem
There are several reasons that have been cited for the schedule
pressures reported by recent NomComs.
o A few common practices are not accounted for in the Appendix B
timeline [RFC3777]. For example, it is common to allow a week for
notifying unsuccessful nominees before the formal announcement is
made. This is not included in the timeline.
o Some tasks just seem to take longer than the minimum interval.
For example, a public "call for volunteers" must be open for 30
days, but the list of voting NomCom participants probably isn't
announced at midnight on the 30th day. Anecdotal evidence is that
allowing about 6 weeks is more consistent with recent experience.
o The NomCom, and the community it serves, tends to celebrate a
variety of holidays between the third IETF and the first IETF of
the next year, so people may be out of the office, may wait to
o The Appendix B timeline does not provide flexibility in case of
problems. For example, the NomCom chair "reset" the random
selection of volunteers for the 2006-2007 NomCom, requiring
another seven-day delay for the announcement of the date of random
All of these reasons can be accommodated by simply starting earlier
than is absolutely required.
3. Interaction with IETF Face-to-Face Meeting Schedule
In addition to these reasons for schedule pressure, it's worth noting
that the NomCom schedule and the IETF face-to-face meeting cycle
don't complement each other.
o When the NomCom volunteers are selected after the second IETF,
they don't have an opportunity to meet face-to-face and "get
organized" until the third IETF, when they should be winding up
their deliberations. This missed opportunity forces them to use
teleconferences and other less efficient means of communications
to get organized.
o The NomCom volunteers don't have a chance to conduct interviews
with the community, or with nominees, until the third IETF, during
the height of the NomCom effort. If the NomCom effort took place
before the third IETF, the NomCom could work on difficult
nominations, and meet face-to-face with nominees under
o If the NomCom is able to start interviews during the second IETF
meeting, starting earlier than is absolutely required may also
help NomCom be more effective.
4. Proposed Solution
The high-level description of the proposal is, of course, "start
earlier", but more precision would be helpful.
A sample, hypothetical timeline that meets these guidelines is shown
in Section 5. Please note that, like Appendix B in [RFC3777], this
timeline is not normative, but it meets the normative requirements
stated in [RFC3777].
Other timelines are certainly possible, including timelines that
allow the NomCom to report its results more than one month before the
first IETF, where the slate of nominees is announced. Finishing
early may be a good thing.
It's worth noting that the first step in the timeline is "ISOC
president appoints NomCom chair". This doesn't happen as an IETF
responsibility, but the reality is that the ISOC president needs to
identify NomCom chair candidates around the time of the first IETF;
she needs to have a shortlist 3 or 4 weeks after the first IETF.
This document suggests (but does not add a normative requirement to
[RFC3777]) that the outgoing NomCom Chair should verify that this
process is triggered during the first IETF.
1. One week is allowed for the NomCom chair to publish milestones.
2. Six weeks are allowed for solicitation of NomCom participants.
3. One week is allowed for confirmation of the selection of voting
members -- to allow at least some time for resolution if there is
4. The recommended time for NomCom self-organization is increased to
5. One week is allowed for NomCom establishing milestones.
6. In the sample timeline (Table 1), an additional five weeks is
allowed for the nominating bodies to select candidates.
7. The timeline is adjusted to allow one week at the end of the
process for notification of unsuccessful candidates.
This significantly increases the amount of time available for NomCom
to select candidates while still meeting the normative requirements
5. Sample Timeline for 2008-2009 NomCom Schedule
The following table shows a sample timeline for the 2008-2009 NomCom
schedule, based on the IETF dates for the second IETF (72nd IETF,
held July 27 - August 1, 2008), third IETF (73rd IETF, held November
16-21, 2008), and first IETF (74 IETF, held March 22-27, 2009).
Note that the duration of each milestone step is adjusted as
necessary for each NomCom, since the scheduled dates for IETF
meetings vary from year to year. This timeline allows the NomCom to
begin self organizing at the Second IETF (this is what "on time")
means in the table).
| 14 | Confirming | 4 | 2009/01/18 | 4 |
| | bodies accept | | | |
| | or reject | | | |
| (added | Notify | 1 | 2009/02/15 | |
| step) | unsuccessful | | | |
| | nominees | | | |
| 15 | Slate announced | 4 | 2009/02/22 | 4 |
| | 1 month before | | | |
| | 1st IETF | | | |
| | 1st IETF | | 2009/03/22 | |
New Step 1 Date: 2008/05/25, Old Step 1 Date: 2008/08/29
Table 16. Some Observations from the 2007-2008 NomCom Experience
Since the timeline described in this specification makes no normative
changes to [RFC3777], the 2007-2008 NomCom process started using the
new timeline to gain experience and shake out unexpected
consequences. We discovered the following things:
1. It is worth pointing out that the [RFC3777] requirement for
eligibility, "Members of the IETF community must have attended at
least 3 of the last 5 IETF meetings in order to volunteer.", is
affected when the NomCom chair issues an earlier call for
volunteers. For example, using the 2008-2009 NomCom example in
the doc: under the old schedule, a prospective member would need
to have attended three of IETF meetings 68-72. Under the new
schedule, that becomes three of IETF meetings 67-71.
2. It's worth noting that when NomCom uses the earlier timeline,
incumbents under review who were appointed to one-year terms have
only one IETF meeting cycle to establish a track record before
NomCom begins considering whether they should be retained. This
situation is rare but not unknown. The recent split of the RAI
area out of TSV created two one-year terms (one in RAI, and one
in TSV), and this can also happens if an IESG or IAB member
resigns with more than one year remaining in the member's term.
7. Out-of-Scope Suggestions Requiring Normative Text Changes
While there are very few avoidable serialized delays in [RFC3777], we
note that the minimum 30-day delay for volunteers is serialized after
the NomCom chair is named. This delay accounts for more than half
the elapsed time between the NomCom chair being named and the NomCom
itself forming. If a future normative revision to [RFC3777] changed
the mechanics for this call for volunteers, this call could be issued
while the NomCom chair is still being selected. This would allow the
new NomCom chair to begin work by announcing the date of random
selection, instead of just waiting for the volunteers to volunteer.
One possible trigger would be to have the outgoing NomCom chair issue
the call for volunteers on behalf of the successor NomCom chair, who
may not yet be identified, at the first IETF meeting each year.
8. Security Considerations
The NomCom timeline changes suggested in this document do not
directly affect the security of the Internet.
This draft is based on conversations with the chairs of the last
three NomComs: Danny McPherson (2004-2005), Ralph Droms (2005-2006),
and Andrew Lange (2006-2007), and on their corresponding plenary
NomCom Report presentations at IETF 62, IETF 65, and IETF 68,
The 2007 IESG discussed Andrew Lange's report at their face-to-face
retreat and requested a proposal that adjusted the informative
timeline with no normative changes.
Thanks to Russ Housley, current General Area director, for reviewing
an early version of this draft.
Thanks to Brian Carpenter, who pointed out that the IETF NomCom
portion of the timeline depends on the ISOC president appointing the
NomCom chair soon after the first IETF ("NomCom chairs don't appear
magically"), and provided a suggestion for ensuring that this happens
in a timeframe that allows NomCom to begin self organizing at the
Second IETF meeting each year.
Thanks to Sam Weiler, who pointed out the shift in meeting attendance
requirements described in Section 6.
We should also thank the editors of previous NomCom procedures for
developing a specification that we could "speed up" without changing
10. Normative References
[RFC3777] Galvin, J., "IAB and IESG Selection, Confirmation, and
Recall Process: Operation of the Nominating and Recall
Committees", BCP 10, RFC 3777, June 2004.
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