[cabfpub] Ballot 203: Formation of Network Security Working Group

Ryan Sleevi sleevi at google.com
Mon Jun 5 21:07:54 UTC 2017

On Mon, Jun 5, 2017 at 4:49 PM, Gervase Markham <gerv at mozilla.org> wrote:

> On 05/06/17 21:28, Ryan Sleevi wrote:
> >     If we actually have a working group, we can gather expressions of
> >     interest, perhaps even choose a chair, and the interested parties can
> >     start defining a direction that their work will take them in.
> >
> > I'm not sure I understand this. How does a WG promote that - since you
> > could just as well accomplish the same in the F2F.
> You can't choose the chair of a WG without having a WG. You can't get
> people to commit to be in a WG without having a WG.

Well, sure, that's a circular definition - it doesn't say why those things
are needed, just that they're the result of a WG :)

> So those people
> can't then sit down and start work.

Of course they can. They can do it as part of the regular meetings and

> If having a WG is irrelevant to making progress, why did the last
> discussion of this topic conclude that we needed one? Why do we have
> them at all?

Because some members would rather _not_ participate in those discussion -
generally due to the time committments they entail. If they happen on the
list, members need to be comfortable setting up mail filters. If they
happen on the calls, the agendas need to be regularly set, and such
'optional' work deferred so that if members wish to drop off, they can.

They're optimizations - but not hard requirements.

> What I am expecting and hoping for is that Kirk as Forum Chair will, in
> anticipation of the passing of this ballot, add this WG to the list of
> meetings on the F2F WG day (Tuesday). Then, people interested in this
> topic will turn up (or make themselves known to Kirk if they can't be
> present), and the Chair will appoint one of those people as Chair of the
> WG, as the Bylaws say he should. The group will then begin to establish
> the mechanisms by which it will analyse the situation and deliver on its
> deliverables.

And the alternative to this is that the Chair can add to the Agenda a
discussion of this, with a discussion leader, who will accomplish the same
functional purpose as what I suspect you expect a Chair to do - to work on
scope, gathering requirements, determining interested participants, etc.

That meeting needs to be minuted - as per the bylaws - but that's the same
as a WG meeting. You can then enshrine those in a WG charter, incorporating
those discussions, if you want.

If you had it as a WG meeting, and members didn't want to participate, they
could do other things, go elsewhere, stay in the room, etc.
If you had it as a Forum Agenda item, and members didn't want to
participate, they could do other things, go elsewhere, stay in the room,

There's no difference in the participatory model.

> If this topic is to be addressed via a WG, this is all useful progress
> which could not be made nearly as well without a WG existing.

The only benefit a WG provides for those interested in progress is that it
has a chartered scope used to exclude work that is off topic, so that there
is a consistent and limited discussion scope. While all of our discussions
could benefit from this, it would not at all be unreasonable for a
discussion leader to assiduously hold such a line even in the absence of a

The only benefit a WG provides for those not interested in progress is that
it allows them to not participate or be bothered by participating. Having a
slot on the agenda where people know that is the case - which is, arguably,
the situation every one of our meetings has, with each member having their
own views on what is the 'necessary' and 'unnecessary' part of the agenda -
is not a big deal.

> If people feel this topic should not be addressed via a WG, they should
> obviously vote No on the ballot to charter it. (Hopefully with feedback
> as to how they think it would be better addressed.)

I don't think it's wrong to address via a WG. But a WG is just an
optimization - it's not a requirement for us to make progress in Berlin.
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