Monday, August 09, 2004

Tim Bray, a veteran of many other Internet/engineering communities, is a newcomer to the IETF, and was slightly disturbed by some of what he saw. With open mind, he attended IETF meetings, both a few official in-person meetings and the meeting Saint Peter calls the "undernet" of the plenary, the badattitude jabber room (named after a tradition of corporate criticism).

Like Saint Peter, I'm not concerned about what Tim Bray calls the "severe angst" that appeared in badattitude. I think when you invite a group of people together to complain and rant, they do so, attempting to be humorous and entertain each other, at the expense of reflecting the entire reality and balance of their opinions. In fact, several of us have noticed that ever since badattitude started existing during IETF plenaries, there's much fewer dissent voiced at the microphone. Badattitude only has about 60 people and there can be 600 in the actual plenary room so it's hard to believe that allowing 10% of the people to let off steam can directly reduce the microphone usage by a noticeable amount (clearly more than 10%). Theories include:
  • Uncorrelated -- people stopped complaining during open-microphone for other reasons.
  • Tipping point -- the few people whose frustration was reduced through badattitude, and didn't go to the microphone, brought microphone usage below some tipping point, influencing others not to complain as well.
  • The Squawker Squad -- the possibility that the people I know happen to be those most likely to complain, and by drawing them into badattitude I induced a significant percentage of the bellyachers to give their opinions elsewhere.
The first theory is the most likely but I prefer the last (/me grins).

I was supposed to have a full transcript of the badattitude jabber room due to the automatic logging functionality of the jabber client, but nitro ate the chat log. Really -- it's gone, except for the first five minutes. Honest. Anyway, some folks logged in under their real names and might not like it published.

1 comment:

Paul said...

>Anyway, some folks logged in under their real names and might not like it published.

Er, that would be me. Those comments were meant to be momentary and mostly in-context. Particularly the one about chains.

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