[arin-discuss] process and description of meetings (was: (non)ability to follow PPML)

Lee Howard spiffnolee at yahoo.com
Sat Jun 13 08:50:31 EDT 2009

Steve Bertrand wrote:
> My post had me find that:

(I started to delete your findings, but they're too good.  Your notes are 
consistent with my opinions of ARIN community, members, and AC)

> - the members within the AC really do care, and without question, will
> take the time to respond to questions/concerns, no matter how small or
> insignificant they seem
> - there are many other members out there who are also small
> ops/engineers (in the sense of IPv4 holdings size)
> - there are many other members out there who have a very difficult time
> following policy discussion on the PPML, and moreover, feel that their
> input might not be welcome, as it could be inserted untimely into a thread

I personally try to thank every new contributor to the list.  I sometimes
skip people who are already active contributors at IETF or NANOG,
or people who start out with an aggressive tone.
> - there are current AC members who are actively managing "small"
> networks, which provides (me with) a feeling of understanding
> - the majority of the people who replied to me expressed how they
> personally try to deal with the number of posts to the PPML using
> different technical techniques, signifying (to me) that a portion of the
> members on the list can't keep up
> - some have stated that there needs to be an aggregation tactic in
> place, that will consolidate the important points from the list
> regarding policy discussion

I would worry about the filters of the person aggregating the posts.
But maybe we can do better.
> I really care about the future of global IP communication. If the
> numbering resource hierarchy falls apart, I feel that everything I have
> learnt up until now was a waste.
> One thing I've gained from my post (so far), is that I need to do more
> research on the policy proceedings, why the meetings are important, and
> how the PPML feedback is counted when it comes to decision-making.

I can get more specific on this.  Warning: long, detailed description 
As you've seen, many of the members of the Advisory Council are
active on PPML.  All of them read it.  So every post affects their thinking.
Usually, a small subcommittee of 2-3 AC members will shepherd a 
proposal through the process, making edits based on comments, until
the AC believes it has reached a stable state.   Then the AC votes on the
proposal, and if passed it becomes a Draft Policy.
Policy Development Process: https://www.arin.net/policy/pdp.html
Handy flowchart: https://www.arin.net/policy/pdp_appendix_a.pdf

The Draft Policy is the text that goes to the public policy meetings.  
Alternating with other informative presentations, every
Draft is presented to the people present (including remote participants),
beginning with a history of the proposal, including a summary of the 
debate so far.  For instance, for proposal 2009-4 presented in San
Antonio, we learned that 18 people had made 58 posts, of whom 
3 were in favor, and 4 were against it (the rest apparently weren't
clear about their positions).  Three sample statements were presented 
to show some of the debate to date.

After that 2-minute presentation, someone will present the text of the
proposal, to remind everyone what we're discussing.  Then the floor
is open for discussion, and people walk up to microphones.   The Chair
indicates who is next in line to speak, and people say their piece.  Other
people get up to respond.  It's sometimes passionate, but always

To describe the scene, there are rows of tables where people can plug
in their laptops.  There are two large screens for projecting slides.  Some
subset of Board and AC site facing the participants from a dais/rostrum, 
so you can see who they are.  The presenter stands at a podium/lectern
with a mike so you can hear them.  There are rows between tables, with
six microphones on stands, so everyone can get to a mike fairly easily.

There's usually a show of hands to get a sense of the room.  The AC
meets after the meeting, and discusses each Draft Policy.  Staff provides
every AC member with a summary similar to what was presented at 
the meeting, but including hand count.  If there's a discrepancy between
support on the mailing list and support in the room, there's a long 
debate; this is rare.  The AC then votes, and if approved, it
goes to Last Call on PPML to see if we missed anything.  Then the 
Board looks at it, makes a final determination that the policy poses no
risk to the organization, and adopts it (or sends it back to the AC for

Detailed notes, transcripts, presentation slides, and even video of the
last meeting are available from here: 

I hope that gives everyone a sense of how PPML matters, and why
meeting participation matters, too.  Also, the meetings are fun, with 
great conversation at breaks and meals, and a great social event.  
People are approachable, but you often don't need to approach 
anyone--if you say something at the mike, or if you've been active on 
the list, people will seek you out.  You're very likely to find an AC
member, Board member, and staff member at your lunch table.

Sorry about the long post.  Need coffee.  But maybe I should repost
this every six months, so people get an idea of how and why to
participate, and why to come to meetings, and especially what to



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