[ppml] Allocation and reallocation

Leo Bicknell bicknell at ufp.org
Mon Oct 27 09:09:58 EST 2003

In a message written on Mon, Oct 27, 2003 at 06:31:07AM -0700, Jim Romary wrote:
> I have a sneaky suspicion that many with dogs in this fight know full well
> what the distinction between the words is. And what it has been ever since
> I got into the fray in 1995 or so. They just don't like the policy itself.

At the BOF in particular, and during several of the comments on
policy people used the wrong term and had to correct themselves,
or be corrected.  In at least several of these cases the mistake
hurt their point, not helped.

Clearly some people would like to change the policy as well, but
I think those people would most like to keep using the confusing
words.  After all if people can't keep them straight they may well
be confused into thinking you want to change the "less important"
one when the reality is you're changing the more important one.

I think this is a huge issue because of the recent 2002-3 discussion.
Policy aside, many people both for and against mixed up the two
terms.  This caused both sides to be frustrated and have a harder
time making their point.  I think it's far more dangerous to have
someone make a mistake (which has happened to many people, many
times) and have it end up in a mailing list archive so that someone
later can pull it up to support the opposite view without realizing
the person was really against the idea the whole time.

Having our own terms is fine.  If we called these two classes of
addresses "snozzlefraz" and "benkendup" that would be a huge
improvement in my book.  Having them be described by words that
don't require you to go to a glossary to understand policy is even

There are short terms that work:

     Assignment       Allocation
     ------------     --------------
     reassignable     non-reassignable
     delegatable      non-delegatable
     divisible        homogeneous

Notice the words I suggest are antonyms, yet the words we use today are
synonyms.  Using synonyms for the same thing is a bad idea.  I think we
can illustrate this with some other bad examples:

     Assignment       Allocation
     ------------     --------------
     digits           numbers
     IP's             addresses
     delegated        designated

What really gets me about all of this though is that this is the
type of issue that keeps people from participating in ARIN.  I've
already had the discussion with people at the office about this
issue and their basic response is "they can't get people to agree
on two simple clear terms to describe what they do, so you sit
around and argue about it for days on end sometimes switching sides
accidently because the terms are confusing?  I have better things
to do."

It's similarly bad when I forward proposals like 2002-3 to my
colleagues and they simply mail back and say "so what's the difference
between an assignment and allocation anyway?"  It seems like for
something that simple they should be able to just figure it out,
don't you think?

       Leo Bicknell - bicknell at ufp.org - CCIE 3440
        PGP keys at http://www.ufp.org/~bicknell/
Read TMBG List - tmbg-list-request at tmbg.org, www.tmbg.org
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