[arin-ppml] [arin-council] AC Role in Petitions

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Thu Apr 21 02:00:09 EDT 2011

On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 12:07 AM, Alexander, Daniel
<Daniel_Alexander at cable.comcast.com> wrote:
> Thank you for your response. You point out a topic the AC has debated on
> numerous occasions. On one end there is an AC that simply implements the
> will of the community. On the other end you have an AC as the primary
> development tool for community ideas.

Hi Dan,


> If I understand you correctly, is one of your issues with the current PDP
> that the AC assumes control of a proposal once they take it onto their
> docket? Would this be correct?


> Do you see any cases where it is
> appropriate that the AC make modifications to a proposal without the
> consent of the author?

No, but there's some nuance to that answer.

For one thing, there were situations identified with the IRPEP where
it would have been appropriate for a proposal's shepherd to have taken
over the text. I believe the canonical example was when a proposal had
reasonable support but the author stopped responding.

In another situation, the author has hit on a good idea but isn't
doing an effective job building it towards consensus. Under the PDP,
the AC rips out the good idea and tells the author to shove off. But
that could be handled by forking the proposal as happened under the
IRPEP, so that both the author's and a variant moved forward. Or it
could be handled by leaving the author in control by default and
allowing the AC to vote to take over the proposal only if absolutely

However, in these situations "the AC" should not make modifications to
the text. Rather, one shepherd should gain responsibility for the text
and then make modifications on his or her judgment. The AC as a
_group_ should  focus on doing what it can do well: offering expert
advice to the authors, the community and the board.

Committees do a bad job building things and that's a fact. Large
committees like the 15-member AC tend to do a worse job than small
ones. "Design by committee," "too many cooks in the kitchen," the
phenomenon goes by several names.


> Another question would be whether you think the AC
> could modify proposals, but the community could have access to the
> petition process if they disagree with the actions of the AC, and wanted
> to discuss the original version of a proposal?

I think it's a question of weight -- tampering with an authors
proposal counter to the author's wishes should be the exception, not
the rule. The petition process turns that on its head -- a clean
version of the author's proposal is the exception while the
committee-designed version has become the rule.

Even minor adjustments introduce subtle and not-so-subtle changes to
the proposal's meaning. By forcibly changing it you assure the
author's idea (as opposed to the committee variant) never gets a
chance at achieving consensus.

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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