Internet DRAFT - draft-atlas-community-hubs


Network Working Group                                           A. Atlas
Internet-Draft                                          Juniper Networks
Intended status: Informational                         February 16, 2017
Expires: August 20, 2017

                          IETF Community Hubs


   IETF Community Hubs are geographically-focused groups that facilitate
   participation in IETF activities.  An IETF Community Hub may have
   different focuses, depending upon the interests of those
   participating, such as cross-area learning, outreach, mentoring,
   problem refinement, implementation and interop testing, and social.
   An IETF Community Hub's focuses and the energy of its coordinators
   will determine what types of activities are organized.  Sample
   activities may include sessions of technical talks, social get-
   togethers, remote hubs during some IETF WG meetings, hackathons, etc.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
     1.1.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.2.  Benefits for Existing IETFers . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     1.3.  Benefits for Outreach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   2.  Observations  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.1.  Extending the High-Bandwidth Part of Plenary Meetings . .   5
     2.2.  Working Group Interactions  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     2.3.  Building a Connected Local Community  . . . . . . . . . .   6
   3.  What Has Been Tried in IETF-Hub-Boston  . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.1.  Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.2.  Coordinators  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.3.  Picking Locations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     3.4.  Social Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.5.  Technical Talks Meetings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.6.  Remote Hubs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     3.7.  Publicity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
     3.8.  Tools Used  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   4.  Future Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   5.  Acknowledgements  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   6.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

1.  Introduction

   The IETF needs and wants to become more effective at outreach and
   growth of active participants, timely in developing needed
   technology, and maintain expertise in broad knowledge and review of
   Internet technologies.  IETF Community Hubs are one experimental
   approach that may assist in these goals.  Currently, there is one
   active IETF Community Hub in the Boston, Massachusetts area; it has
   been meeting periodically since May 2016.

   For a local group to be effective, it must either provide value to
   its participants to retain them or be able to do excellent outreach
   and bring those newcomers to actively participate in the IETF, but
   ideally both.  When doing outreach, having active IETFers involved to
   provide connections to the IETF community and mentoring on how the
   IETF works and how to be effective in the IETF is critical.  People
   come to the IETF to get technical work done and solve problems,
   usually relevant to their day-job's organization.  Some also come to
   learn and communicate back to their organizations about technology

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   for internal use and implementation or deployment.  An effective
   local group needs to consider how to support interested individuals
   in these goals.

1.1.  Terminology

   In preparation for IETF 95, ISOC starting encouraging and running
   Remote Hubs [I-D.oflaherty-ietf-remote-hubs-lac]
   [I-D.elkins-ietf-remote-hubs], where there were local meetings
   centered around remote participation to a Working Group meeting
   during a plenary IETF meeting.  Sometimes, such meetings might have a
   social aspect or IETF-related or introductory talks.

   The appropriate terminology to use is still under discussion.  For
   clarity, in this document, the following is used.

   IETF Community Hub (ICH)  This is a geographically-focused group that
      holds periodic meetings and activities related to the IETF

   Remote Hub  This is a local meeting that is centered around remote
      participation to a Working Group meeting during a plenary IETF
      meeting.  As Remote Hubs are held periodically in the same
      geography, there may develop an associated ICH.

   Hub Meeting  Any type of meeting held by an ICH - this could include
      a Remote Hub.

1.2.  Benefits for Existing IETFers

   The benefits for existing IETFers can be social, educational, and
   assist in getting IETF work done.  First, attending a Hub meeting
   gives a chance to see other IETFers in an environment that isn't
   under intense time pressure, as many plenary IETF meetings are.  A
   social Hub meeting (e.g. lunch, dinner, party, etc.) is a chance to
   catch up with friends and colleagues and chat about what interesting
   work they and mutual acquaintances are working on.  This provides an
   opportunity for individual focused discussion about on-going work and
   an environment where folks can be introduced to others who may be
   interested in or knowledgeable about their work.

   For attendees, a technical talks session provides an opportunity to
   learn a little about technology or problems in the broad variety that
   is of interest to the IETF community.  It is a chance to discuss how
   that work is connected to other IETF work, to find cross-area
   concerns that need handling before IETF Last Call when they can be
   better addressed, and to provide suggestions as to whom in the IETF
   community might be interested so that the work can get better review.

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   For presenters, it is a low energy way of getting immediate feedback
   and sparking interest in the document.  For newer IETFers, it can
   provide guidance on common considerations, introductions to others
   who might help, and advice on how to navigate Working Group

   At a minimum, going to an IETF Community Hub (ICH) meeting is a
   reminder of the IETF work that an IETFer needs to get done and can be
   a spur to make progress - whether to discuss it at the meeting or
   simply as a reminder that the IETF community keeps working between
   plenary meetings.  It also provides that human element of seeing and
   feeling that other people are interested in discussing one's work -
   which is frequently its own encouragement.

   One of the tricks to getting work done well in the IETF is finding
   the small group of people who deeply care about that work and having
   a complex technical conversation to resolve all the considerations.
   Finding that group of people frequently depends on the social network
   and an ICH offers the opportunity to grow more and thicker
   connections between those who attend, which can then help with
   introductions and recommendations on whom to talk to about work and
   what drafts would be useful to review.

1.3.  Benefits for Outreach

   While we all participate as individuals in the IETF, it frequently
   takes more than an individual's interest to allow a person to
   regularly attend plenary IETF meetings.  Effective participation,
   such as reviewing drafts and considering serious implementation or
   deployment, also frequently benefits from one's day-job organization
   being highly supportive.  If a person isn't familiar with the IETF or
   how to get involved or why other individuals and organizations find
   it worthwhile, it is much harder to make a case for time or travel
   funding.  A ICH can provide a mechanism for interested individuals to
   learn a bit more what the IETF is like and start determining how they
   might be effective.

   It is also very useful for implementers, operators, and others to be
   able to participate effectively in a low cost and low effort fashion.
   Obviously, working groups, with their associated mailing lists, are
   the mechanism by which work is done - but being able to meet other
   active IETFers and get advice and introductions can be quite helpful
   in facilitating progress.

   ICHs also provide a potential mechanism for sharing knowledge and
   perspectives with other interested local communities, such as Network
   Operator Groups and research communities.

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2.  Observations

2.1.  Extending the High-Bandwidth Part of Plenary Meetings

   A plenary IETF meeting brings together many in the IETF community and
   there are formal and informal activities to facilitate mingling,
   communication, and progress.  Significant work has been done on and
   continues to be improved for remote participation in the formal
   Working Group meetings.  Holding a Remote Hub session is also a way
   that an ICH can encourage local discussion or socialization around
   participating in the WG meetings.

   A significant benefit of a plenary IETF meeting is the informal side-
   meetings and hallway conversations that happen.  This is where there
   can be time to have complex technical discussions and work out
   compromises and solutions that allow drafts to progress.  This can
   also be where one can explain the motivations and context and
   overview of a draft to someone who may be interested and able to
   provide suggestions.  Obviously, it is challenging to duplicate the
   serendipity and interactions in an ICH are primarily with those who
   happen to be geographically co-located, but this type of interactions
   can be encouraged via meeting formats.

   Having opportunities to interact in person takes advantage of some
   commonalities of human interactions that are important to consider.
   First, for those fluent in the relevant language, a spoken
   conversation can have more nuance, significantly higher bandwidth and
   interactivity than an email discussion.  Second, even a brief in-
   person meeting builds a social connection and broadens appreciation
   of the others' character, interests, and motivations.  Complex
   discussion and negotiation occurs more smoothly and rapidly between
   those who have met in person even once.

2.2.  Working Group Interactions

   Participation in even very active Working Groups is seldom more than
   a couple hundred IETFers.  While there are some geographical
   localities that have comparatively dense participation in the IETF,
   it is not likely that more than a handful of participants will be
   geographically close.  There may be more people interested in
   following a WG; they may occasionally review documents, may be
   implementing, and/or may be deploying or operating networks using the
   WG's technology.  The existence of such people in a locality is
   highly dependent upon the WG and the active companies and
   universities in the area.  It could be useful to focus on particular
   relevant WGs for remote hubs with associated technical discussion if
   it seems there are a number of local people interested.  Obviously,

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   discussion and agreements about working group drafts happen on the WG
   mailing lists.

2.3.  Building a Connected Local Community

   Some of the benefit of having ICH meetings is to allow those local to
   meet and interact, which facilitates mentoring and discussions.  If
   all the meetings are during plenary IETF meeting, then those IETFers
   that do attend in person will miss the ICH meetings and not be able
   to assist as easily in mentoring or facilitating discussions.

3.  What Has Been Tried in IETF-Hub-Boston

   The Boston IETF Community Hub has held social meetings, technical
   talks meetings, and remote hubs.  Meetings have been at companies
   that have volunteered conference rooms or at restaurants for social

3.1.  Getting Started

   The Boston Hub started based on a request for a mailing list with a
   desire for a local social meeting.  The concept of community hubs was
   sparked by ISOC's work with Remote Hubs in Latin and South America.
   Asking for and doing introductions on the ietf-hub-boston mailing
   list definitely helped with realizing whom else was in the area and
   something of their interests.

3.2.  Coordinators

   It has proved extremely useful to have multiple coordinators for
   discussing what to do and trading off the work of organizing a
   meeting.  There are three coordinators.  The main restriction on
   number is coordinating and making sure that responsibilities are
   clear.  So far, different coordinators have been responsible for
   different meetings.

3.3.  Picking Locations

   The greater Boston area pulls from a couple hour radius and has to
   trade-off considerations in terms of transportation, parking,
   traffic, and convenience for different sets of people. .  The
   locations have ranged from Akamai in Kendall Square in Cambridge, to
   a restaurant by the Alewife T station, to 128 Technology in
   Burlington to Juniper Networks in Westford.  It is likely that
   meeting locations will continue to be varied so that inconvenience is

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3.4.  Social Meetings

   These have been a retirement party, a dinner, a lunch, and a planned
   meet at a pub with dinner.  They've allowed small and group
   conversation.  Attendance varies between 10 and about 20.

3.5.  Technical Talks Meetings

   There have been two meetings and two more are planned.  To find
   talks, volunteers were asked from on the ietf-hub-boston mailing
   list.  Most talks are targeted at 10-15 minutes with another 10-15
   minutes of discussion.  The first meeting was 2 hours and the second
   was 3.  The first meeting had one 45 minute topic because there was
   no way to cover the material more quickly; the depth seemed to be
   welcomed and appreciated.  Topics for these meetings ranged widely
   and included information-centric networking (ICN), NTP Security,
   Banana BoF overview, Happy Earballs - Coping with Dual-Stack
   Connectivity Issues in SIP, Homenet Naming and DNSSD.
   For the meeting in February 2017, the talks will be focused on
   privacy and security; RSVPs for that meeting are around 35.  In
   April, the expectation is to have a mixture of topics.

   These meetings attracted between 15-20 people - mostly experienced
   IETFers with a few new folks.  After the meeting, a slightly smaller
   group has gone out to dinner.  Both of the meetings ran over time by
   about 30 minutes and there was energetic discussion during them.  The
   venue used (128 Technology volunteered space) had an option for
   informal gathering afterwards, but because the meeting ran long both
   times, folks just went to dinner.

3.6.  Remote Hubs

   For IETF 95 and IETF 96, there have been Remote Hubs at Juniper
   Networks in Westford.  The Working Groups covered have been focused
   in the Routing Area, because there are a number of interested
   developers there.  The Remote Hubs were open and did have a couple
   non-Juniper attendees.  In addition, each time, one evening there was
   a social dinner.  No Remote Hubs were tried for IETF 97 due to the
   time difference.  There are plans to hold another Remote Hub during
   IETF 98.  Feedback about Remote Hubs on ietf-hub-boston has indicated
   that while there are many WGs not covered, there aren't even small
   groups of folks interested in particular other working groups; the
   spread is too large.  Interest in driving to another location to
   remotely participate in a WG was quite limited.

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3.7.  Publicity

   Limited publicity has been done and this is an area that could use
   significant improvement and suggestions.  One effort that was started
   in time for the February 21 meeting is identifying a list of active
   Internet-Draft authors in the area and notifying them about the
   meeting and the mailing list.

3.8.  Tools Used

   The mailing list has been used to ask for talks, do introductions,
   and discuss meeting logistics.  Doodle polls have been used for RSVPs
   to the meetings.  It would be very useful to have a common wiki to
   provide a reference for various publicity efforts to local groups and
   to record the previous and future meetings.  This would also be
   potentially useful for IETFers traveling to the area, since they
   could then know if there is a Hub meeting happening.  There is some
   investigation of using MeetUp to help with publicity and
   coordination.  It would be useful to use a common calendar so
   meetings are on it in advance and others traveling to the area could
   see when a meeting was going to happen.

4.  Future Growth

   If this experiment seems useful, additional IETF Community Hubs may
   be started.  What is most useful depends in part on the local
   community of IETFers and others interested.  How coordinators can
   volunteer, step down, and so on is not yet clear.  Ideas on
   interactions into the IETF organization - if such is needed - still
   need to be discussed.  [a]there's something amusing about using gdocs
   for markdown.

5.  Acknowledgements

   I would like to thank Christian O'Flaherty, Nalini Elkins, Alvaro
   Retana, Rich Salz, and Dale Worley for the discussions and/or review.

6.  Informative References

              Retana, A., Martinez, C., Elkins, N., and S. Romano,
              "Remote Hubs in Latin America", draft-oflaherty-ietf-
              remote-hubs-lac-00 (work in progress), March 2016.

              Elkins, N., Retana, A., and A. Raje, "Remote Hub Status
              and Definition", draft-elkins-ietf-remote-hubs-00 (work in
              progress), March 2016.

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Author's Address

   Alia Atlas
   Juniper Networks


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