Internet DRAFT - draft-ecahc-moderation


Network Working Group                                          L. Eggert
Internet-Draft                                                    NetApp
Intended status: Best Current Practice                         A. Cooper
Expires: 7 January 2024                                            Cisco
                                                                J. Arkko
                                                              R. Housley
                                                          Vigil Security
                                                            B. Carpenter
                                                       Univ. of Auckland
                                                             6 July 2023

                       IETF Community Moderation


   This document describes the creation of a moderator team for all of
   the IETF's various contribution channels.  Without removing existing
   responsibilities for working group management, this team enables a
   uniform approach to moderation of disruptive participation across all
   mailing lists and other methods of IETF collaboration.

About This Document

   This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

   The latest revision of this draft can be found at
   Status information for this document may be found at

   Discussion of this document takes place on the gendispatch Working
   Group mailing list (, which is archived
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   Source for this draft and an issue tracker can be found at

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   2.  Conventions and Definitions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  Motivation  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  IETF Moderator Team . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     4.1.  Scope . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
     4.2.  Membership  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.3.  Appeals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.4.  Team Diversity  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     4.5.  Relation to Ombudsteam  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   5.  Changes to Existing RFCs  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   7.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   8.  References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     8.1.  Normative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
     8.2.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8
   Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9
   Authors' Addresses  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   9

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1.  Introduction

   This document proposes the creation of a moderator team for all of
   the IETF's various contribution channels.  This moderator team is
   modeled after, and subsumes, the moderator team for the IETF
   discussion list [RFC9245].

2.  Conventions and Definitions

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

3.  Motivation

   The IETF community has defined general guidelines of conduct for
   personal interaction in the IETF [RFC7154], and the IESG has defined
   an anti-harassment policy for the IETF [AHP] for which the IETF
   community has defined anti-harassment procedures [RFC7776],
   empowering an ombudsteam [OT] to take necessary action.

   Dealing with _disruptive_ behavior, however, is not part of the role
   of the ombudsteam.  [RFC3934] task the chairs of each IETF working
   group with moderating their group's in-person meetings and mailing
   lists, and an IESG statement [MODML] describes additional guidance to
   working group chairs.  For IETF mailing lists not associated with a
   working group, another IESG statement clarifies [DP] that the list
   administrators are tasked with moderation.  And the IETF list for
   general discussions has, mostly for historic reasons, a team of
   moderators that are not list administrators and operate by a
   different set of processes [RFC9245].

   In addition, [RFC3683] defines a process for revoking an individual's
   posting rights to IETF mailing lists following a community last-call
   of a "PR-action" proposed by the IESG, often in response to
   complaints from the community.

   This fractured approach to moderation of disruptive participation
   through chairs, list administrators, and moderator teams, combined
   with the IESG-led process of PR-actions, has proven to be less than

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   *  The IETF community has not been able to agree on a common
      definition of disruptive behavior.  Therefore, chairs and list
      administrators apply individually different criteria when making
      decisions, and participants have different expectations for when
      PR-actions are warranted.

   *  The moderation process that chairs and list administrators need to
      follow [RFC3934] is slow and cumbersome, which makes it ill-suited
      to situations that escalate quickly.  It also assumes that the
      originator of disruptive behavior is a misguided participant that
      can be reasoned with and who will change their ways.

   *  Chairs and list administrators may only enact moderation actions
      for their single list, which is ill-suited when a pattern of
      disruptive behavior spans multiple lists.  Also, chairs and list
      administrators may not be fully aware of disruptive behavior that
      spans multiple lists, due to not being subscribed to some of the

   *  PR-actions, which can address disruptive behavior across several
      lists, are cumbersome and slow, and the community has not been
      able to agree on a common definition of disruptive behavior.  This
      has led to a situation where PR-actions are rarely used, and when
      they are used, they are perceived as very heavy-handed.

   *  For a given mailing list, participants may not feel comfortable
      reporting disruptive behavior to a chair or list administrator,
      for various reasons.  For mailing lists not associated with
      working groups, list administrators are not even publicly
      identified - they can only be contacted through an anonymous alias
      address.  This exacerbates the problem, because participants may
      not be comfortable reporting disruptive behavior to an anonymous

   *  The IETF offers participation not only through in-person meetings
      and mailing lists, which are the two channels of participation for
      which moderation processes are currently defined.  IETF business
      also happens in chat channels, remote meeting participation
      systems, virtual meetings, wikis, GitHub repositories, and more.
      How disruptive behavior is moderated in these channels is
      currently undefined.

4.  IETF Moderator Team

   This document proposes a different, uniform approach to moderating
   the IETF's various participation channels: a moderator team for the
   IETF.  The creation of this team intends to address the issues
   identified in Section 3.

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      |  TODO: Decide whether moderation rights remain also with WG
      |  chairs, list admins, and others who currently have them, or
      |  whether all moderation rights centralize with the moderator
      |  team.

4.1.  Scope

   This IETF moderator team consists of a small number of individuals
   (no less than three) that SHALL moderate all the IETF's various
   current and future participation channels.  At present, these include
   mailing lists, chat channels, and discussions in other systems that
   the IETF or WGs have chosen to employ, such as GitHub repositories,
   Wikis, or issue trackers.

   The management and moderation of in-person, remote, and interim
   meetings remains a task of the relevant group's management, such as
   WG chairs.  However, it is expected that moderators are available for
   consultation and assistance should issues arise, and they may confer
   with the group management over potential patterns of behavior.

   The moderator team SHALL operate according to a consistent and
   uniform set of criteria, processes, and actions.  The moderator team
   SHALL independently define and execute their role.  They SHALL
   maintain a public set of moderation criteria, processes, actions, and
   other material that allows the community to understand and comment on
   the role of the team.  The moderator team SHOULD consider adopting
   moderation criteria, processes, and actions that other technical
   communities have found suitable.  The moderator team's criteria and
   processes SHALL be developed with community input, but they are not
   expected to be documented in the RFC series.

   The moderator team MAY initiate moderation actions by itself;
   individual participants SHOULD also alert the team to disruptive
   behavior they observe.  Participants should be able to contact the
   moderator team in ways that are, ideally, integrated into the various
   participation channels the IETF offers.

   It is not expected that the moderator team will be monitoring every
   IETF channel, but rather that participants will proactively flag
   concerns about disruptive behavior to the moderator team.  However,
   the moderator team SHOULD actively monitor a small set of key
   participation channels, including, for example, the IETF discussion
   and last-call mailing lists or the IETF plenary chat channel.  The
   moderator team should decide which channels are in this set based on
   their own judgement and community suggestions.

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      |  TODO: Decide whether chairs and list admins should retain the
      |  ability to moderate their lists in addition to the moderator
      |  team, or whether chair and list admins should only inform the
      |  moderator team of potentially disruptive behavior and let them
      |  deal with it.

4.2.  Membership

   The IETF Chair appoints members of the moderator team.  Apart from
   appointing moderators, the IETF Chair SHALL refrain from the day-to-
   day operation and management of the moderator team.  The moderator
   team MAY decide to consult with IETF Chair when needed.

   Because the IESG and IAB are in the appeals chain for moderator team
   decisions (see Section 4.3), the IETF Chair SHOULD NOT appoint a
   moderator who is serving on the IESG or IAB.  Individuals serving on
   other bodies to which the NomCom appoints members, such as the IETF
   Trust or the LLC Board, as well as LLC staff and contractors SHALL
   also be excluded from serving on the moderator team.  If a moderator
   is assuming any such role, they SHALL step down from the moderator
   team soon after.

4.3.  Appeals

   Because the moderator team serves at the discretion of the IETF
   Chair, any moderation decision can be appealed to the IETF Chair, per
   [RFC2026].  Disagreements with a decision by the IETF Chair can be
   brought to their attention.  If this does not lead to a resolution,
   the decision can be appealed as described in [RFC2026], as with any
   other Area Director decision.  In this case, the appeals chain starts
   with an appeal to the entire IESG.

4.4.  Team Diversity

   Due to the global nature of the IETF, the membership of this team
   SHOULD reflect a diversity of time zones and other participant
   characteristics that lets it operate effectively around the clock and
   throughout the year.  Team diversity is also important to ensure any
   participant observing problematic behavior can identify a moderator
   they feel comfortable contacting.

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4.5.  Relation to Ombudsteam

   The moderator team SHALL complement the efforts of the IETF
   ombudsteam [OT], whose focus on anti-harassment and operation SHALL
   remain unchanged.  The moderator team and ombudsteam are expected to
   work together in cases that may involve both disruptive behavior and
   harassment; they may determine the most effective way to do so in
   each case.

   The ombudsteam has strict rules of confidentiality.  If a moderation
   case overlaps with an ombudsteam case, confidential information MUST
   NOT be shared between the teams.

5.  Changes to Existing RFCs

   Creation of the IETF moderator team requires some changes to existing
   RFCs and also requires the IESG to update a number of their
   statements.  This section describes these changes.

      |  TODO: Add once we know this I-D will go forward in some form.

6.  Security Considerations

   The usual security considerations [RFC3552] do not apply to this

   Potential abuse of the moderation process for the suppression of
   undesired opinions is counteracted by the availability of an appeals
   process, per Section 4.3.

7.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

8.  References

8.1.  Normative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, DOI 10.17487/RFC2026, October 1996,

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997,

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   [RFC7776]  Resnick, P. and A. Farrel, "IETF Anti-Harassment
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 7776, DOI 10.17487/RFC7776, March
              2016, <>.

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <>.

8.2.  Informative References

   [AHP]      IESG, "IETF Anti-Harassment Policy", 3 November 2013,

   [DP]       IESG, "IESG Statement on Disruptive Posting", 16 February
              2006, <

   [MODML]    IESG, "IESG Guidance on the Moderation of IETF Working
              Group Mailing Lists", 29 August 2000,

   [OT]       "Ombudsteam", <>.

   [RFC3552]  Rescorla, E. and B. Korver, "Guidelines for Writing RFC
              Text on Security Considerations", BCP 72, RFC 3552,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3552, July 2003,

   [RFC3683]  Rose, M., "A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF
              Mailing Lists", BCP 83, RFC 3683, DOI 10.17487/RFC3683,
              March 2004, <>.

   [RFC3934]  Wasserman, M., "Updates to RFC 2418 Regarding the
              Management of IETF Mailing Lists", BCP 25, RFC 3934,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC3934, October 2004,

   [RFC7154]  Moonesamy, S., Ed., "IETF Guidelines for Conduct", BCP 54,
              RFC 7154, DOI 10.17487/RFC7154, March 2014,

   [RFC9245]  Eggert, L. and S. Harris, "IETF Discussion List Charter",
              BCP 45, RFC 9245, DOI 10.17487/RFC9245, June 2022,

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   These individuals suggested improvements to this document:

   *  Jay Daley

Authors' Addresses

   Lars Eggert
   Stenbergintie 12 B
   FI-02700 Kauniainen

   Alissa Cooper

   Jari Arkko
   FI-02700 Kauniainen

   Russ Housley
   Vigil Security

   Brian E. Carpenter
   The University of Auckland
   School of Computer Science
   PB 92019
   Auckland 1142
   New Zealand

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