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I think we will agree that the goal of IEEE-SA is forming consensus. It is worthwhile at this point quoting the definition of consensus (ISO defn)
General agreement, characterized by the absence of sustained opposition to substantial issues by any important part of the concerned interests and by a process that involves seeking to take into account the views of all parties concerned and to reconcile any conflicting arguments
The nice thing about this definition is that it means the achievement of consensus by IEEE 802 is completely independent of any discussions that occur outside IEEE 802. The key for consensus from IEEE 802’s perspective is that as long as individuals within the IEEE 802 have an opportunity to express sustained opposition to substantial issues and there is a process that involves seeking to take into account the views of all parties concerned and to reconcile any conflicting arguments, there is no need to worry about any decision making processes outside the IEEE 802. The bottom line is that IEEE 802 doesn’t need to worry about agreements like NDAs between companies, it just needs to make sure the processes within the IEEE 802 promote consensus as defined above.
That said, I believe IEEE-SA has already established a precedent by requiring individual to declare affiliations, presumably as a way of guarding against the risk of block voting. I note that IEEE 802 does not require individuals to reveal details of any discussions with their affiliations. Using this as an analogy, there might be a case to require individuals to declare any association, either directly or through their affiliations, with organisations that have at least a partial purpose of discussing or influencing IEEE 802 standards developments. An organisation could be defined as any entity formed by formal agreement of any sort.
Interestingly, this would probably include the Wi-Fi Alliance, and many other similar ITAs, which just makes the whole idea of declarations incredibly complex and unwieldy. Maybe we shouldn’t bother and just focus on making sure IEEE 802 (or IEEE-SA) provides an environment that encourages true consensus. Hmmmm!
I think the key is NDAs. Two guys meeting in the bar to solve a problem is not the issue. An ad
hoc meeting of members outside of an 802 meeting to discuss how to reach consensus should
not be a problem. Neither of these would really involve NDAs. Problems arise when the activities
of the members of this group are secret.
We want to encourage consensus forming but If the goal of a group is consensus forming then
NDAs and secrecy have no place. Bad things happen in secret.
Regarding a need to declare if you are participating in a SIG, if we were to make that requirement, we would also need a definition of a SIG. Does anybody want to propose one?
IMHO this is not trivial, as there is a continuum of formality and inter-dependency, that goes from one extreme of two people meeting in a bar to solve a problem raised in a task group earlier that day to the other extreme of an incorporated legal entity with NDAs and member agreements.
And, please remember, what we care about is (potential) dominance. Two people meeting in a bar are unlikely to dominate unless there are three in their task group. Two people meeting secretly under NDA likewise.
So perhaps any definition should not relate to the character of the SIG, but its potential impact on a task group, which can be measured in size of membership relative to the activity they are contributing to.
IEEE 802.11 Working Group Chair
Phone: +1 (971) 203-2032
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On 2017-04-12 00:49, Andrew Myles (amyles) wrote:
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