Network Working Group A. Atlas
Internet-Draft Juniper Networks
Intended status: Best Current Practice C. O'Flaherty
Expires: January 4, 2018 ISOC
H. Chowdhary
July 03, 2017

Geographically-Focused IETF Activities


The document defines how Geographically-Focused IETF Activities are organized and how IETF policies apply. It is intended for eventual publication as a BCP but this is currently an initial strawman proposal based upon the existing variety of experience with the experimental activities in this space over the past several years.

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The IETF primarily focuses our activities on plenary meetings, mailing lists, and individual Working Group interim meetings with Internet Drafts, RFCs, and some structured text or code as deliverables. There has been and continues to be interest in having activities focused in different geographical areas. There is a wide variety of such activities that are supported by different motivations and objectives. The following list is illustrative - not restrictive.

  1. IETF Days supported by the Internet Society
  2. View-only of a Working Group Session with IETF introduction
  3. RFCs We Love technical talks meeting
  4. Open physical meetings with technical talks on topics of IETF interest
  5. Remote Participation Hubs
  6. Hackathons to build IETF awareness and encourage developers towards practical implementations of IETF standards
  7. Panels, seminars and tutorials at academic events, NOG meetings, IXP meetings etc.
  8. Open social informal meet-ups (over lunch, dinner, etc.)

Some of the motivations and objectives include: 1. increasing awareness of the IETF’s role in the Internet ecosystem, 2. providing feedback and exposure to potential new IETF work and providing mentoring and support to help authors bring that work into the IETF, 3. outreach to encourage new potential IETF participants, 4. Increasing IETF diversity 5. increase cross-area learning, 6. strengthen professional and social connections between IETFers, 7. provide feedback and discussion on early work & mentoring to newer IETFers, 8. reduce financial barriers to low-volume new participants and show advantages from face-to-face interactions.

These objectives can be summed up as increasing awareness of the IETF, doing outreach to encourage new IETF participation, and increase technical discussions and cross-learning to encourage faster and better technical output. These are objectives that are in the best interest of the IETF.

The IETF works well when organization happens from motivated people who self-organize and the IETF can provide support and light oversight. The IETF has an Education, Mentoring, and Outreach Directorate that serves at the pleasure of the IETF Chair and oversight of outreach-related activities are part of that Directorate’s charter.

The IETF has a variety of policies and processes that are focused on preserving an open and transparent standards process with clarity around IPR impacts. The IETF Trust holds trademarks that are used by the IETF for our activities; it is important that these are used appropriately and with permission.

This document defines how the various processes and policies apply to geographically-focused activities. This document also defines the light oversight for how such activities are run.

2. Terminology

Geographically-Focused IETF Activities
An IETF Activity that is centered in a specific geographic area. Examples include IETF Local Communities, Remote Awareness Hubs, IETF Awareness Events, and Remote Participation Hubs. Necessary attributes are being geographically-focused and open for participation.
IETF Local Community:
A persistent geographically-focused local group of those participating in the IETF and
interested in the IETF. An IETF Local Community may do a variety of different activities, include Remote Participation Hubs. The necessary attributes are persistence and technical discussion related to the IETF. The focus is on growing a local group of people participating in the IETF and strengthening the professional and social relationships between them to encourage collaboration.
Remote Awareness Hub
An event where video from one or more IETF Working Group or Plenary sessions are shown.
The event may happen at the same time as the session or may be time-shifted and use a recording. There may be additional introductory presentations or other activities. Necessary attributes are focus on an event and viewing of an IETF WG or Plenary session. The focus is on holding an event to raise awareness of what happens at an IETF meeting.
IETF Awareness Activity
An activity where “what the IETF is and does” is presented to raise awareness of the IETF. Materials might include presentations about IETF technical work or other technical work that might be related to IETF work. Necessary attributes are focus on an activity and on discussing the IETF.
Remote Participation Hub
An activity that is connected to an IETF Working Group or Plenary session such that interactive participation in the session is possible. Necessary attributes are focus on an activity and the potential for interactive participation in the primary session.
General Coordinators
The individuals responsible for coordinating and running a Geographically-Focused IETF Activity. These are appointed by the Education, Mentoring, and Oversight Directorate.
Local Coordinator
For some awareness activities which are a single activity, those interested in organizing it may serve as the Local Coordinators while a general Coordinator, who helps with such events, may provide the IETF experience and support.
Repeating Activity
An activity may be sufficiently successful in a particular geography so that there is interest in having it repeat. This might be Remote Participation Hubs, Remote Awareness Hubs, or other activities. When there is a desire and expectation for a series of repeating activities, then it is useful to have Local Coordinators and manage the series similarly to an IETF Local Community.

The key words “MUST”, “MUST NOT”, “REQUIRED”, “SHALL”, “SHALL NOT”, “SHOULD”, “SHOULD NOT”, “RECOMMENDED”, “MAY”, and “OPTIONAL” in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119, BCP 14 [RFC2119].

3. Organization of Geographically-Focused IETF Activities

These activities can be focused on a single activity, repeating activities or creating an IETF Local Community. It’s desirable to have at least 2 Coordinators for a Geographically-Focused IETF Activity accepted by the Directorate. In this section, the oversight role is given to the Directorate because the Directorate’s organization is not defined here. It is expected that oversight MAY be delegated to the Directorate member in charge of Outreach Programs; the Directorate MUST be notified of such and MAY choose to override the decision. If the situation is still not resolved, then the IETF Chair will make the final decision.

3.1. IETF Local Communities

An IETF Local Community is expected to be a persistent group with periodic activities. Each IETF Local Community MUST have at least 1 Coordinator accepted by the Directorate. It is recommended to identify at least 2 Coordinators; more than 5 is not desirable. The Local Community Coordinators will work together to define the activities and schedule and do the organization to make the activities happen. If it is not possible for a Coordinator to attend a particular meeting, the Coordinator can appoint a proxy to run the meeting and follow the necessary policies (attendance, note-well, etc).

3.2. Repeating Activities

If successful, it is likely that some one-time activities, such as a Remote Participation Hub, may become repeating. Such a stream of activities in a fixed geography SHOULD have at least 1 Coordinator reporting to the Directorate. This will allow the Coordinator to participate in the support provided by the Directorate and other Coordinators.

3.3. One-Time Activities

Some Geographically-Focused IETF Activities may be one-time activity. There still needs to be oversight and support for such activities. The Directorate MUST identify at least 1 Coordinator to oversee and provide support for such one-time activities. A Geographically-Focused IETF Activity in a particular geography that do not have a Coordinator identified fall under the One-Time Activity Coordinators, even if that activity has or is repeating. There may be a period where it isn’t clear that specific Coordinators for the activity should be appointed; for instance, it may not be obvious for a year or more that the activity will continue to repeat.

The One-Time Activity Coordinators MUST appoint a Local Coordinator for any activity that the none of the One-Time Activity Coordinators will be attending and running.

3.4. Appointment, Term of Service, and Transitions for Coordinators

In general, a Coordinator should be familiar with the IETF and preferably be or have been an active participant. For a new Local Community or a Repeating Activity, it is likely that there are good candidates for Coordinators. If not, that may be a sign that the health of the activity is in question and more support is needed before appointing Coordinators.

It is not appropriate to assume that a Coordinator will serve for an indefinite amount of time. The Directorate should check in with both the Coordinators and with the associated mailing lists or activities to see how the activity is going and if the Coordinators are interested in continuing to do a good job. The Directorate - and in particular the individual in charge of Outreach Programs within the directorate, should serve to hear about any concerns and issues around the Coordinator’s performance. The Coordinators serve at the pleasure of the Directorate. Changes are primarily made by the Directorate member in charge of Outreach Programs - but the Directorate MUST be informed. If there are concerns, then the Directorate can override the decision. If the situation is still not resolved, it will go to the IETF Chair for resolution.

To ensure smooth transitions between Coordinators, the Directorate member in charge of Outreach Programs must have the ability to change ownership and administration of resources used by the Geographically-Focused IETF Activity. In the case where such resources are the Coordinator’s personal resources or their organization’s resource (e.g. a MeetUp, a company resource, etc.), discussion and documentation (e.g. in the wiki) of a transition strategy before the resource begins being used is necessary.

3.5. Support for Coordinators

The Directorate SHOULD provide support for Coordinators. This should include the ability for Coordinators to learn from each others’ experiences. Different geographies may find different ideas and structures work better. There MUST be a way to bring up up common administrative issues and concerns so that the Directorate can facilitate resolving them.

4. IETF Policies Applied to Geographically-Focused IETF Activities

This document uses definitions from [RFC8179] because IPR considerations drive some of the policy, such as whether it is appropriate to show a Note-Well reminder and whether it is necessary to track who was present at an activity.

Some Geographically-Focused IETF Activities may be initiated by ISOC and others organized by the Education, Mentoring, and Outreach Directorate, as initiated by the IETF Chair. Experiments with such activities over the last couple years have been organized by ISOC, members of the IESG, and folks active in the Directorate. Therefore, these Geographically-Focused IETF Activities are part of the IETF and it is necessary to define how various IETF policies apply.

The key question for how IETF policies apply to a geographically-focused activity is whether that activity should be considered “Participating in an IETF discussion or activity”, as defined in [RFC8179].

4.1. Keeping Attendance Records (Bluesheets)

In the IETF, there are three motivations for keeping track of whom attends a session. First, there are logistics and tracking the health of the associated group; for instance, what size meeting room is physically required? Second, there is documenting whom is influencing the standards process by participating in the session. Third, there is documenting whom is in the room for legal issues around intellectual property; the IETF does receive sufficient requests for copies of bluesheets that they are available on-line.

For all Geographically-Focused IETF Activities, the Coordinators SHOULD keep track of attendance. Logistically, this supports planning for future similar events. It can provide a method for continued communication. It provides some quantitative input to develop an understanding of how successful towards an activity’s objectives an activity was. For activities that are anticipated to influence the standards process, it is important to track who has attended. For Remote Participation Hubs, the Coordinators MUST have participants use the current remote participation tools available. For other such activities, the Coordinates SHOULD track the attendance.

At a minimum, attendance records MUST include name and affiliation. Unless participants simply use the current remote participation tools, a readable digital image of these SHOULD be provided to the Secretariat via the defined process. Attendance records MAY also include additional information, but information such as an email address SHOULD not be provided as part of a readable digital image. Such additional information MAY be used by the Coordinators and Directorate for metrics and, with agreement, future contact.

4.2. Note Well

At IETF Sessions, a Note Well is shown to remind attendees of their obligations under the IETF’s IPR policy. Showing the Note Well does not change or create the obligations; it is merely a helpful reminder. In Geographically-Focused IETF Activities, there are likely to be folks new to the IETF for whom not merely showing the Note Well, but having some discussion around its purpose can be useful. With [RFC8179], the IPR-related obligations apply not merely to IETF sessions but to a variety of discussions intending to influence the standards process.

For events that are anticipated to influence the standards process, such as Remote Participation Hubs and some IETF Local Community events, the Coordinators MUST ensure that the IETF’s Note Well is shown; for Remote Participation Hubs, this may simply be as part of viewing the WG or Plenary session. Coordinators SHOULD show the IETF’s Note Well at formal (i.e. where it is possible to project presentations) events and discuss briefly what it means. This is useful for events targeting IETF awareness because understanding how the IETF handles IPR provides useful information for potential participants and their affiliations.

4.3. Open and Professional

Just as the IETF Plenary meetings and Working Group interims are open to all who wish to participate, it is necessary that Geographically-Focused IETF Activities are also open to all participants. Participants must behave according to professional standards. [RFC7154] is a BCP defining guidelines for conduct in the IETF; it applies to Geographically-Focused IETF Activities as well. [RFC7776] defines Anti-Harassment procedures and creates an Ombudsteam to handle issues.

4.4. Localization

Since Geographically-Focused IETF Activities specifically happen in widely varying localities, there can be language and other location-specific considerations. While the IETF works only in English, there may be some types of events where using the local language is preferable. There may be other localization accommodations that are appropriate to consider. A localization accommodation MUST NOT compromise the openness of the event for attendees.


Geographically-Focused IETF Activities may use the IETF logo and IETF name, with suitable oversight. For IETF Local Communities, there are Coordinators appointed who will be informed about the IETF Trust policies and basic acceptance. For other Geographically-Focused IETF Activities, there will also be either specific Coordinators for the activity, in the case of repeating events, or Coordinators who provide oversight to help individual events happen with local coordinators. In general, not using a misleading name and not modifying the IETF logo or name is sufficient. For unusual cases, these will be discussed on the Coordinators’ mailing list and remaining questions will be addressed to the IAD.

4.5.1. Not Official IETF Activities

Even though the IETF supports and encourages the organization of activities aimed to increase participation, when they’re not official IETF activities, careful care of IETF name and logo usage should be taken. In order to obtain permission to use or display any IETF logo or name, you must first complete and send, to, the form: Please include a description of your activity, contact information, referrals inside the IETF community and any other information that can be used for approval. As as general guideline, as long as you’re not using a misleading name for your activity (avoid using names that can be confused with official IETF activities) and you haven’t modified any IETF Trust logo or name, you will receive a positive response.

IETF logo files can be found in the IETF site (

5. Use of IETF Resources

The IETF can provide resources such as mailing lists, wikis, calendars. When a new resource is needed, the Outreach Programs Directorate member is responsible for forwarding on an appropriate request. Area Directors can approve new mailing lists; requests for new mailing lists will go to the IETF Chair or appointed delegate for initial approval.

The following is a proposed structure for IETF mailing-lists to be used by the Geographically-Focused IETF Activities.

  1. outreach-coordinators mailing list: This list has at least the Coordinators appointed by Directorate, but has open membership and archive.
  2. ietf-hub-[geography]: For Repeating Events and IETF Local Communities, there is an associated mailing list. Another possible name is ietf-local-[geography]; currently there are ietf-hub-boston and ietf-hub-bangalore.
  3. vmeet: for discussion of Geographically-Focused IETF Activities as well as virtual meetings, since that is where the conversation has been happening.
  4. Ietf-community-[large-geography]: To coordinate across the Local Communities and for other Geographically-Focused IETF Activities. A current example is ietf-community-india.
  5. outreach-discuss: For discussion of outreach activities around the IETF Community.

It is useful to have a wiki that allows a persistent URI for sharing events, storing information about past events, and brainstorming/organizing new ones. With the proposed structure where all of the Geographically-Focused IETF Activities are related to Outreach, a wiki for outreach, that can then be self-organized, is needed. This can currently be under; appropriate links and visibility will be needed and need to be periodically reevaluated.

A shared on-line calendar that at least Coordinators can add events to is needed. This will provide a single place to check when and where various activities are happening. Given that many IETFers travel for business, it also makes it easy for IETFers to discover if there is a local activity happening that is of interest.

6. Social Media and Communications

Most of IETF communications activities are coordinated and accomplished by ISOC staff. For Social media, industry media and other communication needs the Coordinator should contact for an appropriate messaging. Through ISOC’s support, the activity will be better promoted and aligned with IETF expectations. There is an ongoing revision of IASA activities that can affect how future IETF communications are managed.

Once the basic requirements and a template for the communication are understood by Coordinators, it is expected that only unusual communications will need discussion. Sharing of the information is still desirable so that events can be better promoted. Coordinators will need to work on promoting the activities and reaching out to the relevant communities.

7. Feedback Loop: Metrics and Surveys

The breadth of objectives and activities covered by Geographically-focused IETF activities makes it very hard to have a single set of metrics or appropriate surveys. Having geographically-focused IETF activities is an experiment. It is useful to know how the various activities are doing and what changes or tuning might be desirable. There is useful information to collect from Coordinators and from attendees.

Here is a list of possible questions for Coordinators.

  1. What types of events are you holding? How frequently? What is the attendance?
  2. What types of communication & outreach are you using? What seems effective?
  3. What WGs and Areas are of interest?
  4. How could the IETF make holding events easier?
  5. What kinds of events are you interested in holding in the future?
  6. Would mentors or remote speakers be helpful?
  7. What objectives do you have for your events?
  8. What is the mixture of folks attending in terms of IETF experience, affiliation, technical interests, and active participation?
  9. What advice would you give other Coordinators?

Here is a list of possible questions for attendees. Some may be primarily useful in IETF awareness and others primarily in IETF Local Communities.:

  1. What is your knowledge of and experience with the IETF before attending?
  2. Did this event meet your expectations? Was it interesting or productive? Would you attend another similar event?
  3. What types of events would be interesting? Technical discussions, social/informal discussion, remote hubs, hackathons, joint draft or RFC review and discussion, other?
  4. How did you hear about the event?
  5. Are you aware of the following ways to learn about future events and IETF-related activities?
  6. What technical areas would you be interested in working on in the IETF?
  7. Do you feel prepared to engage on IETF Working Group mailing lists and review drafts? What type of support would help?
  8. Does your affiliation/day-job understand the benefits of participating in the IETF?
  9. How might the IETF make participating easier?
  10. What WG sessions have you attended?
  11. What could be done better?
  12. What IETF topics would inspire you to participate?

8. IANA Considerations

This document has no impact on IANA registries.

9. Security Considerations

The policies in this document provide support and oversight of geographically-focused IETF activities so that the IETF name and logo are not misrepresented and so that the IETF’s IPR and Anti-Harassment policies are followed. An appeal path is provided to handle problems.

10. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[RFC7154] Moonesamy, S., "IETF Guidelines for Conduct", BCP 54, RFC 7154, DOI 10.17487/RFC7154, March 2014.
[RFC7776] Resnick, P. and A. Farrel, "IETF Anti-Harassment Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 7776, DOI 10.17487/RFC7776, March 2016.
[RFC8179] Bradner, S. and J. Contreras, "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF Technology", BCP 79, RFC 8179, DOI 10.17487/RFC8179, May 2017.

Authors' Addresses

Alia Atlas Juniper Networks EMail:
Christian O'Flaherty ISOC EMail:
Harish Chowdhary NIXI EMail: