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ARIN, was Re: 72/8 friendly reminder
- From: Edward Lewis
- Date: Thu Mar 24 11:21:05 2005
At 15:17 +0000 3/24/05, Michael.Dillon@radianz.com wrote:
To begin with, nothing I have to say here has any bearing on the
other IRR's. There is a reason there are 4-5 IRRs, each should be
tuned to local sensibilities.
That is a very brash statement, one that is easily misinterpreted,
one that may be simply wrong, or a statement that has an element of
truth. The tone of this statement is why I am bothering to reply.
However, ARIN today is a very dysfunctional organization.
First, distinguish between ARIN staff and ARIN membership.
The staff at ARIN go to great lengths to respond to what the
membership - and the public at large - ask ARIN to do. Note - NOT
JUST membership. This is why there are open policy discussions, and
open mics. (Sessions are webcast, the public policy mailing list is
free to join.)
Of course, membership does control the bounds of ARIN's response,
including that of the staff, which is why there is also a member-only
meeting on the last day of the conference.
ARIN's staff is to fairly and equitably execute the policies that the
membership organization has put into play. (I won't split hairs on
the Advisory Council or the Board's roles, this can be learned by
starting with ARIN's web site, http://www.arin.net.)
This has two consequences.
One is that it means the staff should not go and try to set the
agenda for how ARIN operates. It it beneficial if the staff is
involved to educate the members on the reality of running the
registry. It the staff goes further, they are potentially disrupting
an otherwise level playing field.
The other consequence is that the membership takes on the
responsibility for ARIN's actions. Not the staff's actions, but
ARIN's actions. If there is any dysfunction in ARIN, I suspect that
it lay here. I do not mean to infer that there is a problem, but I
think this is where the largest misunderstanding of ARIN's role
exists. I also do not demean the efforts of those who do take the
time to participate, they are the ones heading in the "right"
direction, no matter whether I agree with the opinions I hear.
One question does haunt me about how the operations community views
ARIN. Most ARIN policies are concerned with address allocation,
reporting, and such. There are not many policies regarding the
functional role ARIN plays in the Internet, the only one that leaps
to mind is a lame delegation policy under discussion.
The (haunting) question is whether the operations community feels
that there should be operational policies put before ARIN. E.g.,
support for secure routing - when a concrete approach is defined that
needs RIR input, should ARIN play?
Is there a feeling within the operator community that ARIN is...
Oh, that's was where I was going. Is that the case? If so, then
there is a dysfunction.
Most ARIN members seem to view ARIN as a distant regulatory
agency to whom they must regularly burn incense and make
sacrifices in order for the ARIN gods to bestow IP addresses
upon the unworthy network operator. The result is that there
is little participation by ARIN members in monitoring and
governing ARIN. And therefore, ARIN does what it has always
done without changing or innovating.
I want to make it clear that any lack of change or innovation is not
something that the staff has caused. (By design the staff is in
reaction mode.) The lack of change or innovation is the motivation
for the haunting question above.
I don't like "fault", it implies that there is something seriously
broken. For the most part, things are working fairly well. Maybe at
the operator level we see ways the world would be much better if we
ruled things, but to the general public, the Internet is making
things better. (Maybe for just some, but you have to admit overall
things are better.)
that ARIN carries a big stick like the FCC. The fault is not
with the people involved in ARIN; the fault is with the majority
of IP network operators who do not get involved with ARIN.
But, the point is taken that ARIN would be much more "useful" to the
Internet if there was a change in participation. However, the
improvement is not in the demographics of the participation, but in
the content of the participation. If the content of the
participation was well-balanced, then the demographics will follow.
After all, if the policies ARIN membership were "perfect" now and
into the future, there's no longer a need for the membership to steer
the staff. The only thing the staff would have to do is execute the
(benevolent, perfect) bureaucracy. ;)
PS - I think my response to Michael is not so much an opposing view,
but a slightly different emphasis in where improvements may lie. I
really don't think Michael is trying to "stick it to the staff." (I
hope he's not.) But a lot of times people confuse the ARIN staff
with the ARIN membership organization.
Edward Lewis +1-571-434-5468
Achieving total enlightenment has taught me that ignorance is bliss.