Friday, 18 May 2018
At 9 a.m.:
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Good morning, you early birds, it's great to see so many of you here in the room spread around, but thanks for coming. I better make my way up there because I have to present and Chair and everything at the same time, and you are usually used to see Nick here chairing this unGodly session, I am taking over from him.
So this first session, first hour, we want to talk a a bit about local network operators' groups and how they are connected to RIPE or not and how we can help each other out and communicate better within this community and what the NOGs maybe need from RIPE and what RIPE, the larger RIPE community can maybe use from the NOGs so that the communication kind of flows both ways. So, this is the agenda, so I will just start, I will kick it off with a little overview of the NOG landscape in our service region, we is it a survey and have some information about the various form mats of the NOGs. They will have four short presentations, five minutes each from some of the NOG organisers in our service region that are here and we have a slightly longer presentation by Christian from iNOG who has some interesting and they have experimented with some interesting ideas on how to include and incorporate their communities in Ireland. And then we hopefully have some time at the end for some discussion and some exchange and I would like to hear your opinions on a few questions that I will have at the end of the ‑‑ this hour that we have.
So, we have about 25 or maybe 26 by now network operators' groups in our service region so, it's not 25 countries because there are some countries that have two, or three even, they are countries that have city NOGs as well, Manchester meetup and there are other countries that have smaller operators' groups as well. But it's kind of spread nicely around the region, not quite 76 NOGs yet, but last few years there is a big increase in local operators groups.
So why do we organise this or why do we support NOGs? And we think it's great to see the community kind of spread around and have like little communities and because ‑‑ you can come to the RIPE meetings and have a RIPE community but of course every country or every smaller community they have their own issues, their own languages and circumstances, their own stages in development, so it's great to see that people also get together in their countries.
And maybe it's easier to engage kind of locally if you go around the corner than having to travel far away. So we'd like to support that development. And how do we do that? Well for the last few years already we have been informally also supporting a lot of network operators groups in our region by, for instance, sending speakers from the RIPE NCC or maybe we recommended other speakers. We have also been sponsoring network operators meetings and various ‑‑ in various ways and we have a lot of expertise from organising the RIPE meetings and also we kind of know a lot of people in the community. And we have also, at the last point, maybe proportionately we have developed a lot of tools, like we use meeting registration system for the RIPE meeting, we have registration forums that we use for other events and various other things, network AP so a lot of these tools are open source and available so our developers have made them available and the NOGs are I can making use of that for their own events so they don't have to redevelop everything. And we have a website, I think I have that later on in another slide where we have a lot of information about NOGs and there is some reports from network operators meetings and so forth.
So we have intensified our work a bit later, set up a mailing list for the organisers of these NOG events and we also organised a meeting here this week, like a little informal BoF kind of thing where just very well attended, a lot of network group came together and we had a constructive decision, there were a lot of discussions about legal entity versus informal and non‑legal get‑togethers, how to get sponsors, how to find speakers, all these kind of issues so that was interesting. And this is the NOG, this is the link to that web page that I just mentioned. And I said that we service ‑‑ we had a survey earlier this year, or last year I think already, we sent a survey out to all the organisers and we got a lot of responses, almost all responded, we had some more information because they are so different. I mean, there is a huge diversity in the NOG community. So people, like small, less than 50 attendees to all the way up to, there is one has over 800 attendees. They are meetings that happen once a year, for one day or two days. They also operators groups that meet every month, short evening events. So it's a very diverse landscape, if you will. And really, kind of takes the local issues and desires into account, I guess. A lot of them have social events because it's a lot about connecting people and speaking to each other and social events help with that as we hopefully experienced last night. And also I was interested to find out in this surveys, is there a number of challenges that are kind of common to the NOGs. So, for instance, the main challenge of the NOGs was finding volunteers. Most of the network operators groups are based on volunteer work and so you have to find people in the country in your community to have to ‑‑ help out, find the venue, location, organise everything, print the badges, whatever you have to do. And so that seems to be difficult to find and to sustain volunteers, of course; I mean, we all know that. And another challenge is to find good presenters and also how to deal with sponsors, you know somebody told me yesterday they are kind of in the fortunate or unfortunate position position that everybody wanted to be the gold sponsor, everybody wanted to be on top and have all the benefits of the gold sponsor but you can only have one in that situation. And so they couldn't find sponsors that wanted to be lower on the list. Other people, have difficulties finding sponsors at all and also if you have no legal entity where does the money go to? All of these kind of little nitty‑gritty things. Do you give sponsors a speaking slot or not, and how do you find interesting presenters.
So there is all the results and all the graphs, everything is on RIPE lags, you can find it there on the RIPE website.
Just to wrap up a few similarities we found in this survey is of course in most cases the money comes from sponsorship, there are very few, if at all, legal ‑‑ like NOGs that have, I think there is one or two maybe that have an organisation in the background that helps also with funding and sponsorship, most NOGs rely on different sponsors each time. And it's mainly organised by volunteers, as I said. And yes, some differences also I mentioned like some are very small and just started recently and some have been going on for years. There was another discussion point we had, when is a NOG too big, we see it here at RIPE we have over 700 people now, we have to go to centre, is it a workable meeting or is it turned into a conference? The NOGs are struggling with that. When is it getting too big, you are starting with a small evening event and you have to find another venue to host all these people but it's successful but also difficult to handle. Legal entities, I think why a lot of the 20 NOGs that responded they have a legal entity set‑up and we had a big discussion about this and I think one of the speakers is going to go into more details of that.
That is the end of my part. If you want to switch over, we have a series of five presenters now. I think Michalis is next from GRNOG first, and everyone has five minutes. I will be timing you, come, please.
MICHALIS OIKONOMAKOS: Good morning and together with Andreas Oikonomakros, Kstas Zorbadelos, and Michalis Bersimis is watchin us from Greece ‑‑ we are running ‑‑ we are the four volunteers running GRNOG, and we will be quickly presenting how we build GRNOG, how we operate it and what future plans we have regarding GRNOG.
So, our community was launched back in 2015, and it it covers all professionals, which are involved in design implementation and provisioning of Greek Internet services. Our main scope is to create a human network of professionals with common technical interests and to promote the cooperation between companies, bodies and parties related to the evolution and ‑‑ evolution of the Greek Internet. So we slowly started with small core of 30 people, basically by merging two Working Groups that was relevant back in the day in Greece, IPv6 Greek task force and Greek post masters and we slowly got bigger and nowadays we have around 150 members coming from a broad spectrum like integrators, ISPs, research, governmental bodies, Cloud providers. I think the most accurate thing to say, it's that nowadays we have evolved into the largest event in Greece where network engineers meet.
We are holding our events twice a year with strong emphasis in technical presentation and team bonding, which coming via social events we held ‑‑ were held after our meetings. And we get to know each other and discuss matters of common interest. So, back in 2015 when we had our first meeting GRNOG 1 we had around 36 participants ‑‑ people participating in this and we slowly got bigger in terms of participants to our meetings and on 2017 when we had our last meeting GRNOG 6 we had almost 100 participants. We do plan to have our next event on 6th July.
Finally, what are the future plans of our team? First and foremost, we want to expand our community. We thought without losing its focus and and we want our members to further participate in our events or by physically being there or by presenting things that are of common interest, or discussing about technical things on our mailing list.
So until today, our group ‑‑ our community is run by four volunteers which I mentioned earlier in the start of my presentation. But as our events are getting more and more members, it's time, more participants, it's time, and as things going better and better it, in each event, we have noticed that our members are expecting more professional services in our meetings; I mean, better premises in order to do the meeting ‑‑ better social event and stuff like that. So, we are heavily considering becoming a legal entity in order to compensate with delivering professional services to our members. We do have some consideration about NOGs in order to organise our event and we are very happy and welcome the introduction of NOG tools by RIPE NCC, that was something that was missing in the past, and we are planning in incorporating them, all those tools in our site and use them.
Finally, we would like to attract more sponsors, not only for increasing our income in terms of having more money to organise event but in order to promote group activities and its existence and its importance within the Greek companies.
Finally, I would like to thank our two biggest sponsors, RIPE NCC which gives us annually some budget in order to help us organise our events, and OTE for helping with almost every time with our social events. And secondly, all the other Greek companies that have helped in the past, mostly by providing the premises in order to host those events.
So thank you for your attention, and I will gladly take any questions if there are any.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: I suggest we hold questions to the very end of this short series of presentations. Erik, where are you? So next ‑‑ thanks Michalis, we will get back to you.
So next up is Erik from Romania talking about how they have been setting up the Romanian network operators group, has different types of challenges again.
ERIC ANDREI BALEANU: I represent RONOG, Romanian Network Operators Group. I am from ‑‑ Internet Exchange where hosting the event from the beginning. The idea to start Romanian NOG came from Euro‑IX, we hosted Euro‑IX forum in 2014 and Bijal ask us why don't you organise a NOG in Romania and we did it.
So, the first Romanian NOG was in 2014, after the 25th Euro‑IX forum. We had 141 attendees from 19 countries and 25 speakers in the ‑‑ and a lot of topics about policy and governance, IXPs, network operators, CDNs and equipment vendors and security.
The second edition was in 2015, we had more attendees, 147 from 11 countries, topics were also policy and governance, IXPs, security, network operators and equipment vendors. We also had RIPE training courses after a NOG, two days of RIPE training courses. The third edition was clubbed with ION meeting from ISOC, and also we had two RIPE training days, almost 150 attendees and a lot of topics, of course.
Last year, we had over 200 attendees at RONOG, we are getting bigger and bigger. We also had RIPE training days, we had RIPE member lunch after the event and also topics were policy and governance, infrastructure, network operators and security, IoT/IPv6.
This year, we will have the fifth edition, we are expecting more attendees, 250, maybe. And we have the ‑‑ we have a lot of interesting topics.
Our challenges during the time was, first, of course, raising attendance level, we are expecting more and more attendees to be present at the event. We expect all the operators from Romania and maybe why not from the region to be present. We want to involve more people from the community into the Programme Committee because they don't want or they don't ‑‑ they are not interested to involve. We are fighting to decrease the no show rate because this is a free event, there is no attendance fee and some people registered and they do not show. Raising awareness to the local community, and also covering costs, we have a lot of sponsors usually, but we are covering the costs, the rest of the costs.
And we have some future ideas and plans for the event. We want to implement a meeting tool and maybe we will use the one from RIPE NCC. We think to organise two editions per year maybe, adding a spring edition in the summer because the main edition is in autumn. A spring edition in summer in other regions from the country to reach other cities, because our country is quite big and not all the people could come to Bucharest every year. And maybe extend the event to two days per event, and of course, why not clubbing with other events like we did in the past.
The Romanian NOG was organised every year with the support from Internet Society, Euro‑IX and RIPE NCC.
And our special thanks goes to Jane Coffin from ISOC, Mirjam Kuehne from RIPE NCC, Kevin from ISOC, Martin Levy from Cloudflare, Harald, Serge from RIPE NCC, Bijal Euro‑IX, Alexi and Jan Zorz from ISOC for the help during the time in the last editions.
Thank you very much.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thank you, Erik. It's great how you all stay on time. Denesh is up next, a whole different story again because UKNOF is one of the oldest operators group in the region and they have been going through a long history.
DENESH BHABUTA: I am the event manager the UKNOF, but I am also the executive director since 2011 for the legal entity behind UKNIF limited. I am happy to answer any questions later on during lunch, but if you have any other questions after the RIPE meeting then by all means, please, email me.
So generally, the purpose, because really, what is UKNOF is about, it's really ‑‑ it's written there, that is from our charter, but the gist of it is it's a distribution of clue to build a knowledgeable community of network engineers and network operators, because once you have a knowledgeable industry, you have a very, very good industry that can take you forward and hopefully encourage newcomers and new blood into the industry to take us forward.
And this is where we are at the moment. We have had 40 meetings since the 25th May 2005 so we are coming up to our 13th birthday. We hold three meetings a year, generally now there are ‑‑ they are in January in London, in April they are always in Manchester and we have a roaming one in September, the next one is on 11th September in Edinburgh, if anyone is interested they are free to attend still, so please come along, you will be more than welcome to along. We have a mailing list of about 1,400 people, it's not very high traffic, but the discussions we have are quite good on there. And we have a Programme Committee of 15 people at the moment who solicit for the talks, an advisory committee made up of representatives from nonprofit organisations such as RIPE NCC, and we have a board of six people at the moment.
Committed regular volunteers because without the volunteers it would be quite difficult to keep the costs low, and it would be ‑‑ and also what we'd like is we'd like help from the community to run these things, we want people to be involved and become part of the community. And we currently have a secure ongoing financial base but you will see I have asterisked that because I will talk about that a bit later on.
So how it all started was, yes, so I remember when I used to work for an Internet company back in the mid‑'90s and newcomer in the industry, it was all about collaboration between competing organisations, so me being at Daemon Internet and my colleagues being at companies like PipeEx, we were all learning from each other and it just helped us grow, had helped us grow the companies we worked for that. That collaboration really helped move all our companies forward. But then towards the end of the '90s we found that there were organisations coming along and buying all these ISPs out, they were coming in with, in my view, telco sensibilities, and it became very closed. So there was a lack of open collaboration. And so UKNOF came about to tackle that. So we wanted to tackle that, building the open collaboration again and actually build a community because for us the all about the community. And how would we achieve this? So there were discussions at the time and we decided that we would have a mailing list where people could collaborate with each other, and we would hold meetings so the meetings then became three spread around the country, three times a year. It was going to be open to all, which meant at that we wanted to keep it free, there was going to be no membership, it wouldn't be closed to just members and we would encourage people from commercial and non‑commercial organisations and individuals to come along. And we wanted to have wider remit because what we found was that with some of the membership organisations, they were ‑‑ they had ‑‑ they had a more specific remit and we wanted to encompass all of those and go wider than that. So the considerations at the time were, well manpower, which we tackled with volunteers, and the PC and the people involved in running the thing we were all volunteers, and the other thing was actual funding because of course you need money to run these things. When you have got catering and venues and things like that.
So what happened was that it then ‑‑ we had UKNOF limited who become the secretariat. UKIF were doing other things at the time Keith Mitchell, you know him from the community, and started this, so UKIF limited provided the secretariat services to do the event admin. We decided to have a funding council for base funding and these were different organisation such as LINX and like myself, I gave my time for free in organising these things and also we had an active Programme Committee to solicit the presentations.
This went on from 2005 to 2011, at which point we had to rethink things, because UKNOF was growing, it went from the first meeting where there were about 40 people attend to go around 2011 when London meetings were hitting about 100. The problem was that we were having free venues at that time, venues were being donated, but it got to the point where we were turning back people because venues were not able to accommodate the people so people turning up on the door and sorry you can't come in. So we had to rethink things. We had ‑‑ we started with an expanded Board in September 2011, went from three board members to circumstances brought new blood in (six) and we created the advisory committee, again nonprofit organisations like I mentioned, so Serge is the representative from RIPE NCC and the Programme Committee continued. What we had was, we had various consideration such as actually funding because if we wanted to grow, we couldn't really rely on free venues, so we had to pay for these things and had to go to more professional venues which needed we needed to raise more money, and we looked at formalising how we ran these meetings and we needed to look at growth. It was also around this time, because of the growth in the community, we considered and actually did introduce a code of conduct as well. Now, raising the funding means that going and talking to lots and lots of potential sponsors and dealing with sponsors and that is quite time consuming so it was then decided to employ my services to be the official event manager and raise the funding accordingly. Which allowed us to grow. And I will show you the ‑‑ this is how we grew, so number one is in 2005 and number 21 is ‑‑ number 21 is 2011. So it took us from 23 all the way through to 25 to grow and realise the strategies that we were to go. So, we actually we can see it was quite a big growth at that time due to the strategies we had worked on.
But of course, nothing ever stays still and we are now thinking about the next evolution. We are looking at how we can have more direct accountability to the community, both on the Board and also in the Programme Committee, but we also want to keep it lightweight, we don't want to have a very governance approach, we are not about that. Again the all about the community rather than the structure. But there has to be some sort of structure behind it. Again, what we are finding is that when we think about growth we don't really think about growth in numbers any more, of course that would be nice but it's all about bringing new blood into the industry, newcomers, the younger generations, what we found when we have done our surveys is most of our attendees are 35 and above and so how do we encourage the youngsters to come along and be part of the community and take the industry forward? Funding and financial stability, so on that point, what we found is that sponsorship is getting quite thin on the ground. There is companies consolidating, there are companies who are now owned by investment firms who are only interested in direct immediate return on investment, and rather than when you come to a meeting such as a meeting or UKNOF it's all about subliminal return on investment and it's long‑term gains, whereas with those they want to do trade shows where they are in the face of salesmen and stuff, so we are finding a bit of a challenge on that score and what we really want to do is we want to increase the participation but how do we do this if we are going to introduce maybe charging? Do we charge? Do we introduce charging? I don't know yet. We are working on that. Manpower, at the moment it's me and Mike who deal with most of the stuff, Mike Hughes, and of course GDPR is the consideration that, that horrible word, but thank you very much.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thank you, very insightful, and next Joao with the Spanish NOG.
JOAO DAMAS: I am going to go briefly over things went when we came about creating ESNOG. So these actually came up while we ‑‑ a few of us were at the RIPE meeting, Fernando, who is still here, and ‑‑ we were having lunch at one of the RIPE meetings last, we don't have anything like a RIPE meeting, even if it was smaller, back in Spain. People go about their business but rarely talk to each other, they probably even don't know each other even though they are colleagues. So it was like how hard can it be? Let's get it started. So we did. It started with a meeting in February 2008, so that was a bit long ago already, time goes by faster than you think when you are having fun, and since then we have been doing the twice a year meetings, normally March, April and then Octoberish. Because of the way things, the industry is distributed in Spain, most of the meetings take place in Madrid and Barcelona, but whenever possible we venture outside so we extend and get the idea of ESNOG to other people living elsewhere. We have grown in attendance, it's been ups and downs, but our average we have 60 to 80 people. We don't push the matter too much, we think that for us it is more important to keep the sense of community than to grow the attendance, as far as we can. This is very important, and to grow organically, we have people want to come rather than just get a number of people sitting there passively. And it's worked. As I said, we started with three of us organising this stuff, now we are up to six. Isabel, who is here, is great, super active but it's that kind of, as you go along and come across people who have ideas, who are willing to contribute and have the right mindset, incorporate them.
Issues we have, well typically the same as pretty much everyone else, finding content. It is sometimes easy to get talks about very super fancy things, but whenever possible we try to find things that are more day‑to‑day, things that are more likely relevant to how people, what things people have to do in their jobs, so we don't necessarily always look for, like, the most astonishing or inspiring talks, it's more like if you have this problem and you think other people are going to have this problem, come and talk to everyone about it and then maybe if you haven't solved even the problem yourself yet, maybe other people in the room will have, and so encourage that kind of exchange. And that has worked quite well.
Keep a focus on people from the region, from the country, when looking for presentations, rather than people from abroad. People from other parts have interesting things to say, of course, but sometimes problems are lightly different. We have a common language, which is not English, apart from different regional languages but at least there is one that we can all use to understand each other so far, so we try to have the talks in that; sometimes that discourages people from elsewhere in Europe to come and attend. Well, this is ESNOG, it's for the ES people, everyone else is welcome but they have to understand, right? Everyone understands English so if we get people that present in English that is fine but the focus is still about the local community.
And of course keep the talks engineering‑related, keep the marketing out as much as possible.
Whenever you start organising these things there are costs associated with being able to carry it out. But there are ways around it, there are ways to deal with it. Typically, you need a a room, a room that seats 60 or 80 people, is no longer your living room or a bar even, but so far, for instance, we have never paid for a room; we have always managed to talk to people, show them what interest this kind of event would have to them, in Barcelona we have the continued support of C ISOC which is the manager of the ‑‑ the cat lain Jan network and they have a great venue, we can always count of them. Elsewhere it's the same sort of thing. So that is how approach. Audio and video, varies. So we have been able to do streaming and all the things you can come to expect from meetings like that and we do it ourselves. If you stay with your feet on the ground, it turns out it's possible to do a lot of things with available resources.
We have this long time from the first meeting in, fact, sponsor, Espanix, they had been trying to do a technical meeting for the members, they were not quite managing to get one off the ground, so when we came along, Cristobel said great, I will give you the coffees and lunches, and that has been a partnership since the beginning and it's working well. And the social, well, it's nice to have a social, I think when you take people outside of formal environment which you always end up having somewhat when you have a meeting, you give room to the exchanges of opinions and of ideas. In the beginning our socials, we paid for them ourselves, we would rent a place or make a reservation and after a few of the people, other organisations started coming to us and it's like well, I will support you. So that is basically the idea around this NOG, keep it simple and informal as much as possible. Focus object the community and on the exchange of ideas and the participation of as many members of the community as possible. Everyone who contributes are welcome, there is a slight risk you may be incorporated into the organisation, and so far, we don't have a formal structure or a legal entity; we are now considering it because we are attracting some sponsorship so it's a bit iffy, if someone wants to give you the money and we are not ‑‑ a legal entity who manages that money no one as individual wants to imagine that money, I think that is fair. So we are considering it. But like, you know, things, keep it simple, solve your problems when you have them, be open and if things sort of with goodwill you will find out there is a lot of good will out there and that's how ‑‑ that is how communities are built, really. I think that is all.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thank you, Joao. And next up is Christian, we are running a little short of time so I hope you will manage to squeeze in your 30 slides in less than 10 minutes.
CRISTIAN SIRBU: Thank you for coming in here to hear us talk about our communities. It's really important and I know it's really early as well. Another big thank you goes to the RIPE community for fostering NOGs, to the NCC for supporting us and especially to Mirjam for actually getting us all together and talking about it this week on a few occasions.
So my name is Cristian Sirbu and I am one of the co‑founders and organisers of the Irish Network Operators Group. By day I am a network architecture and a consultant and by night I usually worry a lot and write many, many emails. Seriously, the communication part and aspect of NOGs and communities is really, really important.
So, to talk about iNOG, I will start first by failing at recursive acronyms. This alternative spelling of iNOG actually came out of some discussions that we had this week, and hopefully the rest of the presentation will show you why I got to try it this new experiment.
So this is something else that came out of discussions and it's really good a point to make, what works for us might not work for everybody else, might not work for you, but then we can also learn from each other and that I think is the important part of what we are doing here.
To give you an idea of this process of growth that we have had, we are at about 700 community members currently and our meeting started from five people attending and now we are at about 90 to 100 at each meeting. So let me tell you then about iNOG.
The way we started, basically, was with a discussion on Twitter. Someone asked the question, is there a NOG in Ireland, can we meet people that work in this industry? After some furious Googling we didn't really find too much; I will tell you a bit later what we found, so the answer was why don't we actually get together and try to see if we can start one. And obviously a question is the best way to answer another question. The person over there you can see with very subtle arrow pointed at his face is my partner in crime, Donal. He is a great guy, he is the other organiser of iNOG and the person which taught me a lot about organisating events and fostering community and without whom none of this would have happened, I am positively sure by now. So, what happened is, Donal got us a couple of hours in a co‑working space on a boat, which you see behind, so that is actually an office, or was, I am not sure if the space still have it. We grabbed some beers and snacks and we got together and talked about, hey, can we start this thing? What do we expect from a NOG? So this was essentially our first meeting, so okay, this is number 1. Then our second meeting came up, we had the initial five people, and then a few others. I can see a lot of faces there that have been supporters of our community along the years and have contributed quite a bit. Not pictured is also Barry Donovan from INEX who was busy presenting while I was taking a picture of everyone else. As time wore by the number both of members and the one behind the double column was actually going up at dizzying rate so this was iNOG 6, then we got to 9 and then we got to A. And B. So basically, we started making counting fun again from 2015, one digit at a time.
Now, story time is partly over, I have a few lessons we learned along the years that I would like to share with you. And basically, you will see, I think, especially the last part, you will kind of see the recurring theme, we like to call things out loud and make things explicit to people because this basically creates the correct mindset for people from the get‑go. Our message, as you can find it on iNOG.net on the website, has three parts that I would like to emphasise today, so the first one is that iNOG is a community of people that have an interest in network engineering, that practice it or have an interest in network engineering, right?
Next, we provided entertainment as it's called, focused on providing education and enter time at the same time through the content we have at our meetings, and lastly, the part about rebirthing, essentially Ireland had ‑‑ used to have a community back, I don't know, something like ten years ago, and I'm sure Brian can correct me, he probably was part of it alongside other members that are in iNOG right now, so in 2015 we actually started from scratch and grew to what is there today.
A quick one. We started from the beginning with a code of conduct, it's very important to have one and to make everyone aware of it. We read it out loud at the beginning of every meeting and this is again part of the be explicit mantra. Make sure that it applies to both online and off‑line interactions because we are not only about in person events; you will have a SLAAC, an IRC, a mailing everything, so the code of conduct should apply everywhere. Having a code of conduct is obviously not enough, you should have a few more things and should know what to do when something happens, should have trusted contacts and a way of people submitting anonymous feedback.
I think you have all been to enough conferences now and you have seen and maybe been in that place. There are people walking around aimlessly, they are sitting in their chair staring blankly into space waiting for presentations to start, busying themselves with the phone because there is have gone very important going there, maybe somebody is paying attention to you on Twitter instead of realtime, I have been there, I have been all of these people at all of the conferences I have gone. So, which we try to make an effort and we think it's a good thing to foster to the community to integrate these people, go and at least introduce yourself to them, maybe see what are their interests and why are they here and maybe use your knowledge of the rest of the community to introduce them to someone or to another group and get chat going.
Nothing really beats free. So if you can keep attendance free to your event, do it. There is nothing like having a really low or no barrier to actually attending the meeting and becoming part of the community, we have seen at our events people come that ‑ so, students, a lot of students who may not know a lot about network engineering but maybe they were part of some net SOCs or com SOCs. We had speak that were thinking of changing careers, we had people bringing their partners who were working in some related domains, so it's really important to allow everyone to have access to the event.
For example, these guys are Lorcan and Tim and they came on stage in front of 100 people and they talked about the challenges of running the student network. The link down there, I heard you to actually read it because it includes two very important concepts: First one is give people explicit permission to make new friends and to talk to people, and the second one is, when standing in a group of people, stand like pack man, which means leave room for someone to join your group. So keep kind of an open circle.
Capture and share, I think this is what many people get and putting videos and slides and all possible information on your website for everyone around to be able to access is very important, and I have had just yesterday someone telling me, you know, I live in Germany, right, so I can't attend iNOGs but I have seen almost 80% of your videos and they are great. We have two pages that are related to proposing the talk and proposing a meeting venue to us. I don't have any time to go into details about them but they are both there to inform people of what are the guidelines and the requirements of such things, but also we have given them as examples to others who are just starting up with smaller meet‑ups and so on to use as a basis or give an idea what is in this, involved in doing this.
Very quickly, iNOG meetings are three‑and‑a‑half hours long. They are in the evening after work, so this gives people the option of just attending after work. We do them now with ‑‑ so we started with meetings every two months at the beginning. This pace proved to be kind of unsustainable after a while as we grew, as you can imagine, but nowadays we have meeting every three months, and I think that's kind of a good pace. We rotate between weekdays, again this is about inclusion, some people might have commitments on certain weekdays so we can allow them to actually join us now and then. And the venue being accessible means that we try to have venues in the city centre that have good links with public transportation and so on. I see Mirjam picking up her microphone so I have only two or three more slides.
So, visiting new places, we go around in different venues for ‑‑ from companies. This is great because it allows us to bring the community to various workplaces, they get to see those companies' buildings ‑‑ their venue but it allows the people working for that company to get in touch with our community and to see and maybe out of curiosity pop down to the event and see what is going on.
So 2018, the things that we are doing this year, we introduced a donation button, and the way to give money to us, as organisers, this allowed us to quickly create a new ‑‑ to order a new batch of stickers, for example. The button is like this, we added it to our website, the basically, you get warm and fuzzy feelings, that is about it. It's just a way to allow us to operate on a budget that is not exactly zero.
We also got inspiration from our good friends in NLNOG, introduced to us quite a number of years before an idea of optional donation tickets so basically attendance is free but if you want to give us some money now you have the option to do that.
The June double feature, we have ‑‑ at the weekend there will a RIPE hackathon in Do Space for the whole weekend. Registration is open for both of them, if you are able to join us in Dublin, please apply.
So leave you with a parting thought: Regardless of the format and how your community and your event might look like, we think that all NOGs should be open, friendly and inclusive spaces, based on whatever tech interest may be. They should provided entertainment to their members and always, always put community first, thank you.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thank you, Christian, that was inspiring. I guess it was a bit of a challenge to squeeze five or six speakers in and have a discussion. We don't have a lot of time left. I don't know if you want to quickly put up my presentation in the very last slide.
CRISTIAN SIRBU: One thing. Those are our stickers, I still have a few left and a few fridge magnets, get in touch with me, I will be around.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: I was just curious, how many of you are attending local NOGs in your country or in others? Wow, lots of you. Okay, great, great. And I don't know, do you have any comments, questions, quickly, tend? I think just to summarise, if you make your way to the microphone, what I hear is, what the most use of these NOGs is knowledge exchange between engineers even though their companies might be competitors, which is in the RIPE spirit, of course, and spreading include and training and being inclusive and building a community.
SPEAKER: Andreas Polyrakis from GRNET and the Greek NOG. I have a question for Erik. I saw that you have a lot of attendance from other countries, does this mean that Juri vents are in English? Can you say a few things about how exactly does this work.
ERIC ANDREI BALEANU: We have events in both English and Romanian but also translation from English to Romanian and Romanian to English in headphones. So you can speak either in Romanian or English.
RANDY BUSH: Expensive. Translation labour must be cheap in Romania. I participate in JP, and, you know, we used to have a lot of presentations here on IXPs and the first slide was always about how much traffic and it got pretty boring, and so, you know, I'm interested in are you a little NOG, a big NOG, etc., but this is not a contest and I don't think growth and size is a goal; I think content is the goal. And next meeting in Amsterdam, how about you tell the most unusual and interesting presentation you have had, and I will start with an example from JP NOG, which is a presentation on what was my favourite hand tools to bring when I work in the rack.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thanks, Randy, that is a great idea.
Now the background idea was to give a range of different formats and sizes and entities and I think that worked and I was just trying to give also a bit of a stage to the local NOGs that we don't actually talk about here at the RIPE meetings. So I hope you enjoyed that. Without further ado, I am sorry you ran out of time, I want to hand over to Anna Wilson and the next topic in this morning session, and I don't know what microphone ‑‑
ANNA WILSON: I have one. Good morning. Hi, I work for HEAnet, which is the national research network in Ireland, I am also a former Working Group Chair. And we are here over the next 30 minutes to talk about agreeing a process to select a new Chair for RIPE, not immediately but we will talk about when.
One of Hans Petter's duty as chair is to get us to agree this process, we need a process for this, and we know that this is going to, one thing we know about this, it is definitely going to need the consensus of the RIPE community. So there has been some discussion of this in the past and it's probably time for us to consider what the next steps should be in order to get us to that process.
Those discussions have happened in a number of different places, and one thing that is very important to emphasise is this: is the community's decision. We in this room are ultimately responsible for how this goes, which gives us the question: how do we get from where we are to a natural proposal? Some of the discussion happened a fair while ago, some of it ‑‑ some of us since then might have changed our minds, we might have a new view on things. The good news is we have a secretariat who can help with this, so Hans Petter, with the NCC in their role as secretariat, spent a while summarising the discussion and tried to distill it into something that we as a community can work with. And then of course we can take that, I am going to present that over the next five or six minutes, we can have that discussion in the room and work out how we feel about the summary and what steps we want to take. If that sounds okay with you? Cool.
Rather than moderate the discussion himself, Hans Petter thought it might be good to get someone from the community to do this so that is why I am here. I am going to present that summary now, I will lay it on the table, we can spend the following, it will be about 23, 24 minutes, deciding how we feel about it, and in order to get people out by the coffee break, and I will get you out, I'd ask us all to focus certainly let's have a chat about how we feel about the possibilities here, but I really want to focus on what next steps should be so we can come away with some actions at the end of this half hour.
So, one thing I do want to say is we know that this process needs to be transparent, right? So how to you make it transparent? And in my experience, you kind of need two things to do this: This needs to be lightweight but it also needs to be at least somewhat formalised, you need both. If it's not at least somewhat formal then you can't account for it, but if it's too heavy you get lost in the process and you get other problems which militate against transparency. So to get there, I think the problem sort of breaks down three ways, there is sort of three things you need to solve for here, and, you know, here is a starting point for each of these based on the discussions so far. Want to see them in the cold day, next to each other, then we can talk about adjusting them.
So the first thing here is you need to pool of candidates, right? There is a lot of ways to do this. Based on the discussion, a plausible way to try and assemble a list of candidates seems to be a nominating committee, which immediately now presents a second problem, who should be on the committee? It's a tough question.
There is a lot of possibilities for this. One possibilities is maybe subset of Working Group Chairs, this absolutely needs debate because the Working Group Chairs already ‑‑ I mean, the kind of a magnet for responsibility for this kind of thing, they have a lot of stuff loaded on them already. On the other hand, if there is a clear group of people who are already seen to be in some way representing the community and have been chosen to do so, the the Working Group Chairs, isn't it? So we immediate to talk about that.
One way or another, whatever the make‑up of the Nomcom I think it's clear it does need to be a diverse group, you have to have a balance of geographical location, gender tenure within the community, stuff like that. Let's assumed we have solved problem number one, wave list of candidate, what comes next, how do you select the Chair from the list of candidates? Who gets to do the selection? Is a tough problem in RIPE actually. We do have a definition of the community, the on the RIPE website but it's ‑ think deliberately quite fuzzy and not something that is really easy to base an electorate off, so we don't really have consensus around that, even if we were all in this room to agree we need a vote and I don't think we all in this room need ‑‑ we wouldn't know thousand conduct an election without deciding this, which often makes they think maybe we are asking the wrong question and that brings me back to representatives which sort of brings me back to perhaps the Chairs again. But once you have that decision, one possibility here is, in order to choose your final canned date, to make your selection, there are other ways around this. You can publish the shortlist, then a period of community support or objection or comment. We see this in other parts or adjacent communities, we did something very, very similar in ASOC, and you would have a group that would make the final selection, let's talk about who that should be.
Okay. Great we have solved problem number 2, right? Once you have those, there is the third question of how long should the tenure be? Maybe it should be long, maybe it should be short. That is entirely up to you. As a place to start in the discussion so far, it seemed like there attend tended to be agreement around somewhere between three and five years, shorter than that and it seems to be difficult to find your feet; longer than that is a bit long to make sure there is proper accountability to there. We could split the difference, a four year term and talk about whether to increase or decrease that and we should talk about term limits.
So, this is an effort to try and take the bones of a process, not to let's make this a fixed proposal but bring it forward for discussion and we have 21 minutes between now and the coffee break. Let's discuss that now and do of course please bear in mind that this isn't the NCC's responsibility or anyone else's responsibility to make this happen, it's us as a community, the us in the room, we need to make this work. I will get you out before the coffee break, so let's here some ideas about these things, about how you feel about these, and let's discuss them. I think what I am going to try and do if everyone is okay with this process, is let's hear the discussion over the next few minutes and we will try and distill that into some actions and I might try and get a show of hands near the end to see if we can get consensus or actions to come from. After that, if everyone is comfortable with that, I expect we'll have the NCC make a new draft based on what is said over the next 20 minutes in this room, send it to the discussion list and we can have a comment period and work from there. So that is enough from me, and I see people coming to the microphones.
JIM REID: I think this is a very good idea and it's a very important thing we have a proper and considered cushion discussion about this and I think the important thing above all is to take our time and get this right. My gut feeling myself is I think a nominating committee is the way forward, but I would like to suggest something else as well about this whole appointment process. Maybe we should also be thinking about having a Vice‑Chair as well and the thought about two that is twofold: What happens if the chair is busy or day job intervenes? And we might have a problem there? And secondly, it might also be somebody could be the heir apparent like a success plan when the Chair's time expires or the term limit or whatever it is, the Vice‑Chair could potentially step up having been familiar with how the RIPE meetings are run and having plucked into ‑‑ Hans Petter had that benefit with Rob, so Rob had a great deal of contacts in government and elsewhere that the rest of us didn't have and Rob had time to plug Hans into all those contacts and I think we want to have that succession and continuity rather than abrupt change from one Chair to another.
SPEAKER: To continue Jim's ‑‑ I have a question to Hans Petter. So I hope he will be able to answer. If you accidentally decide that you need to step down now, do you already have candidates for the next RIPE Chair?
HANS PETTER HOLEN: No.
SPEAKER: And do you feel that you can select like you are selected?
HANS PETTER HOLEN: Personally, no. I know that that has been suggested to me by the community that I could select my successor, personally. I don't think that is a good solution. If something happens now we need to have, whether it's written down or not, we need to have a community consensus process that involves more people than me. Last time it was a consensus process that involved the Working Group Chairs, the PC, RIPE NCC Board and others but it wasn't very open and transparent. So if I decide tomorrow that I want to step down, which I have no intention of doing, we would have to invent something on‑the‑fly. But I think that right now there is something else on the table and I think that ‑‑ if I ‑‑ my plan falls on the way home, God forbid, I think running with Anna has proposed is probably something that the easiest thing to get a consensus on. So I don't think ‑‑ I don't think it's my responsibility as Chair to make a succession plan today. Of course I could give input to this process just as anybody else would give input to the process.
BENNO OVEREINDER: I like the proposal, I think it's a master plan indeed to go forward. Only one question. So of course there are open questions here, four years, yes, two term limits, maybe three? I don't know. What were the considerations here to propose at least on the slide two terms, is eight years enough or ‑‑
ANNA WILSON: I mean, this was sort of a summary and I want credit to go where it's due, it wasn't prepared by me, for the ‑‑ based on the discussion that has been had over the last couple of years. That is really something for the people in the room. I see elsewhere, just talking what I have seen, term limits are generally seen as a good thing and if you have someone who is in the job for a very long time then they can be to go an amazing job but it does ‑‑ it makes accountability a bit harder in some circumstances.
BENNO OVEREINDER: Of course we have good experience with our RIPE Chairs.
ANNA WILSON: It's gone great for us.
BENNO OVEREINDER: I thought maybe also 12 years could be a nice a good period. Again, four year term seems to be a good proposal.
BRIAN NISBET: HEAnet. Sorry, I think to answer your various questions, I think, yes, a nomcom. I do not believe it should be purely the working group chairs, I think that maybe a selection of that, of that nomcom might fall to them but I think it should definitely be a wider and more diverse selection of the community, there is no question there. I would agree with Jim, I think a Vice‑Chair is a good idea, I think succession planning is a good idea, I think if we have a Vice‑Chair than that tends me to think that ‑‑ I don't know, maybe I just don't like even numbers of durations of terms, I tend towards five years there, but whatever, it's not going to make a huge difference, four or five years. If wave Vice‑Chair I think you are probably talking about a two term limit because 12 years or however how long you have a Vice‑Chair for and then that person is Chair for that period of time, you are trending towards 24 years at that point or, you know, or 30 years, which, yes, Rob was chair for 25 years but I don't think we can expect many people to put that kind of commitment into this situation. So, I think you are kind of trending towards ‑‑ tending towards the two term limit at that point in time but I think I would completely agree with Jim, I think having a Vice‑Chair and that resilience and the succession planning in place and that Vice‑Chair should go through the same nomcom set‑up as the Chair, we should be happy that this is someone who we can see is the ‑‑ as the Chair in four or eight years or whatever the period of time is, is very important.
ANNA WILSON: Let me ask you one question then. You mentioned the nomcom shouldn't be just the Working Group chairs and this is very everyone, any idea on who else should be on that or how they should be selected?
BRIAN NISBET: Personally I would be okay with, I mean, again it's who you are choosing to choose these things, you could very leasely say we have two structures in the meeting of the community, of people that the community has said ‑‑ you have working group chairs and the PC there, that group of people could come up with a, I don't know what size nomcoms are supposed to be these days, five‑ish people but they should have the ability to choose from anyone in the community, and I think that the mandate there should be towards geographic and other, you, you know, gender etc. That makes up that nomcom and it wouldn't be a terrible thing if that nomcom was made up of ‑‑ entirely made of of people who were neither working group chairs nor the PC, I am not saying they have to be but it would not be end of the world if they weren't.
ANNA WILSON: Thank you.
DANIEL KARRENBERG: I am the only previous RIPE Vice‑Chair. A couple of things: Thank you for, Anna in the first instance, to actually stand up there and thank you for the people who actually helped making progress here, I think we are making progress and that is good.
Coming back to the nomcom idea, I think that is the thing that I hear most in the community that people are comfortable with. As to it being formed by the working group chairs, I think that is a good idea. I think, further, if it should be more than just a subset the working group chairs, and I hear other people say the same thing, so what I would suggest is something along the lines of the Working Group chairs making a selection of people from the Working Group chairs who make the nomcom and then that group pulls in other people from the community in order to make diversity and all that other good stuff happening. If you talk about diversity, though, you have to think about whether the trade‑off between achieving ultimately diversity and workability. The smaller you make the group, the more difficult it will be to diverse, the bigger you make the group and you get more diversity but the question is whether it's still workable. In the extreme, you know, you would say oh, the nomcom is the whole community, then you have ultimate diversity. So there is some discussion there. But I would be very comfortable with saying okay, Working Group chairs appoint the keys, and it's then keys then go out and compose a nomcom ‑‑ the process should be as informal as possible.
I also agree there should be a long period of, once a slate is there, a long period of community feedback and discussion and I would be very comfortable with the nomcom or the Working Group chairs then making a decision in selecting a candidate.
On the tenure, I think we should be careful. This is not a political office. I can see tenure term restrictions ‑‑
ANNA WILSON: I am so sorry, this is great stuff, I will ask you to speed up a little because we have about 10 minutes left.
DANIEL KARRENBERG: I have another 30 seconds. I am just addressing all the points, excuse me.
On the tenure, I think we have to be careful, this is not a political office. Tenure ‑‑ tenure term limits makes sense for political offices. I think if we over‑formalise this and give tenures and term limits we may very well find ourselves in a situation where our process dictates that we make a change when we really don't want to make a change. There can be situations where you really say I would really love and I have been in situations like this, I really love to keep this guy alone because we are in a crisis and we really need him, oh, yes, ten years we decided on a whim that he now has to go out. Let's be careful that we don't overformalise things. Thank you.
ANNA WILSON: See three people microphones and Rudiger is next. So I am going to do, I won't close the microphones, if you want to come please come and we will close the mics after the next speaker.
RUEDIGER VOLK: Unexpectedly just a suggestion and comment to Daniel's last point. If such a situation happens, I guess in the particular circumstance you can find also ways like, well, okay, keep the ‑‑ keep the chair that has exceeded term limits as a special advisor or something, kind of, kind of addressing all possible surprising emergency situations is something that I think is kind of knot really a perfect thing, when you see a crisis situation you ‑‑ you, anyway, have to figure out how to address that. But, okay, to the ‑‑ to my regular schedule. I feel, I feel somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of essentially the same group of people selecting the candidates that a community should be discussing and then doing the consensus which to choose, because don't go into illusions creating a true consensus of this large and fuzzy community is something that cannot be directed and forced within a community like the Working Group chairs or any other community you can ‑‑ you have much better chances and the structure of this proposal actually uses that idea, I think, between the lines.
ANNA WILSON: That is a really good point. Have you any suggestions about who those two groups should be?
RUEDIGER VOLK: Well, kind of, the thing ‑‑ well, okay, actually, what I perceived about the Working Group chairs group ability for really ‑‑ for really addressing things like this, I am actually not ‑‑ I am not feeling that good but actually kind of the decision group, I do not see an easy way to suggest at the moment, assuming that the Working Group chairs or preferably actually a subset, does the decision, I would ‑‑ I would strongly suggest to have the nomcom potentially nominated and discussed by the Working Groups, but definitely not having any of them in there.
ANNA WILSON: Thank you.
AUDIENCE SPEAKER: Warren Kamari, Google. Copy this process from other similar groups. For example, the IETF has a problem defining community, but there is a view that having people who actually know the potential candidates is useful, so there is eligibility requirements, you have to have attended the last N out of N meetings, I think it's something like two out of four or five or something like that. And then people who are willing to serve on a nomcom when they register for meetings that mark that off and if a nomcom needs to be formed there is a random selection of those people drawn and that way you can potentially avoid stacking the deck, etc..
ANNA WILSON: Cool. Thank you very much I am eager to make sure everyone is heard. Is there anyone else who didn't get a chance to speak who would like to? One person at the back. No. Okay. So last call, is there anybody else who would like to speak? Just looking at the notes I have here, the next steps we need to get from here to a formal proposal, and so the question is, I am going to go back to these mics, sorry, the question is what is that formal proposal going to be? Hearing what I have heard over the past 20 minutes, it seems to look like this: There seems to be ‑‑ may I have a show of hands? I have the idea there is broad support for a nomcom, is there agreement with that? And is there disagreement with that. There is a little, there is a little disagreement there but it seems there is broad support in favour. This isn't a decision, by the way, it's just so we can get the temperature of the room so a proposal can be made. For vice‑chair, is there support for a vice‑chair? Any not support for a vice‑chair? That is a very similar ‑‑ there is broad support and there is a little not support there. There has been some discussion of term limits. I think what I am going to do, I didn't ask anyone for less than three or more than five. I heard four and five. Who would like less than three? Sorry, excuse me, sorry, who would like a term of less than three years? That is basically no one that I can immediately see. Who would like a term of three years? A couple. Who would like a term of four years? That is pretty decent number. Who would like a term of five years? So we are about split between four and five. And who would ‑‑ Rudiger, very quickly.
RUEDIGER VOLK: I think it was valid that I raised my hand for both.
ANNA WILSON: I agree.
SHANE KERR: A quick comment. I think it's difficult to disagree or agree with a specific number of terms or term‑length without talking about the other variables.
ANNA WILSON: That is fair. Okay. Then let's put those aside for a moment and that is a a really good point. Let me put it like this: We seem to be going from a fairly conservative, let's say, four years two term limit up to five years with no term limit, so I am going to go three ways on this. Four years, two‑term limit, five years two‑term and five years no term limit, in that order. These are not formal proposals it's just to get a picture for a proposal. So who would be in favour of a four year term with a two‑term limit? There is some support for that, a little. Who is in favour of a five‑year term with a two‑term limit? There is more support for that. And who would be in favour of a five‑year term with no term limit? There is similar, perhaps a little more support for that again. Thank you very much. That is really help.ful.
There is a couple more items here. One suggestion was that there should be nomcom made up of Working Group chairs making a selection of people and null other people to help them so the Working Group chairs cede the phenomenon com but they weren't the nomcom. Support for this? Not support for this? There is a a little support for that but people don't seem to feel very strongly about it.
We had a idea of long feedback period and the committee makes a decision. I didn't hear any objection to that. And we had a note about term limits and not overformalising it, so we have discussed that.
SPEAKER: We haven't. Because started to term limits without discussing that.
ANNA WILSON: Thank you. For the idea that the nomcom and the electorate, so the nomination committee and those who make the selection should be separate groups. Can I ask for a rough idea of support? And a rough idea of not supporting that. There is a little more support but no one seems to feel very strongly about that.
And the last suggestion there was to have eligibility requirements, specific eligibility requirements and then a random selection for the nomination committee. Can I get a feel for support on that? A few. And for non‑support? That is very similar to the last, there is a little support but doesn't seem to be a strong feeling about it. It's 10:31. I would like to give one more chance for anyone if to say if there is anything they feel hasn't been covered properly. And I am not seeing any responses there. I think we have some information there we can work with. Thank you very much for taking the time on this Friday morning and I will leave to you your coffee break, thank you all.
MIRJAM KUEHNE: Thank you, Anna, for the wonderful moderation for this tricky discussion for all of us. The announcement of the GM election results were supposed to happen in the side room but that has been changed, they will be announced here in the coffee break here. I think now. Right. The side room has been dismantled so there is nothing there so that is why the announcement was mentioned whenever that was. 10:45, so you have some time to get out and get a coffee and then the next section will start with Hans Petter's closing after that.
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