FW: IETF newbies/turnover

Jim Whitehead (ejw@ICS.uci.edu)
Sun, 5 Jul 1998 13:39:42 -0700

As a onetime IETF newbie, I found this analysis of IETF attendance to be
interesting. It raises the issue of how best to manage the growth of the

- Jim

-----Original Message-----
From: Donald E. Eastlake 3rd [mailto:dee3@torque.pothole.com]
Sent: Saturday, July 04, 1998 7:31 PM
To: ietf@ietf.org
Subject: IETF newbies/turnover

Hi Rahmat,

From: "Rahmat M. Samik-Ibrahim" <rms46@geocities.com>
To: ietf@ietf.org
References: <199807021059.TAA00238@necom830.hpcl.titech.ac.jp>

} ...
} I am more concern on the future of "voluntarily" RFC writing,
} and the regenerating process of IETF's Senior Citizens
} (a.k.a. the old boys).

I don't really see any relationship between these. RFCs have always
been open to publication of non-IETF material...

} How many IETF's newbies addition has occurred recently, anyway?

Since the IETF does not have a defined membership, a precise answer to
this is not possible. But if you look at
<http://www.ietf.org/meetings/past.meetings.html>, you will see that
IETF meeting attendance is growing quite rapidly despite occasional
peaks and dips. It's a bit hard to do that without adding newbies...

Here is a chart of year, number of IETF meetings, and average meeting
attendance during that year (physical attenadance only, does not
include those participating over the MBONE):

Year # mtgs avg attendance

1986 4 23.8
1987 4 70.0
1988 3 102.7
1989 4 147.3
1990 4 256.3
1991 3 369.0
1992 3 613.3
1993 3 589.0
1994 3 858.0
1995 3 869.0
1996 3 1,438.0
1997 3 1,508.7

Somehow I think it would be a bit hard to do that without the
inclusion of many newbies. And in fact, as I recall the last time the
Secretariate did a study, in recent years only about 30 to 40% of the
attendees at any particular meeting attend the next one. That coupled
with the growth means that the percentage of new attendees is quite

Although the parameters would be a bit different, I suspect similar
growth in such things as number of authors represented in the RFCs
issued during a year, number of working group participants, etc.

However, you should remember that the primary goal of the IETF is to
engineer the best communications protocols for the Internet. While I,
and I think most IETF members, believe a substantial influx of new
participants is helpful in achieving this goal, attracting and/or
absorbing "newbies" is not the primary goal of the IETF.

Although there is no guarantee that the trend in IETF meeting size
will continue or just what the trend is, the closest fits for various
curves seem to be:

Power Attendance = 19.227 * ( (year - 1985)**1.6976 )
Exponential Attendance = 33.763 * e**( (year - 1985) * 0.3484 )
Quadratic Attendance = (11.731 * year**2) - (46588.887 * year)
+ 46256206

These equations predict the following IETF attendance in future years:

Year Power Quadratic Exponential
R**2= 0.9808 0.9734 0.94

1998 1,496 1,809 3,129
1999 1,697 2,109 4,433
2000 1,907 2,432 6,281
2001 2,128 2,779 8,899
2002 2,359 3,149 12,609

Notwithstanding the slightly closer fit of the power curve, I would
guess growth will be closer to the quadratic approximation.

}Rahmat M.Samik-Ibrahim VLSM-TJT http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/6825
}--- World Class dream, Kampong Class reality ... (m/tic) ----------

Donald E. Eastlake 3rd +1 978-287-4877 dee3@torque.pothole.com
318 Acton Street +1 978-371-7148 (fax)
Carlisle, MA 01741 USA