RFC8718: IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process

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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                      E. Lear, Ed.
Request for Comments: 8718                                 Cisco Systems
BCP: 226                                                   February 2020
Category: Best Current Practice                                         
ISSN: 2070-1721

              IETF Plenary Meeting Venue Selection Process


   The IETF Administration Support Activity (IASA) is responsible for
   arranging the selection and operation of the IETF plenary meeting
   venue.  This memo specifies IETF community requirements for meeting
   venues, including hotels and meeting space.  It also directs the IASA
   to make available additional process documents that describe the
   current meeting selection process.

Status of This Memo

   This memo documents an Internet Best Current Practice.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   BCPs is available in Section 2 of RFC 7841.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2020 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction
   2.  Venue Selection Objectives
     2.1.  Core Values
     2.2.  Venue Selection Non-objectives
   3.  Meeting Criteria
     3.1.  Mandatory Criteria
     3.2.  Important Criteria
     3.3.  Other Considerations
   4.  Documentation Requirements
   5.  IANA Considerations
   6.  Security Considerations
   7.  Privacy Considerations
   8.  Normative References
   9.  Informative References
   Author's Address

1.  Introduction

   The IETF Administrative Support Activity (IASA) [RFC8711] is
   responsible for arranging the selection and operation of the IETF
   plenary meeting venue.  The purpose of this document is to guide the
   IASA in their selection of regions, cities, facilities, and hotels.
   The IASA should apply this guidance at different points in the
   process in an attempt to faithfully meet the requirements of the IETF
   community.  We specify a set of general criteria for venue selection
   and several requirements for transparency and community consultation.

   It remains the responsibility of the IASA to apply their best
   judgment.  The IASA accepts input and feedback during the
   consultation process and later (for instance, when there are changes
   in the situation at a chosen location).  The community is encouraged
   to provide direct feedback about the IASA's performance to the IETF
   Administration LLC, the Nominations Committee (NOMCOM), or the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Any reviews of IASA
   decisions remain subject to the provisions of Section 4.7 of
   [RFC8711] (BCP 101).

   The following four terms describe the places for which the IETF
   contracts services:

      An umbrella term for the city, meeting resources, and guest room

      The building that houses meeting rooms and associated resources.
      It may also house an IETF Hotel.

   IETF Hotels:
      One or more hotels, in close proximity to the Facility, where the
      IETF guest room block allocations are negotiated and where network
      services managed by the IASA (e.g., the "IETF" SSID) are in use.

   Overflow Hotels:
      One or more hotels, usually in close proximity to the Facility,
      where the IETF has negotiated a group room rate for the purposes
      of the meeting.  Of particular note is that Overflow Hotels are
      not usually connected to the IETF network and do not use network
      services managed by the IASA.

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in
   BCP 14 [RFC2119] [RFC8174] when, and only when, they appear in all
   capitals, as shown here.

2.  Venue Selection Objectives

2.1.  Core Values

   Some IETF values pervade the selection process.  These are often
   applicable to multiple requirements listed in this document.  At a
   minimum, they include the following:

   Why we meet:
      We meet to pursue the IETF's mission [RFC3935].  This is partly
      done by advancing the development of Internet-Drafts and RFCs.  We
      also seek to facilitate attendee participation in multiple topics
      and to enable cross-pollination of ideas and technologies.

      We would like to facilitate the on-site or remote participation of
      anyone who wants to be involved.  Widespread participation
      contributes to the diversity of perspectives represented in the
      working sessions.

      Every country has limits on who it will permit within its borders.
      However, the IETF seeks to:

      1.  Minimize situations in which onerous entry regulations
          inhibit, discourage, or prevent participants from attending
          meetings; failing that, meeting locations are to be
          distributed such that onerous entry regulations are not always
          experienced by the same attendees; and

      2.  Avoid meeting in countries with laws that effectively exclude
          people on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, gender,
          sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship, or gender

   Where we meet:
      We meet in different global locations, in order to spread the
      difficulty and cost of travel among active participants, balancing
      travel time and expense across participants based in various
      regions.  Our regional location policy is articulated in

   Internet Access:
      As an organization, we write specifications for the Internet, and
      we use it heavily.  Meeting attendees need unfiltered access to
      the general Internet and their corporate networks.  "Unfiltered
      access", in this case, means that all forms of communication are
      allowed.  This includes, but is not limited to, access to
      corporate networks via encrypted VPNs from the meeting Facility
      and Hotels, including Overflow Hotels.  We also need open network
      access available at high enough data rates, at the meeting
      Facility, to support our work, which includes support of remote
      participation.  Beyond this, we are the first users of our own
      technology.  Any filtering may cause a problem with that
      technology development.  In some cases, local laws may require
      some filtering.  We seek to avoid such locales without reducing
      the pool of cities to an unacceptable level by stating a number of
      criteria below, one mandatory and others important, to allow for
      the case where local laws may require filtering in some

      We meet to have focused technical discussions.  These are not
      limited to scheduled breakout sessions, although of course those
      are important.  They also happen over meals or drinks, through a
      specific type of non-session that we call a "Bar BOF", or in side
      meetings.  Environments that are noisy or distracting prevent or
      reduce the effectiveness of these sessions and are therefore less
      desirable as a meeting Facility [RFC6771].

      Meeting attendees participate as individuals.  While many are
      underwritten by employers or sponsors, many are self-funded.  In
      order to reduce participation costs and travel effort, we
      therefore seek locations that provide convenient budget
      alternatives for food and lodging, and that minimize travel
      segments from major airports to the Venue.  Within reason, one's
      budget should not be a barrier to accommodation.

   Least Astonishment and Openness:
      Regular participants should not be surprised by meeting Venue
      selections, particularly when it comes to locales.  To avoid
      surprise, the venue selection process, as with all other IETF
      processes, should be as open as practicable.  It should be
      possible for the community to engage in discussion early to
      express its views on prospective selections, so that the community
      and the IASA can exchange views as to appropriateness long before
      a venue contract is considered.

2.2.  Venue Selection Non-objectives

   IETF meeting Venues are not selected or declined with the explicit
   purposes of:

      Endorsing or condemning particular countries, political paradigms,
      laws, regulations, or policies.

   Maximal attendance:
      While the IETF strives to be as inclusive as possible, both online
      and in person, maximal meeting attendance in and of itself is not
      a goal.  It would defeat a key goal of meeting if active
      contributors with differing points of view did not have the
      opportunity to resolve their disagreements, no matter how full the

      Variety in site-seeing experiences.

3.  Meeting Criteria

   This section contains the criteria for IETF meetings.  It is broken
   down into three subsections: mandatory criteria (Section 3.1),
   important criteria (Section 3.2), and other considerations
   (Section 3.3), each as explained below.

3.1.  Mandatory Criteria

   If criteria in this subsection cannot be met, a particular location
   is unacceptable for selection, and the IASA MUST NOT enter into a
   contract.  Should the IASA learn that a location can no longer meet a
   mandatory requirement after having entered into a contract, it will
   inform the community and address the matter on a case-by-case basis.

   *  The Facility MUST provide sufficient space in an appropriate
      layout to accommodate the number of participants, leadership, and
      support staff expected to attend that meeting.

   *  The Facility and IETF Hotels MUST provide wheelchair access to
      accommodate the number of people who are anticipated to require

   *  It MUST be possible to provision Internet Access to the Facility
      and IETF Hotels that allows those attending in person to utilize
      the Internet for all their IETF, business, and day-to-day needs;
      in addition, there must be sufficient bandwidth and access for
      remote attendees.  Provisions include, but are not limited to,
      native and unmodified IPv4 and IPv6 connectivity, and global
      reachability; there may be no additional limitation that would
      materially impact their Internet use.  To ensure availability, it
      MUST be possible to provision redundant paths to the Internet.

3.2.  Important Criteria

   The criteria in this subsection are not mandatory, but they are still
   highly significant.  It may be necessary to trade-off one or more of
   these criteria against others.  A Venue that meets more of these
   criteria is, on the whole, preferable to another that meets fewer of
   these criteria.  Requirements classed as Important can also be
   balanced across Venue selections for multiple meetings.  When a
   particular requirement in this section cannot be met but the Venue is
   selected anyway, the IASA MUST notify the community at the time of
   the venue announcement.  Furthermore, it may be appropriate for the
   IASA to assist those who, as a result, have been inconvenienced in
   some way.

3.2.1.  Venue City Criteria

   The following requirements relate to the Venue city.

   *  Travel to the Venue is acceptable based on cost, time, and burden
      for participants traveling from multiple regions.  It is
      anticipated that the burden borne will generally be shared over
      the course of multiple years.

   *  The Venue is assessed as favorable for obtaining a host and
      sponsors.  That is, the Meeting is in a location in which it is
      possible and probable to find a host and sponsors.

   *  Travel barriers to entry, including visa requirements, are likely
      to be such that an overwhelming majority of participants who wish
      to do so can attend.  The term "travel barriers" is to be read
      broadly by the IASA in the context of whether a successful meeting
      can be had.

   *  Economic, safety, and health risks associated with this Venue are

   *  The selection of the venue comports with the practices described
      in [RFC8719].

3.2.2.  Basic Venue Criteria

   The following requirements relate to the Venue and Facilities.

   The IETF operates internationally and adjusts to local requirements.
   Facilities selected for IETF meetings SHALL have provided written
   assurance that they are in compliance with local health, safety, and
   accessibility laws and regulations, and that they will remain in
   compliance throughout our stay.

   In addition:

   *  There are sufficient places (e.g., a mix of hallways, bars,
      meeting rooms, and restaurants) for people to hold ad hoc
      conversations and group discussions in the combination of spaces
      offered by the facilities, hotels, and bars/restaurants in the
      surrounding area, within walking distance (5-10 minutes).

   *  The cost of guest rooms, meeting space, meeting food and beverage
      is affordable, within the norms of business travel.

   *  The Facility is accessible, or reasonable accommodations can be
      made to allow access, by people with disabilities.

3.2.3.  Technical Meeting Needs

   The following criteria relate to technical meeting needs.

   *  The Facility's support technologies and services -- network,
      audio-video, etc. -- are sufficient for the anticipated activities
      at the meeting, or the Facility is willing to add such
      infrastructure, or these support technologies and services might
      be provided by a third party, all at no -- or at an acceptable --
      cost to the IETF.

   *  The IETF Hotels directly provide, or else permit and facilitate,
      the delivery of a high performance, robust, unfiltered, and
      unmodified Internet service for the public areas and guest rooms;
      this service is to be included in the cost of the room.

3.2.4.  Hotel Needs

   The following criteria relate to IETF Hotels.

   *  The IETF Hotels are within close proximity to each other and the

   *  The guest rooms at the IETF Hotels are sufficient in number to
      house one-third or more of projected meeting attendees.

   *  Overflow Hotels can be placed under contract, within convenient
      travel time to and from the Facility and at a variety of guest
      room rates.

   *  The Facility environs include budget hotels within convenient
      travel time, cost, and effort.

   *  The IETF Hotels are accessible by people with disabilities.  While
      we mandate wheelchair accessibility, other forms are important and
      should be provided for to the extent possible based on anticipated
      needs of the community.

   *  At least one IETF Hotel or the Facility has a space for use as a
      lounge, conducive to planned and ad hoc meetings and chatting, as
      well as a space for working online.  There are tables with
      seating, convenient for small meetings with laptops.  These can be
      at an open bar or casual restaurant.  Preferably the lounge area
      is centrally located, permitting easy access to participants.

3.2.5.  Food and Beverage

   The following criteria relate to food and beverage.

   *  The Facility environs, which include both on-site as well as areas
      within a reasonable walking distance or conveniently accessible by
      a short taxi ride or by local public transportation, have
      convenient and inexpensive choices for meals that can accommodate
      a wide range of dietary requirements.

   *  A range of attendees' health-related and religion-related dietary
      requirements can be satisfied with robust and flexible on-site
      service or through access to an adequate grocery store.

   *  The Facility environs include grocery shopping that will
      accommodate a wide range of dietary requirements, within a
      reasonable walking distance or conveniently accessible by a short
      taxi, bus, or subway ride from the Facility and IETF Hotels.

3.3.  Other Considerations

   The following considerations are desirable, but they are not as
   important as the preceding requirements and thus should not be
   traded-off for them.

   *  We have something of a preference for an IETF meeting to be under
      "One Roof"; that is, qualified meeting space and guest rooms are
      available in the same facility.

   *  It is desirable for Overflow Hotels to provide reasonable,
      reliable, unfiltered Internet service for the public areas and
      guest rooms, and for this service be included in the cost of the

   *  It is desirable to enter into a multi-event contract with the
      Facility and IETF Hotels or associated hotel chains in case such a
      contract will reduce administrative costs, reduce direct attendee
      costs, or both.

   *  When we are considering a city for the first time, it is
      particularly desirable to have someone familiar with both the
      locale and the IETF participate in the site visit.  Such a person
      can provide guidance regarding safety, location of local services,
      the best ways to get to and from the Venue, and local customs, as
      well as how our requirements are met.

4.  Documentation Requirements

   The IETF Community works best when it is well informed.  This memo
   does not specify processes nor who has responsibility for fulfilling
   our requirements for meetings.  Nevertheless, both of these aspects
   are important.  Therefore, the IASA SHALL publicly document and keep
   current both a list of roles and responsibilities relating to IETF
   meetings, as well as the selection processes they use in order to
   fulfill the requirements of the community.

5.  IANA Considerations

   This document has no IANA actions.

6.  Security Considerations

   This note proposes no protocols and therefore introduces no new
   protocol insecurities.

7.  Privacy Considerations

   Different places have different constraints on individual privacy.
   The requirements in this memo are intended to provide for some
   limited protections.  As meetings are announced, the IASA SHALL
   inform the IETF of any limitations to privacy they have become aware
   of in their investigations.  For example, participants would be
   informed of any regulatory authentication or logging requirements.

8.  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,

   [RFC8174]  Leiba, B., "Ambiguity of Uppercase vs Lowercase in RFC
              2119 Key Words", BCP 14, RFC 8174, DOI 10.17487/RFC8174,
              May 2017, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8174>.

   [RFC8719]  Krishnan, S., "High-Level Guidance for the Meeting Policy
              of the IETF", BCP 226, RFC 8719, DOI 10.17487/RFC8719,
              February 2020, <https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8719>.

9.  Informative References

   [RFC3935]  Alvestrand, H., "A Mission Statement for the IETF",
              BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004,

   [RFC6771]  Eggert, L. and G. Camarillo, "Considerations for Having a
              Successful "Bar BOF" Side Meeting", RFC 6771,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC6771, October 2012,

   [RFC8711]  Haberman, B., Hall, J., and J. Livingood, "Structure of
              the IETF Administrative Support Activity, Version 2.0",
              BCP 101, RFC 8711, DOI 10.17487/RFC8711, February 2020,


   Contributions came from Jari Arkko, Scott Bradner, Alissa Cooper,
   Dave Crocker, Jordi Palet Martinez, Andrew Sullivan, and other
   participants in the MTGVENUE Working Group.  Those listed in this
   section or as contributors may or may not agree with the content of
   this memo.


   The following people provided substantial text contributions to this
   memo.  Specifically, Fred Baker originated this work.

   Fred Baker

   Email: fred.ietf@gmail.com

   Ray Pelletier

   Email: Rpelletier13@gmail.com

   Laura Nugent
   Association Management Solutions

   Email: lnugent@amsl.com

   Lou Berger
   LabN Consulting, L.L.C.

   Email: lberger@labn.net

   Ole Jacobsen
   The Internet Protocol Journal

   Email: olejacobsen@me.com

   Jim Martin

   Email: jim@inoc.com

Author's Address

   Eliot Lear (editor)
   Cisco Systems
   Richtistrasse 7
   CH-CH-8304 Wallisellen

   Phone: +41 44 878 9200
   Email: lear@cisco.com