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RIPE 85 RIPE Community Plenary Minutes

Thursday, 27 October 2022, 16:00 (UTC+2)
Chairs: Mirjam Kühne, Niall O’Reilly
Scribe: Suzanne Taylor
Status: Final

RIPE Chair Mirjam Kühne opened the session by thanking the chat monitor and scribe and reviewing the agenda.

1. RIPE Chair Team Update and Ongoing RIPE Activities

Mirjam Kühne, RIPE Chair

This presentation is available at: Chair Mirjam Kühne gave an overview of the RIPE Community’s achievements during its last two years, including an updated Policy Development Process, an updated Code of Conduct, a list of recommendations by the RIPE Database Requirements Task Force, a RIPE document describing RIPE Task Forces definitions and guidelines, online RIPE Meetings during the pandemic, promoting the RIPE community in various fora and increased outreach to new RIPE community members. She also presented the current status of the RIPE Chair nominating process and committee and the current status of the RIPE Code of Conduct reporting process and Code of Conduct Team selection.

Niall O’Reilly added that anyone interested in being part of the Code of Conduct team would receive training and does not need to have the full skill set already.

Shane Kerr, NS1, asked about the timeframe for this, and Mirjam said she expected the Code of Conduct Task Force to publish an updated version of the two draft documents soon after the meeting, so that a call for consensus could be issued. She said she was hoping to see some volunteers step forward so the team could be in place by the next RIPE Meeting. Niall said that if anyone had the courage to volunteer already, they didn’t need to wait for the documentation to come through and were welcome to step forward now.

Niall said he’d just received a private question for an attendee asking how people were meant to step forward, and he answered that people could contact the RIPE Chair Team or the Code of Conduct Task Force.

Daniel Karrenberg, who was the previous RIPE NomCom Chair, said he wanted to stress that the whole NomCom developed and supported the recommendations.

Farzaneh Badii, Digital Medusa, suggested that RIPE learn from the mistakes that other Internet organisations’ nominating committees had made. Niall asked Farzaneh to help make a list of those organisations and the mistakes she believed would be useful to look at. Mirjam added that they had looked at other organisations in the past but it would be good to do so again at this stage.

A comment from an online participant was read out that said there was a lot to follow online now that RIPE Meetings were taking place in person again (meeting website, Meetecho, Spatial Chat, RIPE NCC Forum, Kahoot). Mirjam said she also hears input asking for more ways to participate online, but that it would be useful to clarify the purpose of each channel, as not everyone needs to use all of them.

Mirjam also spoke about efforts to get more students and academics from many different countries attending RIPE Meetings and participating in the RIPE community.

Mirjam continued with the presentation and put forward a proposal to increase the cost of RIPE Meeting tickets.

Rick Nelson suggested that some other meetings give participants an option to pay more in order to subsidise the cost for attendees who can’t afford to pay as much to attend the meeting. Mirjam said that was an interesting idea and that she would discuss it with the meeting team.

There were no further questions or comments.

2. Moderating RIPE Mailing Lists

Mirjam Kühne, RIPE Chair

This presentation is available at:   

Mirjam explained the current policy over moderating RIPE mailing lists, which involves reviewing posts at least once a day and is documented in a weekly transparency report on Most emails are allowed through and until now mails aren’t rejected without prior engagement with the sender.

Brian Nisbet, HEAnet, said he appreciated the moderation and asked whether perhaps the RIPE NCC could help the RIPE Chairs with the work. He said the transparency reports are good but maybe aren’t required on a weekly basis. He added that there’s no need in his opinion to keep an archive of the unmoderated lists.

Sander Steffan, 6connect, said he appreciated the great job being done by the RIPE Chair team in moderating the mailing lists and that the RIPE Chair Team had the mandate and the trust of the community.

Lu Heng, Larus Limited, asked whether there had been a change in filtering on the members-discuss mailing list, as he said he didn’t remember so much spam in the past. He added that he thinks the mailing lists should be left unmoderated because moderation causes issues with messages being received at different times by different people, and because he believes that the RIPE community should be as open and inclusive as possible. He said that entire mailing lists don’t need to be moderated because of just one example of an extremely problematic email.

Marita Phelan, RIPE NCC, explained that the RIPE list is open to anyone to post, which results in more spam, but that the members-discuss list requires subscription, which naturally cuts down on the amount of spam.

Lu Heng asked for clarification on whether the unmoderated archive now includes all the spam emails sent to the members-discuss list, whereas in the past, those emails simply wouldn’t have been seen by anyone, as they would have been automatically rejected. Mirjam said that was correct.

Oliver Payne, RIPE NCC, further clarified the details of how the moderated and unmoderated lists are filtered (or not) for spam, depending on whether a message was sent to the list by a non-subscriber.

An online participant, Leo Vegoda, said that it would be helpful to present the transparency reports as data rather than in a narrative form. 

Peter Koch, DENIC, said he believes the RIPE mailing list no longer serves its purpose and that we’re currently supporting a DoS attack on ourselves, which makes him worry about the community’s resilience. Mirjam asked for clarification and Peter responded that the mailing list no longer fosters a multiway mode of communication, given the volume and nature of the types of messages received recently.

Farzaneh Badii, Digital Medusa, asked whether the criteria for moderation are transparent. Mirjam said that an explanation is given in each case. Farzaneh said there should be clear guidelines about when content will be moderated to ensure there is no abuse of power on the part of the RIPE Chair Team at any point in the future. She also said that social media platforms have been dealing with such issues for years and that the RIPE community should learn from that. She added that if people are not being held accountable for sending offensive messages, then the list shouldn’t be moderated. Mirjam responded that emergency intervention was required in the summer but this is why she is asking for feedback now.

Niall O’Reilly said that the RIPE Chairs can be held accountable via the recall procedure.

Benedikt Stockebrand, Stepladder IT Training+Consulting, said we might consider doing less (or no) moderation if offensive mails become less prevalent, as moderation takes a lot of time.

Daniel Karrenberg, one of the founders of RIPE, said the RIPE list should be moderated and that some others lists are used for high-frequency, controversial issues. He also said he thinks it’s important to make the unmoderated archived lists available in the name of transparency, so anyone can check what has been moderated. He said the transparency reports are good but that they could be given at each RIPE Meeting or even less frequently. Regarding Farzaneh’s comment, Daniel said there are already rules in place, as documented in the Code of Conduct.

Jim Reid, speaking as a frequent RIPE Meeting attendee, said, in reaction to Farzaneh’s comment, that we’re not the ITU and don’t need so many processes and procedures in place, which take too much time when we could simply use common sense and rely on the RIPE Chair Team who has the mandate from the RIPE community to make decisions.

Lu Heng said that the RIPE community covers a region of nearly a billion people, yet most people still don’t know about it. He said that we should not sacrifice the future growth of the community for the sake of a single stupid email, and that an open space is needed in order to be inclusive. Mirjam responded that the mission of the RIPE community is not to include a billion people, as it has a certain scope.

Sander Steffan, 6connect, said that the issue has nothing to do with inclusiveness but is about keeping the community functional, and disagreed with Lu’s comments.

A comment from an online participant pointed out that the Code of Conduct applies to mailing lists.

Benedikt Stockebrand, Stepladder IT Training+Consulting, said that what’s needed is not a process but a mandate, and that the RIPE Chair Team is empowered to make its own decisions and use common sense.

A question from an online participant asked whether it would be possible to disable moderation on the mailing lists in general, but be able to enable emergency moderation if another incident arises. Mirjam responded that the drawback would be having to wait for another potentially offensive incident to occur without catching it before it hits the list.

There were no further questions or comments.

3. Secret WG - What? Why? Who?

Mirjam Kühne, RIPE Chair

This presentation is available at: said she’d been asked questions about what the Secret Working Group is all about and wanted to shed light on the topic to bring newcomers into the fold. She gave an overview of how the Secret Working Group began and shared some of the examples of the poems, limericks and prose that exist in the RIPE Database. She also expressed her personal views on the importance of not taking things too seriously and creating community through shared experiences and laughter.

Daniel Karrenberg, a founder of RIPE, filled in some history about the starting of the Working Group, which involved a suggestion to include a “poem” object in the RIPE Database.

Sander Steffan, 6connect, said that we all take ourselves too seriously sometimes and that the Secret Working Group is about making fun of ourselves, and is something that is a highlight of the closing plenary and a very valuable contribution to the RIPE community. Mirjam said she agreed but that it’s important not to estrange anyone at the same time.

Brian Nisbet, HEAnet, said that the Code of Conduct is not meant to be a killjoy document, to the applause of many in the room. The said the Code of Conduct should be able to accommodate the Secret Working Group, and that he really wants to see all these facets work together to strengthen and build the RIPE community.

Lars-Johan Liman, Netnod, said that humour is important and helps us get along with one another.

Franziska Lichtblau, speaking for herself, agreed that the Code of Conduct is not meant to be a killjoy and that she’s seen some other communities become less enjoyable because people became too careful about what they say. She said the RIPE community has been successful in its self-regulation and that anyone who has questions about the Secret Working Group should feel free to ask questions.

Vesna Manojlovic, speaking for herself “as a killjoy”, challenged those participating in the Secret Working Group to make jokes that “punch up” rather than “punch down”, to the applause of many in the room.

Maarten Aertsen, NLnet Labs, thanked Mirjam for her presentation and said he would research some of the RIPE Database objects mentioned.

Doris Hauser,, thanked Mirjam for explaining the Secret Working Group and asked whether anyone can create a poem in the RIPE Database.

Shane Kerr, NS1, said anyone can do it but that it’s especially easy if you’re already an LIR.

Rick Nelson added his own impromptu limerick, to much applause: “On Thursday’s plenary community, much was discussed on unity, the Secret Group was outed, but no one screamed or shouted, we need new folks for continuity”.

A participant said it was useful to have a video of this presentation for newcomers.

There were no further questions or comments.

4. Open Discussion

Mirjam said that traditionally, the Closing Plenary was the place to bring up proposals for new working groups or task forces, but now that the Community Plenary existed, this was the appropriate place, and she had received one request.

Shane Kerr, NS1, discussed the idea of a task force that was mostly the brainchild of João Damas, APNIC and DNS Working Group Co-Chair, who couldn’t be at this plenary session and so Shane had agreed to bring the idea forward on his behalf. He said the idea was to document best practices about how to run a public DNS resolver, mainly in light of an EU proposal to create a public “European” DNS resolver (referred to as DNS4EU). He said that several people had discussed the idea and didn’t think it was terrible, but that they had no interest in running such a service themselves. However, they thought that a RIPE Document that explained some best practices and what the RIPE community would want it to look like would be helpful. He said they had talked to the Cooperation Working Group and that this would be done collaboratively.

Jan Žorž, speaking as part of the Best Current Operational Practices (BCOP) Task Force, said that Shane and others would be welcome to talk to the BCOP Task Force. Shane replied that if the work was completed by the next RIPE Meeting, they would present it, but that they would send a mail to the list about it. Jan said he could also provide feedback throughout the process.

Suzanne Taylor, RIPE NCC, said that this is a fantastic idea because regulation is coming one way or another, and there is a definite place and need for the technical community’s voice to help shape these kinds of proposals. Shane said that was good to hear and that he hadn’t thought about the RIPE NCC’s potential role in this. Suzanne responded that the RIPE NCC would be happy to help formulate a response or provide whatever other support would be needed.

Tobias Knecht, speaking as himself, said he was thinking about what the RIPE NCC could be doing in such a project and recently found that the prefix 2a1b and the whole /16 thereof is part of the RIPE NCC service region and at least a /32 is currently unallocated. He said he thought it might be interesting to think about how to build an anycast, audited, ensured public DNS resolver where people can participate using that prefix.

Maarten Aertsen, NLnet Labs, expressed his interest in participating in the proposed task force.

Lars-Johan Liman, Netnod, thanked the RIPE NCC for the work it does on behalf of the community in the public policy space, which he said is not always so obvious but is what allows the technical community to continuing operating the way it does. He said that giving the RIPE NCC the tools to continue to engage is important work. The comment received applause from several in the room.

Shane invited others to get in touch with him if they were interested in the project.

There were no further questions or comments.

Mirjam said it sounded like there was support in the community for the task force and that the RIPE Chair Team was there to support it.

Mirjam announced the upcoming session on diversity and inclusion before closing the session.