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RIPE Working Groups Explained

The work of RIPE is fundamentally structured around a series of working groups. WGs are a subset of the wider community that is interested in a particular topic. Each WG has a defined charter and goals. Just like the RIPE community at large, working groups are open to participation by all. There are no requirements or barriers to stop you from getting involved.

Each working group selects its own chairs, whose primary responsibilities are  1) to moderate the discussions in the WG, and 2) to determine when consensus has been reached (whether on a policy proposal, a document produced by members of the WG, or a particular course of action). Chairs serve a defined term and others in the WG are regularly encouraged to step forward if they would like to give it a go and serve as chair.

So, what exactly does a working group do? This depends on the working group. Some develop policies via the RIPE Policy Development Process (PDP) to solve a problem or affect some change. Others might produce Best Current Practice documents (BCOPs), while some are more about creating a space for coordination, discussion and sharing knowledge.  More often, they’re a mix of all three. The working group itself decides what it wants to do, and none of this is set in stone – there is nothing to stop a WG that usually focuses on discussion from developing a policy to address an issue that falls within its scope.

All of this activity is coordinated via the mailing list for each working group. WGs also hold in-person sessions at RIPE Meetings, which are held twice each year (in Spring and Autumn). Working groups may also hold interim meetings outside of this regular structure.

Despite the differences, there are a few things that all WGs have in common:

  • They each have an open and publicly-archived mailing list for discussions
  • They hold in-person sessions at RIPE Meetings
  • They have co-chairs who are selected from the WG
  • All policy development follows to the same RIPE PDP

Getting started: The first step is to find WGs that match your interests and subscribe to their mailing lists. You can then join in any ongoing discussions or start a new one thread yourself. If you plan to attend a RIPE Meeting, you can look at the meeting plan and the agendas for each WG to see if there is anything that interests you (remote participation options are available if you can’t be at the meeting in person). 

If you have specific questions, you can also mail the chairs of a WG directly. For example, you might want to check if a particular topic is appropriate before starting a thread on that WG’s mailing list, or perhaps you would like to present on a specific topic in the WG’s session at the next RIPE Meeting. You can find relevant email addresses on the page for that WG on ripe.net.  

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