[CESG] Update Org&Procs/ICS books per CESG discussion

Shames, Peter M (312G) peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov
Wed Nov 13 15:57:23 EST 2013

Chris, et al,

In point of fact the present CCSDS YB guidelines have served us well
enough only in cases where we have people, both participants and leaders,
who are aware of them, understand them, and utilize them.  At the same
time I can recall many discussions going back several years, in the CESG
and WGs, where the questions of "Was consensus achieved?" and "Just what
is concensus and what does it mean to say you have achieved it?" has come

The word "consensus" appears 45 times in the current YB document, or
roughly once every other page, including all the boilerplate.  The
document says that we operate according to "concensus processes" and that
we have "consensus bulding machinery", but there is absoltely no
definition of what these might be.  The clearest definition of consensus
in the YB is:

	Sec CESG Operating Principles:
	Consensus does not necessarily mean that unanimous agreement has been
	but that the result incorporates the best set of compromises that all
parties can agree to.

Believe it or not, I am not trying to add more bureaucracy.  I am trying
to make a modest step toward greater clarity about a key aspect that we
say is a core principle of how we do business.  I agree that over time we
have, in fact, added more guidelines and constraints, and also more work
for ourselves.  I would put Boot Camp, and security considerations, and
Code of Conduct, and PICS/ICS, and SANA into that category.  Many of these
can be traced to ISO or IETF roots, and most of these were either
proactive, trying to get in front of problems, or reactive, fixing issues
that had occurred.  As we grow larger, and add new people and new WG
chairs, we do need to provide guidance to the "newbies" so they understand
how we operate and also do remediation for "oldbies" where the rules have

When we did the re-org back in 2003-2004 we wisely adopted a number of
elements that worked really well the Internet, arguably one of the most
successful international standards organizations.  In a number of cases
concepts were introduced (from the Internet) in that April 2004 A02x1y2
Yellow Book that we did not have defined in reality.  These included
architectural principles, SANA, and concensus.  PICS / ICS and Code of
Conduct were brought in from ISO, and security was brought in because we
could no longer just ignore it.  In that original re-org YB we said we had
adopted these elements, but what we did not do was to actually define
these mechanisms and processes. That has happened over time and I really
believe it is time that we face this issue as well.

The Internet, interestingly enough, has directly addressed the issue of
working group guidelines and proceeses frequently, and has described what
it means by "rough consensus and running code" in no fewer than four
separate writings. A new paper on this was recently published, just
because they are a large and growing organization with many new members
(and group leaders) who are unfamiliar with what it means to run a
concensus organization.

I think we have this same situation and that our current descrption of
what consensus means is just too anecdotal and subject to interpretation.

I'd be the first to admit that we do not yet have consensus within the
CESG on this specific topic.  It's clear that there is opposition to any
change. I would also admit that I have not yet been able to provide a
"good enough" definition that could work for us.  But I also think that
this is very important to how CCSDS operates and I am not willing to give

So I am going to offer up one more possible formulation that I have
extracted from the most recent IETF paper on the subject.  Since we moved
years ago to intentionally align with the Internet in many way maybe this
will work for you all.  I do not believe that this "adds bureacracy" nor
does it provide a hard set of rules.  What it does offer is some guidance
for how we should carry out that which we are already doing, and in so
doing provides something like "a concensus process", or at least guidance
for those who run it.  The full Internet paper is also attached for anyone
who wishes to read it.

So there are several approaches on the table.  If we have four choices:

1. Leave things as they are
2. Adopt the Wikipedia "three questions"
3. Adopt the consensus.org seven rules
4. Adopt the IETF six guidelines

Which would you pick?  Which has features you just cannot live with?  And
what are the reasons you object to those features?

Best regards, Peter


On 11/13/13 5:23 AM, "Chris.Taylor at esa.int" <Chris.Taylor at esa.int> wrote:

>Dear all, I have trailed through the emails on this discussion and can't
>believe we are having these sorts of discussions. If you take it
>I wonder how we were ever able to get any thing done in the past. IMHO, we
>already have far more bureaucracy than we need and are in danger of
>track of the real reason for the existence of CCSDS. It is not so we can
>these Spats at CESG level.
>The present rules have served us well if we cant agree to new ones in a
>simple discussion then stay with the old.
>I therefore vote for option B
>From:	Nestor.Peccia at esa.int
>To:	"Shames, Peter M (312G)" <peter.m.shames at jpl.nasa.gov>,
>Cc:	Thomas Gannett <tomg at aiaa.org>, cesg-bounces at mailman.ccsds.org,
>            "cesg at mailman.ccsds.org" <cesg at mailman.ccsds.org>
>Date:	12/11/2013 22:00
>Subject:	Re: [CESG] Update Org&Procs/ICS books per CESG discussion
>Sent by:	cesg-bounces at mailman.ccsds.org
>I am surprised receiving  suggestions about timely agreement. All these
>issues of "consensus and abstain" is a consequence of your lack of
>with the schedule agreed in the CESG  to have a YB version for the CMC on
>15th Nov 2013.
>It is not acceptable for me to fix  a time to achieve an agreement on
>consensus and abstain
>Why ?
>If we need to consider simple majority as one of the consensus statuses, I
>want to discuss other items that could be related with this
>      CESG chairs veto,
>      AD / DAD veto for WG decisions
>      maximum number of ADs from one Agency not exceeding a limit (<= 2 or
>      3 ??) within CESG
>      Representativeness of all member Agencies across Areas and WGs
>      Agency minority rights
>      etc
>      etc
>This will take some time, believe me; because consensus needs also to be
>discussed at WG level. Otherwise the troops will think that we are "Prima
>Donnas" and not only simple ADs
>In a nutshell, my opinion is
>      Either Option B as is, or Option A with an open ended schedule
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