I honestly wondered whether to wade in here, as I'm another person that
seems to have drifted away from the NANOG community.
But why have I drifted? Partly because I've only got so much T&E budget to
go at, and sometimes I need to be somewhere else that isn't a NANOG
meeting. NANOG has stopped being a "must attend" event for me, and become a
"nice to do", probably once a year to catch up with some people, and only
if I'm not too busy already.
I've also not renewed my NANOG membership since it lapsed last year despite
having previously been a member since NANOG memberships were first offered
One of the things that lost my continued membership was a recent election
where a number of candidates ran as a slate. I felt it to be cringeworthy
and unwarranted. When the opportunity to renew came, I chose not to give
NANOG any more money because members of the incumbent Board had taken an
action that had disappointed me.
I strongly believe the NANOG community is best served by candidates elected
based on their individual merit and their stated platform.
Right now, the Board is all too easily perceived as an unassailable
hegemony of powerful, successful individuals, who hold senior roles in
their (successful) parent orgs, and that's regardless of the positive and
community-spirited intentions they may have had when standing for election.
It feels as though we need to wait for people to term-out and hope one of
their powerful buddies isn't standing to continue the dynasty. Is that what
the Board really wants? It seems not, but that's how it's ended up looking.
There's also something of an "escalator" assumption about passage through
committees and eventually becoming a Board member. While I don't doubt the
experience of the other committees is useful, this "escalator" isn't
necessarily a healthy path to Board membership.
Back to the meetings themselves, I feel NANOG has become less of a
welcoming meeting of technical peers and feels more like a trade fair,
dominated by cliques, cabals, suites & private side rooms. The trade fair
mentality likely attracted the undesirable trade fair antics that have been
spoken of on this thread, perhaps unsurprisingly. Meanwhile, the governance
seems to have become rather politicised and less representative of the
That said, I'm pleased to see there's some recognition of the shortcomings
and a desire to change the status quo.
How that's done? Well that's a whole different question, but I think Dan
made a few good points earlier in the thread. Maybe part of the solution is
having some proportion of Board seats appointed by some sort of nominating
process, while retaining the elections for others, to try and achieve a
more balanced Board.