The IETF, and membership via corporation

The IETF is the standards body that describes and defines the basic protocols that make the internet work. There is a lot of basic knowledge and community wisdom "baked in" to the IETF process, and much of what makes the IETF work is how it is very different from other standards bodies (such as IEEE, ANSI, ISO, NIST, ITU, etc etc).

One key difference is that "groups" do not join the IETF. Cisco Systems or IBM is not a "member" of the IETF. No agency of the US government, or of any other government, is a "member" of the IETF. No university, or non-profit, or even "concerned citizens group", is a "member" of the IETF.

Only individual people can be "members" of the IETF. And "membership" is mostly defined as "who shows up on the mailing list" and "who shows up at the meetings".

There have been many cases in the history of the IETF where well known members who are in the middle of writing standards or of chairing various important working groups, who have worked for well known large companies, will change employers, to other companies, to startups, switch around between industry, universities, research labs, and government, and this will not, does not, and should not, affect their position inside the IETF at all.

Sometimes people, inside and outside of the IETF, need to be reminded of this.

If you want to write standards in the IEEE and ITU style, you know where you can find it. When you are writing standards inside the IETF, that is how it works.

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