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[rpd] Questions for Alain...

Mike Burns mike at
Fri Jun 8 18:48:49 UTC 2018

Hi Owen,


OK, I understand, but when it is phrased directly as:

“Can this policy be removed due to conflict of interest?”


Then I have a problem. Even if the conflict was undisclosed. Even if the author is a liar. 


Unless the arguments relate to direct experience, which is anecdotal anyway, the author doesn’t matter. Now if the author was arguing based on experience, then credibility comes into play, and that should be considered.


But the concept of an anonymous author seems fine to me, and appropriate. These decisions are not to be taken based on whose personal ox is gored, but on whether they help the community.  It’s nearly impossible to take motivation out of the discussion, but for the narrow realm of policymaking, it’s essential to retain order.


The author could be Satan himself. If his arguments are sound, they are sound.

Or the author could be a saint with bad arguments.


It’s the arguments and not the author, and that’s why we should not care about conflicts of interest nor motivations of authors nor even identity. A hard thing to do.


Anyway, I’ve said all I will say to make my point, I hope everyone has a nice weekend.







From: Owen DeLong [mailto:owen at] 
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2018 2:29 PM
To: Mike Burns <mike at>
Cc: Saul Stein <saul at>; ALAIN AINA <aalain at>; rpd at
Subject: Re: [rpd] Questions for Alain...




I think it is the previously undisclosed nature of the interest that is upsetting to most of the commenters here.


I do not believe that the basis for requests that Alain withdraw the policy proposal(s) is his interest, but, rather the fact that the community has now rejected the proposal on multiple occasions across multiple years at multiple meetings.




On Jun 8, 2018, at 08:33 , Mike Burns <mike at <mailto:mike at> > wrote:


Dear Saul,


What conflict of interest?  Almost every policy author has an interest in the policy they are authoring, often that’s the impetus for the policy.


Almost every author and AFRINIC member stands to profit through their use of IPv4 addresses acquired from AFRINIC.


As an (open) broker, I have successfully authored policy in ARIN and LACNIC which tended to open up the IPv4 market. Is it your opinion that my policymaking ability be curtailed due to “conflict of interest?”


No, the interests of the author should not be considered, but the author’s arguments should be considered outside anybody’s feelings about the author’s motivations, location, or language.  


Are we to examine the motivations of every policy author? Can you see how that would devolve even lower than the current state? Maybe Liquid Telecom will benefit from one policy and an IP broker from another. That should not concern us. What should concern us is whether the policy is supported by sound arguments regardless of the source of those arguments.


There is a reason why ad hominem is not used in policymaking discussions. It would be well for this community to understand why that is. Sure it’s human nature to take into account a person’s motivations, but we have to rise above base human responses to logically and dispassionately evaluate the arguments, not the persons.


Also, I doubt there is any way to forcibly remove a policy due to “conflict of interest.” Saul, do you want to grant to somebody at AFRINIC the ability to cull policies deemed authored by a conflicted author?


Finally I concur that it’s best to be open about your role to avoid inviting these kinds of disputes.


Mike Burns




From: Saul Stein [ <mailto:saul at> mailto:saul at] 
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2018 1:55 AM
To: ALAIN AINA < <mailto:aalain at> aalain at>;  <mailto:rpd at> rpd at
Subject: Re: [rpd] Questions for Alain...




It has been more than 24hours since my last request.

Alain has not withdrawn this policy. He has acknowledged that he wasn’t a broker at the time of compilation of the policy, but now is and a clear conflict arises.


Please can this policy be removed due to conflict of interest.


From: ALAIN AINA [ <mailto:aalain at> mailto:aalain at] 
Sent: 07 June 2018 07:43 PM
To:  <mailto:rpd at> rpd at
Subject: Re: [rpd] Questions for Alain...




I did not know in 2016 that I will be associated to an ip broker project. I am sorry that my "African magic" was  not sufficient to predict this future.


The intra-RIR policy was adopted by the community and implemented by AFRINIC. Hence, one would expect Brokers to emerge on the continent.


Let me repeat:


The original proposal of SL-bis did not contain any limitation beyond the change on the max allocation size in phase 1. 


The revision history of the proposal is very explicit on the changes. The limitations proposed by Sl-SD team were incorporated into the SL-BIS  after the Nairobi meeting based on discussions at the PPM and on list after the PPM. PPM minutes and RPD archives are available to prove that. 


Policy proposals evolve beyond the control of the initiators. 


So, let us not redo the SL-bis discussions on the same issues again, and let us move forward.






On 6 Jun 2018, at 18:48, Owen DeLong < <mailto:owen at> owen at> wrote:




On Jun 6, 2018, at 06:34 , ALAIN AINA < <mailto:aalain at> aalain at> wrote:



Hi Andrew,


I know that the SL-BIS policy proposal still giving you insomnia, but relax.


It is bizarre that i co-authored the SL-bis since February 2016 and the Intra-RIR v4 transfer proposal, the 23rd may 2016 and you did not see the so-called conflict.


Considering that it was not known at that time that you intended to be a broker (at least not to Andrew, nor myself), why is it bizarre?


Both elements must be known in order to become aware of the conflict.


Now back to your point, i don't see how the SL-bis proposal submitted in February 2016 creates a v4 shortage.  It was about  "fair distribution of the last /8 of v4 and IPv6 deployment”:




It was about preventing those who need address space now from getting it (i.e. an artificial shortage) in order to have some available for those who do not yet need it but might in the future.


It has nothing to do with fairness. It’s ostensibly all about keeping a free pool available as long as possible for speculative possible future needs. The only way you can achieve that is by creating an artificial shortage (or, more accurately, artificially worsening the existing shortage) for those that need address space now.



How does it solve the problem [ <>]


2) Summary of How this Proposal Addresses the Problem

This policy proposal solves the problem described above by:


Changing the value of the maximum allocation/assignment size during the exhaustion phase 1.

Imposing IPv6 resources as a pre-condition to IPv4 resource requests during the exhaustion.

Reserving address spaces for Critical Internet Infrastructure and new LIRs or End-Users.

Removing the minimum allocation size as this may evolve over time during the exhaustion period.


You left out the part where you create a maximum amount of space per unit of time restriction on applicants.


That provision (which is part of the policy) is the most controversial and also the most critical to the real intents behind the proposal (denying space to those who need it now to support the ostensible goal of providing it to others later).


There are those that argue that such a denial is “fair” and there are those who argue that it is completely unfair.





and the proposal itself is clear:


-No explicit limit on the number of times an organization may request additional IPv4 address space during Exhaustion Phases(same as the soft landing policy implemented)


Except that there is… There’s a limit on the amount of space an organization may receive within a given time period which is effectively the same thing.



We all know how it evolved and how the SL-SD(*) proposal came in and impacted the original proposal.


The Intra-RiR proposal was meant to address justified needs after exhaustion of Afrinic pool or when AFRINIC cant no longer satisfied such needs. It reached consensus (there was no  appeal filled against) and has been implemented.. [ <>]



2) Summary of How this Proposal Addresses the Problem

The Policy solves the issue of an African organisation needing IPv4 number resources after the exhaustion of the AFRINIC IPv4 pool or when AFRINIC can no longer satisfy the needs of such an organization.



So, overall fair distribution from the last /8 and other remaining blocks and provisions to cover justified needs inside the region after AFRINIC pool exhaustion. 


Where is this problem ? 


You were accused with your proposal of soft-landing-overhaul(**) to fast track the exhaustion of the AFRINIC pool(distribute the  last /8 with the max  allocation size at /10 instead of the /13 as per current soft landing policy or  /15 proposed by SL-bis proposal ) and i should have followed you if i was acting to promote a v4 market.


Actually, not really. Preserving effective shortage against large providers while still facilitating small providers obtaining sufficient IPv4 to be able to avoid IPv6 provides the maximum revenue opportunity for brokers while also being maximally destructive to the progress of a free and open internet. SL-BIS does exactly this.


Fast tracking run-out, OTOH, brings AfriNIC in line with the rest of the world and helps get everyone moving towards IPV6 sooner rather than later, thus allowing those who have implemented IPv6 to deprecate their IPv4 albatrosses sooner rather than later, thus allowing the entire internet to move forward sooner rather than later.


True, it hurts the following parties:

            CGN vendors because it reduces demand for costly CGN solutions

            Those in denial about IPv6 because it forces them into an uncomfortable reality check.

            Brokers because it reduces the peak value and lifetime of the IPv4 marketplace

            Those sitting on large unused IPv4 pools for the same reasons as brokers.

            Those late to the party who still think they can pursue an IPv4-only strategy for a new business.

            Those late to the party who find it expensive to support remaining IPv4-only customers.


However, it would be better for the internet overall and would create a greater level of pain for a much shorter period of time vs. SL-BIS which seeks to intensify the pain more gradually while prolonging the duration of that pain and achieving a much higher maximum.


If you believe that SL-BIS actually provides fair distribution or otherwise solves the IPv4 runout problem, then you are like the mythological frog in the pot of water.


The myth says that if you toss a frog in to a pot of hot water, it will jump out and save itself. It goes on to say that if you put the frog in a pot of cold water and slowly bring it to a boil, the frog will not notice and will be boiled to death without reacting.


Turns out that frogs are smarter than the myth would have us believe and do leave when the temperature becomes uncomfortable, regardless of how slowly the temperature rises.


IPv4 runout is like the water. The rise in temperature is inevitable. SL-BIS will make the rise in temperature slower, and its supporters hope we won’t notice and will continue to sit in the water as we get scalded. SL-SD would rapidly heat the water and provide a clear signal that it would be best for us all to get out of the IPv4 pot and use IPv6.


Hope this clarifies and helps the discussions.


While it is a nice set of obfuscations, I think the community will still see through the deception and continue to oppose SL-BIS as it has been doing for a few years now.






(*)  <>

(**)  <>





On 5 Jun 2018, at 10:29, Andrew Alston < <mailto:Andrew.Alston at> Andrew.Alston at> wrote:




You have actively supported and fought for the new soft landing policy – to artificially restrict space to entities that need it. 


Now, I’d like to ask – as an author of the soft-landing-bis policy which you have STILL not withdrawn… aren’t you just a LITTLE bit conflicted in trying to create an artificial shortage and make it hard for people to get space – while starting and founding an IP broker in Africa?


Maybe now we understand the *true* motivations behind the soft landing bis policy….






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