RIPE 84 was our first face-to-face meeting in two years and it was wonderful to come together as a community again. Everyone was happy to see each other. And Berlin was a great location and welcomed us with beautiful weather.
You could feel the energy in the RIPE 84 meeting rooms and hallways. Lots of creative and constructive discussions and interactions took place all over the meeting venue through the week. At the same time, many people were making use of our improved online participation facilities to follow the meeting sessions. There were also a number of remote presenters, and participants could ask questions (rather than having them read out by the session chair or chat monitor). I don’t think we ever had that many remote presentations at a RIPE Meeting, but thanks to the Meetecho team and platform and the RIPE NCC support team, everything went very smoothly.
All that said, there is still room for improvement. The integration of onsite and online Q&A queues is taking some getting used to. Also, remote participants still miss out on a lot of social interaction that is so important for us as community and as human beings, so we'll keep looking for new ways to help them connect with onsite participants during the meeting. But even so, I hope that everyone who took part online got the most out of the meeting. We will definitely continue to further improve our hybrid meeting setup.
I was also very glad to see so many newcomers at RIPE 84. Those who I spoke to enjoyed the meeting and were full of praise for everyone there who made them feel welcome and included. I hope we will see many of the newcomers back on the mailing lists and at the next meeting.
Many thanks to the Programme Committee who had to deal with last minute changes and challenges. Despite everything, they put together a very interesting programme, which was also reflected in the presentation ratings. Here's a look at some of the highlights of the week.
Ukraine and Decentralisation
Right after the opening plenary, two presentations focused on the war in Ukraine and the way the Internet is holding up. Emile Aben, Senior Research Engineer at the RIPE NCC, talked us through a series of measurements that demonstrate how, in addition to the amazing dedication of the operators on the ground, the decentralised infrastructure and market in Ukraine has been key to the success and survival of the Ukrainian Internet. After that, Rene Fichtmüller of the Global NOG Alliance reported how a small initiative to support operators in Ukraine grew quickly into a serious project that requires warehouses and logistical skills.
IPv6 Policy Review
During the Address Policy Working Group, Gert Döring, Kurt Kayser and Sander Steffann presented a detailed analysis of the various RIPE IPv6 policy documents, pointing out some inconsistencies and areas that could be improved. Thanks to this groundwork, the community - including the IPv6 WG, the Address Policy WG and the BCOP Task Force - can now take on the task to update these documents.
Women in Tech
For the first time since our last physical meeting, we held a Women in Tech session, this time focusing on data: the importance of reliable data, the gender data gap, and measurements of gender diversity at RIPE Meetings. The session was well attended and there was a good discussion with constructive suggestions. There was definitely interest to move this topic to the next level, for instance broadening the scope and possibly including the session better into the main programme.
During the week, I met with some of the original members of the RIPE Diversity Task Force who initiated many activities that have been implemented in the meantime, such as the Women in Tech session, childcare at RIPE Meetings, the mentorship programme and the new RIPE Code of Conduct. Since then, the topic of inclusion and diversity has evolved into a larger community activity and is the responsibility of all of us. Therefore, I suggested to close the Task Force. This was welcomed by the community plenary at RIPE 84. This way the topic can more effectively be embraced by the community. The mailing list will remain open and I am looking forward to active engagement and new ideas and suggestions. Many thanks to the Task Force members to kick off this important activity. Please look out for an official announcement about this on the RIPE List.
Rob Blokzijl Award
Gert Döring received the Rob Blokzijl Award for his long-standing contribution to the Address Policy Working Group and the RIPE community and for his work to promote IPv6.
The award honours the memory of Rob Blokzijl, the first Chair of RIPE. It recognises individuals who have made substantial technical and operational contributions to the development of the Internet in the RIPE NCC service region and supported or enabled others.
New RIPE WG chairs
For every WG you can now see the start and end term of each WG chair and when the next selection round will take place. This time, Brian Trammell, co-chair of the MAT WG and Constanze Dietrich, co-chair of the IoT WG, stepped down. Nina Bargisen will continue as co-chair of the MAT WG together with Massimo Candela and Stephen Strowes who were selected as new co-chairs. Peter Steinhäuser will co-chair the IoT WG together with Sandoche Balakrichenan.
RIPE Code of Conduct
The RIPE Code of Conduct Task Force held a BoF to look at requirements for the Code of Conduct Team (size of the team, needed skills, etc.). Since we do not yet have a Code of Conduct Team in place, we increased the number of Trusted Contacts for RIPE 84. They were available in person at the meeting and also by email and received a number of reports, mostly related to aggressive tone of voice used at the microphone. This is something we need to take seriously as a community, because it reflects badly on all of us and potentially discourages others, especially newcomers, to speak up and actively participate.
This is only a small selection of topics ad discussions that took place at the meeting. As always, you can find all recordings and presentations in the RIPE 84 archives.
Overall, I believe that RIPE 84 - the first physical meeting in two years and our first hybrid meeting - was a success. New initiatives and action points were created and there is a lot of work to do for us as a community. But with the energy boost that I certainly felt during the meeting, I am confident that we will make progress over the coming months. And I am looking forward to seeing you all again at RIPE 85 in October.