Wanna cheerlead open internet standards, help out the peeps at IETF? Enter the ISoc Maze

And you've got 10 days to win

The political arm of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Society, has posted its approved slate of candidates for two board positions – and invited everyone else in the world to parachute into the process.

The IETF will be best known among Reg readers as the volunteer developers and maintainers of the internet's RFCs, the technical standards keeping the whole shebang on the rails. The Internet Society (ISoc) does all the non-technical organizing, such as arranging panels, publishing journals and urging everyone to adopt open protocols.

In the first step in a process so complex it took three ISoc staffers to explain the rules of the game, seven candidates have been selected by an official Nominating Committee from an unknown number of candidates: three of them going for the "organizations" board seat that opens up later this year; and four for the "chapters" seat.

The "organizations" seat will be selected in a weighted voting process by member organizations of ISoc, with higher-level members (those that contribute more) given a greater number of votes. The three candidates for the seat – Susan Estrada, David Farber and Alice Munyua – are all internet old hands.

The "chapters" seat will selected by votes from the designated person for each of approximately 100 ISoc chapters from across the world. The slate of candidates in this case is a lively blend of online activists, academics and net-heads.

However, if you wish, you can leapfrog the entire selection process and parachute into the election process in the next 10 days if you file a "petition" with ISoc and get 11 votes if you want to go for the organizations seat or 7 votes if you want to go for the chapters seat.

Why? We're not sure. And no one has attempted to do so in at least the past seven years, it seems, as one long-term staff member told us he has never seen it happen.

If you do sneak on and manage to get selected, you could still face a challenge. Anyone is entitled within seven days of the election results to challenge a selection by writing to the society's president explaining the reasons why you should not be selected. The president will then talk to the rest of the board and the election committee chairs and make a final decision within a week.

There's an elaborate timetable for the process. Amazingly, though, 12 of today's 13 board members have all managed to make it through this process and represent the Internet Society. And you have 10 days to try the same. ®

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