Discussing, or not discussing, major business outages

I Am Not An Isp patrick at ianai.net
Tue Feb 9 04:41:31 UTC 1999

At 11:06 PM 2/6/99 -0800, George Herbert wrote:


>I would like to see the issue discussed in general terms
>at least; what is appropriate for notifications, what are
>fair responsibilities to customers, the public, other ISPs etc.
>in terms of this sort of event.

Having gone through this myself (as all of you here probably remember),
this can be a Most Difficult Time for everyone involved.  Creditors
threatening to shut you down, and leaks only exacerbating the problem.
Customers worried about loosing their connectivity.  Customers worried
about loosing their customers.  Employees worried about their paychecks -
or worse, know there isn't one but trying to keep things going anyway.
Etc., etc., etc.  It's really the bad side of this business that a lot of
people never see - thank god.

When a business goes under, the technical contacts of that business should
communicate with the technical contacts of the businesses *directly*
impacted by the possible failure.  The business contacts of that business
should communicate with their creditors and customers regarding business
issues.  Mailing lists and the like should only be notified after no more
damage can be done.

There really isn't an operational issue here.  If a network is off-line,
and you are trying to get to a downstream, you should contact the
downstream.  Just as if the network were having a normal outage, not going
out of business.  Since the network will have notified the downstream (as
per my previous paragraph :), then the downstream can decide what is in
their best interests to tell you - IN PRIVATE.  Not blasted out onto a
mailing list with a few hundred readers.

Don't get me wrong, I would really like to know about outages, etc., but I
can say from personal experience that "leaking" information can *serious*
endanger customers and employees - we're talking about PEOPLE here - that
had nothing to do with the failure.  Sometimes a day or two can make the
difference, and posting to a mailing list only makes vendors want to cut
their losses immediately.  Ruining some random person's livelihood, someone
who has worked hard and does not deserve to be put out of business, because
you were pissed at their upstream's NOC guy 6 months ago is bordering on
sadistic.  (No, I don't know if that's why someone anonymously posted about
Priori.  And yes, I'm still trying to find out what piece of sadistic shit
did that to my [ex]customers.  You can insult, backstab and try to bring me
down, and all may be forgiven - or at least forgotten.  But don't fuck with
my friends, because that I will never forget.)

So, if a network, hosting house, dial-up shop, or anyone else is going down
in flames, I do not think the list should be notified until #1) everyone
involved is notified and #2) everyone involved agrees no more harm can be
done.  (We can discuss an addition to #2 like: "or everyone is shut down
and moved" or something like that.)  Please note I said "everyone
involved", not "everyone on NANOG".  Just because you run a network does
not mean you are automagically "involved" in the death of someone else's
business on the 'Net.

All IMHO, of course. ;)

>-george william herbert


I Am Not An Isp
ISPF, The Forum for ISPs by ISPs, <http://www.ispf.com>
"Think of it as evolution in action." - Niven & Pournelle

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