The IETF is different from most standardization bodies in that it is a totally open community with no membership requirements. As an open forum, anyone can join the activities of the IETF.
The IETF consists of a number of working groups (WGs) classified into several areas. Currently, there are seven areas: Applications, General, Internet, Operations and, Management, Routing, Security, Transport
Decisions are made based not on formal voting but on rough consensus. Many of the IETF’s processes and decisions are managed through mailing list discussions that allow for broad participation in IETF activities by people everywhere. IETF meetings are held three times each year.
See the IETF web site for more information: http://www.ietf.org.