[rfc-i] Some questions about the RFC Editor restructuring plan

Aaron Falk falk at bbn.com
Fri Aug 8 07:03:37 PDT 2008

On Aug 7, 2008, at 6:20 AM, Olaf Kolkman wrote:

>> * The (new) RFC Editor position is implied to be a manager and have
>>  responsibilities, yet this position has no authority.   
>> Responsibility
>>  without authority is a well-known "bog".
> I realize that there is a risk that my answer will start a debate  
> about semantics.
> Within the IETF community there are a number of positions (ADs, WG- 
> chairs, IAB membership, Nomcom membership) where by taking  
> responsibility folk are being granted authority. And although folk  
> in those positions have a small toolkit if it comes to the available  
> carrots and sticks this all seems to work to some extend.
> It is up to the parties involved in the model, including the IAB and  
> IAOC, to grant the authority to the RFC editor. I hear you pointing  
> out that there are risks that that may fail.

Hmm, well, the ability for an RFC Editor to be responsible for series  
continuity, style management, and errata is going to be very different  
based on whether that person has financial control over the production  
process.  Any changes will have an associated cost and consume  
resources (e.g., creating or modifying editorial standards, software,  
or process descriptions).  If the RFC Editor doesn't control  
resources, they can only criticize and suggest, not **be responsible**  
for implementing improvements.  This will create a three-way tension  
between the Production House (who needs to manage to cost and  
contractual agreements), the IAOC/IAD (who holds sets the contracts  
and who, btw, isn't shown on the diagram at [1]), and the RFC Editor  
(who has neither contract nor funding to push the Production House in  
a desired direction).  If the RFC Editor has any authority at all,  
this seems like a potential mess of unclear management authority.  If  
they don't and provide only an advisory role, I think their ability to  
**be responsible** for maintaining the quality of the series is going  
to be very limited.

--aaron (also wearing no particular hats)

[1] http://www.iab.org/documents/resources/RFC-Editor-Model.html

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