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

Olaf Kolkman olaf at NLnetLabs.nl
Mon Aug 11 04:34:43 PDT 2008


Aaron,

Thanks for the reply. It very clearly points out the risk:

> 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).


However, to me personally, this is still about the implementation of  
the model. In fact in the current model that is explicitly stated:

> The model is constructed in such a way that it allows for all these  
> functions to be implemented jointly or under different contracts.   
> In fact, a bidder could put together a proposal that includes one or  
> more subcontractors.  Since the reporting structure would depend on  
> how the manner that the contracts are awarded, they are subject to  
> change over time.  As a result, the model does only describe  
> responsibilities, procedures, and process.  The exact implementation  
> is a responsibility of the IAOC.


On the other hand, I have heard sufficient comments that I think some  
clarification is needed. So my (personal) straw-man would be to add a  
section.

  Implementation Guidance

    The RFC Editor will need to be enforced to direct the Production  
house
    to implement measures to maintain the series consistency and  
quality. The
    IAPC will need to ascertain that appropriate vehicles are in place  
for this.

    Without prejudice to other possible implementations of this model  
the IAOC is
    requested to specifically investigate the possibilities where the  
RFC Editor
    and the Production house are awarded as one single contract or the  
Production
    house is a subcontractor to the RFC Editor.

I realize that this is pushing addressing of the real problem forward,  
but I hope it
provides sufficient early warning while maintaining a consistent and  
flexible
model. Would this work / address some of your worries?


--Olaf

For context this is the full thread, no further comments below.

On Aug 8, 2008, at 4:03 PM, Aaron Falk wrote:

>
> 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
> _______________________________________________
> rfc-interest mailing list
> rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org
> http://mailman.rfc-editor.org/mailman/listinfo/rfc-interest

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