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

Russ Housley housley at vigilsec.com
Tue Aug 26 07:23:17 PDT 2008


Aaron:

>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.

You are arguing for a tighter coupling between the RFC editor and the 
Production house based on a good principle: do not make some one 
responsible for things that they have no authority to 
influence.  This a good principle, but I thin you are reading more 
into the responsibility than was intended.

The RFC Editor is responsible for the series continuity, style 
management, and errata. To me that involves planning, style guides, 
and so on.  I do not see this a review every RFC before it is posted 
level of oversight.  I would expect that type of review to be 
provided by a quality control function in the production house.  I 
would also expect the RFC Editor to provide design review for 
proposed enhancements to web site design and tools 
development.  Again, this does not impact the day-to-day operation of 
production house, but it does offer the RFC Editor the opportunity to 
steer things that impact the overall series.

If a production house contractor was ignoring all of the input from a 
loosely-coupled RFC Editor, the I would expect the IAD and IAOC to 
take contractual actions.  There is a parallel in today's structure, 
and these are the same actions that would be taken today if the IAB 
was very unhappy with the performance of the current  RFC 
Editor.  The IAB has oversight roles today, and as far as I can tell 
the community is quite happy with the manner that the IAB performs 
them, and the IAB does not need a tightly-coupled relationship in 
order to perform them.

Russ



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