[rfc-i] RFC Editor Model Final Version?

Bob Braden braden at ISI.EDU
Mon Sep 8 13:36:08 PDT 2008

>required by the RFC Series.  For simplicity's sake, and without
>attempting to predict how the role might be subdivided among them,
>this document refers to this collection of experts and organizations
>as the "RFC Editor".
>The RFC Editor is an expert technical editor and series editor,
>acting to support the mission of the RFC Series.  As such, the RFC
>Editor is the implementer handling the editorial management of the
>RFC Series, in accordance with the defined processes.  In addition,
>the RFC Editor is expected to be the expert and prime mover in
>discussions about policies for editing, publishing, and archiving

You have not yet resolved the terminology confusion about whether
the "RFC Editor" is a person or a "collection of experts and organizations".
The first paragraph above clearly says the latter; the 2nd paragraph
implies the former.  If you intended the "expert technical editor and
series editor" to be a "collection of experts and organizations",
then you are in worse trouble than I can imagine. ;-)

>RFC 4844 envisions changes in the RFC Editor organizational structure.
>The IAB considered a change to increase flexibility and operational
>support options, provide for the orderly succession of the RFC Editor,
>and ensure the continuity of the RFC series, while maintaining RFC
>quality, maintaining timely processing, ensuring document
>accessibility, reducing costs, and increasing cost transparency.

If "reducing costs and increasing cost transparency" means
micro-managing the RFC production and publication operations,
then I think you will not meet the rest of the IAB/IETF goals for
the RFC Editor.

>RFC Editor
>The RFC Editor is a single person, and this person is responsible for:

Whoops, there, you directly contradicted yourself.

>The RFC Editor is a senior managerial position with a strong

It is unclear that the RFC Editor [person] will manage anything under
this structure.  His/her role would seem to be advisory to the IAOC,
which will do the management.

>         1.      Editing inputs from all RFC streams to comply with the 
> RFC Style
>         2.      Creating records of edits performed on documents
>         3.      Engaging in dialogue with authors when clarification is 
> needed
>         4.      Creating records of dialogue with documents authors
>         5.      Requesting advice from the RFC Editor as needed
>         6.      Provide suggestions to the RFC Editor as needed
>         7.      Coordinating with IANA to obtain registry information
>         8.      RFC number assignment
>         9.      Forwarding ready-to-publish documents to the RFC Publisher
>         10.     Forwarding records of edits and author dialogue to RFC 
> Publisher

How about building and maintaining tools and scripts to improve efficiency and
improve service?

Why would the RFC Publisher care about a record of edits and author dialogue?

Do you know of any other editorial operation where the editor is required 
to keep a
record of edits and author dialog, and to report them to some outside
partey??  I don''t.  In my personal opinion, this requirement is fatuous.
It originated from hurt the feelings of a few IETFers at the suggestion 
that their prose
could be improved. There are none of us whose prose
would not benefit from a competent editor. I suggest that the IOAC get over it.

>RFC Publisher
>In the proposed model, the RFC Publisher responsibilities include:
>         1.      Announce and provide online access to RFCs

in all their formats, and the RFC index, in all its various views, and the 
Official Intennet
Protocol Standards list, and the biblographic list, and probably the queue 
(or do you expect the Production group to maintain their own web site?)  I 
think you
underestimate the complexity of the Publisher function.

>         2.      Provide online system to submit RFC Errata
>         3.      Provide online access to approved RFC Errata
>         4.      Provide backups
>         5.      Provide storage and preservation of records
>         6.      Authenticate RFCs for legal proceedings

One final thought: You need to plan for change.  How much inertia will be 
inserted into the
system by this structure, and how will changes happen?

I hope that my comments  will be useful to you.

Bob Braden

>rfc-interest mailing list
>rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org

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