[rfc-i] headers and boilerplates last minute proposal

John C Klensin john+rfc at jck.com
Thu Apr 9 12:34:25 PDT 2009

--On Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:00 -0700 Joe Touch
<touch at ISI.EDU> wrote:

>> To get off "forever", we have to talk about the here and now.
>> If not "upon approval", or "upon publication", what's a
>> better way to capture that?
> All RFCs are implicitly "when published, and forever until
> overridden by subsequent publications", so restating that
> repeatedly seems needless.
> In standards, we use the present tense (MUST), or imperatives
> (e.g., SHALL). There's no need for that particular language in
> this doc because it isn't a standard; the equivalent is just
> stating the fact or using lower-case "shall".
> IMO, just say "The following text is included" or "shall be
> included".


In fairness, Leslie is trying to respond, at least in part, to a
concern of mine.   Especially in the new model, it strikes me as
a very bad idea for the community, or even the IAB, to be
micromanaging the RFC Editor [function] to the extent of saying
"put in exactly this text and put it in exactly this place".  I
don't want to spend time pulling up and flogging old examples,
but that way of working has gotten us into a whole series of
problems in the past.  The minor (and therefore non-sensitive)
ones have included imposition of spelling inconsistencies that
the RFC Editor did not feel able to change, the separation of
material that should have been together into different parts of
the document, etc.

In general, it also takes an RFC to change an RFC.  If one says
"The following text shall be included" then we are going to need
another RFC and review process to change that text.   There is
not much wrong with that if one believes that this sort of
review and tuning process is a good use of community time.  My
own view is that, as with the IPR situation, we should get
principles laid out and then move on, stepping back in only if a
real problem develops that the various groups who are supposed
to be handling these problems cannot or will not solve.  I'm
certain the community is better off if you are doing protocol
work rather than spending time on this sort of situation; I hope
that is true for me too.

So I have encouraged Leslie to take a "this is guidance and
initial text" approach, leaving the details and their evolution
to the Style Manual effort, review of that Style Manual by the
IAB, and calls for community comments on it (and revisions to
it) -- whether those calls are issued by the RSE or the IAB or
both should make little difference unless the RSE selection
process makes a really bad choice.  As I have suggested to her,
if the RSE isn't responsive to that kind of advice and guidance,
we will have a problem that is far more serious than where a few
paragraphs are placed or the specific wording that is used in


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