[rfc-i] RFC citations committee I-D issued

RJ Atkinson rja.lists at gmail.com
Fri Feb 11 07:58:40 PST 2011

Earlier, Joel Halpern wrote:
> The IETF has long been internally inconsistent abotu the citing of I-Ds.
> IETF rules, and the boiler plate we put in each and every I-D says that 
> they can not be cited.
> We have however, long permitted a particular partial form of citation.
> I am sympathetic to the view that this inconsistency does no one much good.
> But this list is not the place to change that.  This list is for RFC 
> policy.  What we are discussing is a matter of I-D policy.
> If we want the IETF to change the policy on citation of I-Ds (and 
> recognize the reality of the persistence of I-Ds) then we have to have 
> that discussion on the IETF list.
> Getting agreement and documenting a policy that recognizes reality seems 
> a good result to me.
> One could argue that we should reach agreement here first.  But given 
> the history of this topic, having the debate here will not save any time 
> or effort later.

I think there is a process confusion lurking about.

The thread is discussing a particular draft document.  An ad-hoc committee 
created by the RFC-Editor drafted that document.  That origin makes this
list [RFC-Interest] the correct list to discuss that draft document.
Further, the discussion includes how RFCs (not all of which are IETF RFCs)
might cite Internet-Drafts, which is also clearly within scope for
this list.

The document at most contains advice from the committee -- it is literally
a "committee report".  The document does not by itself, even if published
as an RFC in its current form, actually change anything.  It just offers 

Now, the IETF might or might not choose to take the one or two bits of 
advice (e.g. rephrase "Work in Progress" to "Working Draft") in the draft 
that might apply to the IETF.  The process via which the IETF makes such a 
decision (or doesn't) is the usual IETF process.  Neither the draft document 
nor the committee make any pretense otherwise.

The discussion here can help ensure that the committee report is clear 
and that no major issue was overlooked by the committee.  That does 
"save time and effort later", if the IETF (or some other party) chooses 
to consider the draft's advice -- because it helps ensure that the context 
and the precise recommendations are both clear to a reader of the final document.

So, discussing the draft document here in its entirety is sensible, IMHO.  


Ran Atkinson

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