[rfc-i] RSE role

Craig Partridge craig at aland.bbn.com
Wed Jan 19 13:45:07 PST 2011


>> there are many, many aspects of RFC Editor and RSE work that depend upon expertise in editorial and publications techniques
>
> You keep saying this, and I remain unconvinced.
>
>I have said this to you in less public places, and I am now repeating it in this very public place.  From my perspective, the most important role of the RSE is cross-stream coordination and policy.  The policy portion involves leading discussions with the whole community, and this can best be done by a respected member of the community.
>
> To me, expertise and experience with editing an publications is _much_ less important.  So much less that it does not even make the radar screen in comparison.

Hi Russ:

So I'm one of the folks who has periodically said to Glenn and others that
editorial and publications expertise is useful.   That was shaped, in part,
by my personal experience as a journal editor but also, and more sharply, by
the process of trying to recruit an RSE.  Without sharing parts of the
process that need to remain confidential, we did get applications from folks
who came from other standards communities (communities that are vibrant like
the IETF and have standards that are widely used).  One of those applicants
(who eventually took another job and withdrew) was persuasive about the ways
the RFC process was not keeping up with good practices in standards work,
in terms of helping people implementing the standards ensure they were
reading and referencing the right documents (and a complete set) and in
terms of helping newcomers effectively use the standards stream.

It was a crisp reminder of what I learned as a journal editor -- that
about 1/3 one's time is spent on outward focused activities like
making sure that we were getting content from the right communities,
that new communities knew the journal existed, and publication format
(style standards) were kept up to date.  Another 1/3 was overseing basic
editorial stuff and 1/3 was about reviewing content.  Note that in the
streams model, the 1/3 about reviewing content goes away as does much of
the editorial stuff -- which suggests those outward looking things could
be about 1/2 of the RSE's job.

Now I agree Glenn's wording isn't perfect -- I would have said editorial
and publications *practices* rather than techniques.  But I think having
an insider who has little experience with editorial and publications
practices is a mistake.

Thanks!

Craig


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