[rfc-i] draft-iab-rfc-editor-model-v2-02 - policy authority

SM sm at resistor.net
Wed Jun 29 11:24:03 PDT 2011

Hi Joel,
At 08:47 29-06-2011, Joel M. Halpern wrote:
>The obverse question was raised in an earlier comment, which is why 
>there is a slight re-wording here.
>And I may well have gotten it wrong.
>I believe we agree that the first sentence you quote is the primary 
>intent, which is why I did not change that.

Ok.  I may revisit the question of primary intent again.

>The challenge which was raised is taht it is very hard for that 
>larger community to be fully consulted, and in particular it is very 
>hard for that larger community to be the "arbiter", since we have no 
>clean way to judge what it says.
>Nonetheless, the IAB and the RSE are supposed to consider those 
>larger interests.


>The previous wording lead to the thought that somehow the RSE / RSOC 
>/ IAB had to judge the agreement of the larger community as 
>arbiter.  That seems ineffective.

To say it differently, the persons responsible for determining 
whether there is agreement should be able to do it in a practical way.

>Can you suggest wording taht more strongly captures teh balance, 
>while being implementable?

I like to give some more thought to this and read the draft again 
before sending text.

Note to Dave: I am not sure whether my view intersects with your 
view.  It may not even be the "right" view.

The discussion about the RFC Editor model started in May 2008 in 
response to a message from the IAB [1].  The IETF Chair was asked to 
provide the IETF's view of the proposed RFC Editor model [2].  That's 
a way to solicit input from the various interested parties.  Most of 
people, if not all, posting to rfc-interest mailing list qualify as 
IETF participants.  In effect, this list is a subset of the IETF 
community.  That doesn't necessarily mean that the views posted here 
give precedence to the interests of the IETF.  It's more about 
balance and which hat you are wearing.

We [3] have seen during the discussions leading to RFC 5742 and RFC 
5744 that some people considered the independence of the RFC Editor 
as important.  It can be argued that once the IETF is made the final 
arbiter of policy, the next step would be to have the IESG judge the 
consensus.  In a distant future, people may not remember why the text 
was written in such a way and that may be viewed as a natural change.

The above comments does not resolve the question raised; i.e. somehow 
the RSE / RSOC / IAB had to judge the agreement of the larger 
community as arbiter.  Most Internet communities have their own 
mailing list where a determination of consensus, or agreement, is 
sought.  For practical reasons comments are made through one mailing 
list.  The RFC-interest mailing list is not representative of the 
Internet community.  I don't see how "we" can get everyone under one 
roof.  The lesser evil is to request comments from the IETF community 
(ietf@) which are posted to this mailing list and from anyone that 
wants to send comments to this mailing list (the person does not 
automatically become an IETF Contributor).  There is also some 
socialization with other Internet communities that has to be made.

If "we" want to be legalistic, we would stick to the wording of a RFC 
and reinterpret it based on what we aim to achieve.  If we want to 
gain widespread consensus, "we" need a body or RSE that can listen; 
and also one that knows what's going to be controversial.  For 
example, any discussion about ASCII is controversial. :-)  It would 
be great if the RSE can tell when he or she is being led to the slaughterhouse.

I'll leave this message unfurnished.  I welcome negative comments to 
the above.  I might bow to the current argument if there are enough 
negative comments. :-)


1. http://www.rfc-editor.org/pipermail/rfc-interest/2008-May/000581.html
2. http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/ietf-announce/current/msg05087.html
3. It's better to formulate an argument using the community as a 
third party as it might considered as presumptious for "we" to speak 
on behalf of the community.  It is simpler for me to use "we" than to 
find the appropriate wording and to avoid being flamed. 

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