[rfc-i] On Authors, Contributors, Editors, and overload.

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Tue Sep 20 11:06:15 PDT 2011


A note below...

On 9/20/2011 10:56 AM, Fred Baker wrote:
>
> On Sep 20, 2011, at 2:47 AM, Olaf Kolkman (Acting RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>
>> * Contributing Authors
>>
>>   An RFC may include a Contributing Authors section, listing those
>>   contributors who deserve significant credit for the document
>>   contents.
>
> ...
>
>> * Contributors
>>
>>   As an alternative to the strict-format "Contributing Authors"
>>   section RFC writers may opt to use a Contributors section. The
>>   Contributors section may contain free floating text and is also
>>   intended to credit major contributors to the content.
>>
>> * Acknowledgements
>>
>>   The body of an RFC may include an Acknowledgements section. An
>>   Acknowledgments section may explain scope and nature of
>>   contributions. It may also specify affiliations.
>
> Thanks for doing this. I think it's helpful.

Agreed.

> I note the "MAY" on the "Contributing Authors" section. That seems
> as it should be; if folks really really want to have one, they won't
> get their hands slapped for including it.
>
> I do scratch my head on the rationale for the "Contributing Authors"
> section, however, given the existence of the "Contributors" section that
> the editor has the option of formatting identically.

I think this evolved out of a few different paths:

	- a perceived need to strictly adhere to the 5-author rule
	- authorship issues that arise when documents are merged or
	the result of large design teams

AFAICT:

Acks are to provide credit to those who gave feedback, or for specific 
ideas - for those who did not contribute extended text.

Contributors are to provide credit for those who contribute extended 
text, as is often the case with large FAQs or BCPs.

Contributing Authors is a cookie to those who were left off the Author 
list due to a process issue.

For those of us who can go to IETFs regardless of how many drafts we do 
or don't write, this may seem unimportant. However, others sometimes 
need to point to something more than "contributor" to justify travel to 
their organizations. Including contact info there is more than a matter 
of POC; it may be what the supporting organizations expects as a 'nod' 
to their authorizing travel.

It seems a useful distinction where documents decide it's necessary, but 
otherwise harmless to the overall process AFAICT.

Joe


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