[rfc-i] Titles for divided reference sections in non-standards track documents

Barry Leiba barryleiba at computer.org
Sat May 31 09:41:51 PDT 2014

As Elwyn knows, this comes partly from comments of mine on a recent
document that the IESG evaluated.  The document was Informational and
had only Informative References, and the shepherd writeup said, under
the appropriate question, "This is an informational document, and so
has no normative references."

I can't tell you how many documents I've reviewed as an AD that were
just like that, often with the same or a similar note in the shepherd
writeup.  I try to always comment on it (I don't make them DISCUSS;
perhaps I should), and to ask the authors to tease out the most
important references and make them normative -- especially if the
overall list of references is long.

Elwyn's trying to address this in a way that will make authors,
shepherds, and chairs less likely to misunderstand the situation --
less likely to say that Informational documents don't have normative

If no one else thinks that changing the titles of the sections will
help, perhaps someone can suggest another way.  Training might help;
perhaps an IESG statement would help.  I really prefer not waiting
until IESG Evaluation and a comment by an AD for the references to be
properly split.


On Fri, May 30, 2014 at 7:35 PM, Elwyn Davies <elwynd at folly.org.uk> wrote:
> On Fri, 2014-05-30 at 18:48 -0400, Joel M. Halpern wrote:
>> I have learned to interpret "Normative" references in all our
>> specifications as meaning "needing to be understood to understand (or
>> implement, or similar usage) this RFC."  That seems to apply equally
>> well as a meaning for references in Informational or Experimental documents.
>> Sorry, not seeing the problem,
>> Joel
> With my Gen-art hat on, I would say that the fact that IETF insiders
> understand why a non-standards track document has a "Normative
> References" doesn't help people who are picking up documents with little
> or no prior exposure to IETF culture.
> A small change to make our documents more user friendly.
> /Elwyn
>> On 5/30/14, 6:39 PM, Elwyn Davies wrote:
>> >
>> > A large proportion of informational documents do not describe protocols.  As I said some do and normative would be appropriate there.
>> >
>> > /Elwyn
>> >
>> >
>> > Sent from my ASUS Pad
>> >
>> > Julian Reschke <julian.reschke at gmx.de> wrote:
>> >
>> >> On 2014-05-30 23:00, Elwyn Davies wrote:
>> >>> Seriously?  Well, it's misleading because it has a different meaning.  Its good to have precision.
>> >>
>> >> I disagree that it has a different meaning. Informative and Experimental
>> >> RFCs still describe protocols, even if we don't call them "IETF
>> >> standards". These protocols have normative parts, no?
>> >>
>> >>> We got normative by default after we stopped requiring undivided references in informational documents.
>> >>>
>> >>> /Elwyn
>> >>
>> >> Best regards, Julian
>> >>
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