[rfc-i] Updating one paragraph of RFC 2026 to reflect current practice

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Fri May 29 14:47:45 PDT 2015


Citing IDs is no different than citing tech reports. Some are
half-baked, some aren't baked at all, some end up being de-facto
references for a very long time (one of my highest-ranked citations is a
tech report on virtual Internets).

The difference between an ID and an RFC is the publication process. Some
experience a higher level of vetting (which is good), some experience a
higher level of distortion (which isn't). But an RFC carries the stamp
of an organization (the ISOC), even when it's an individual submission.

IDs don't.

That's the only difference, and that's already indicated in the name of
the doc.


On 5/29/2015 2:40 PM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> Hi,
> On Fri, May 29, 2015 at 04:55:20PM -0400, Scott O. Bradner wrote:
>> seems to me that referring to a specific version is quite important - the feature that the document assumes
>> is in the ID (and is referring the reader to) may get removed in later versions
>> an history aside - the language in 2026 comes from the deal done to start the internet draft concept - it would be OK only
>> if there IDs basically were never considered “real” documents 
>> that was a long  time ago and well overtaken by events
> So, here is the difficulty I have with all of this.
> At the moment, we have one document series.  It's an archival series,
> and when the content of a document that has a particular function
> changes, we give it a new identifier.  This feature is what makes it
> an archival series.  You identify the particular version of the
> document you want with its archival-series identifier.  (This is,
> interestingly, a reason why one should not actually use the BCP or STD
> numbers in the references: they're not guaranteed stable over time.)
> If we make a change such that we acknowledge the actual permanence of
> I-Ds and start identifying particular versions of them, then in effect
> we are reproducing the archival series feature of the RFC series.  It
> seems to me then that this will encourage the already-existing
> lamentable practice of referring to I-Ds as "draft RFCs" and also will
> tend to encourage ossification of protocol designs even earlier in the
> practice.  That is, if you can refer to a particular version of an I-D
> and say you implemented that one, one will then have much stronger
> arguments during protocol development that there's all this deployed
> code out there so the protocol can't change.  If we can make such
> specific references, why can't RFPs?  And so on.
> The upshot of all of this, AFAICT, is that it turns the I-Ds (which
> are now officially an archival document series) into an alternative
> publication mechanism for RFCs -- particularly Independent Submission
> stream RFCs, which get little more IETF vetting than many I-Ds.
> Now, this might all be entailed by the fact that we started permitting
> references to I-Ds.  But if we're going to make this change, I think
> it is something that the whole community ought to discuss.  It seems
> like it has big implications.
> Best regards,
> Andrew (in case there's any doubt, speaking only as an individual)

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