[rfc-i] [IAB] RFC Series Editor (RSE) Statement of Work

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Thu Aug 1 19:04:37 PDT 2019

On 02-Aug-19 09:04, Stephen Farrell wrote:
> Hiya,
> I have some feedback as an individual member of the
> community...
> On 15/07/2019 15:25, Sarah B wrote:
>> Hello, Attached is the RSE SOW intended for the upcoming RFP. You'll
>> find it very much inline with the previous SOW we sent out as part of
>> the RFP during the last iteration of this process. The RSOC is
>> requesting community feedback, and would like to run a 4 week
>> feedback period. That period starts today, July 15, and ends August
>> 15, 2019. Please direct your feedback to the RSOC directly.
> Since we did ask after the plenary to use this list, I'll
> send to here...
> If the hiring/search process starts now, I think there ought
> be some mention that the community are highly likely to be
> modifying rfc6635 in the next two years. My read of all the
> mails is that it seems to be an almost universally held opinion
> that some changes to 6635 are needed and timely, e.g. taking
> out the bit that pretends the RSE is somehow day-to-day
> "responsible" for the operation of the RPC. Of course there
> are very different opinions as to what changes to make but
> in any case I think all potential new RSEs should be told
> this up front.

Yes. I'd go for some deeper changes in the model than that, but
changes there must be and it will take some time to get there.

To be clear: I now regret greatly that the words in the IAB charter
did not make clear the autonomy and independence of the RFC Editor
function, which at the time we took completely for granted. I find
that is also lacking in RFC 5620 and 6635, as well as in RFC 4844.
IMHO that needs to be fixed.

> I'm honestly not sure myself if going ahead now and trying to
> find a new RSE for 2020-2022 and maybe more is a good or bad
> plan. I can see arguments for waiting 'till we're done with
> a 6635bis, for going ahead and involving a new RSE in 6635bis
> discussion and for trying to find someone to be acting RSE
> for a year or so while the 6635bis discussion happens. I'm
> also not clear that there's a community consensus on that
> question.

If whoever is chosen now is contracted or employed for two years
at a time, and they are told about the likelihood of change as you
say above, I don't think it matters much whether they are labelled
"acting" or not.

> (It'd be great if more people explicitly said which option
> they think ought be taken here for this question that needs
> an answer within a couple of weeks. IIUC the default will be
> to run the process as per 6635 as that's the only reasonable
> default I can see in the absence of consensus for something
> else.)

I agree; it's the best we've got and incidentally it got us a
very good RSE last time. I think enough has been said about the
kind of publishing professional we need and the sort of search
& selection procedure that worked so well last time.

> If I were forced to choose between one of the three options
> from the para 2 above this, I think I'd very weakly go for
> trying to get a new RSE now who is willing to be involved
> in the 6635bis work. 


> (My initial preference was for an
> acting RSE but very very few of the sensible people I chatted
> to about this in Montreal seemed to like that.)
> Other than that, reflecting on some of the other mails, my
> personal feedback to RSOC is:
> - please do considering a search committee made up of people
> that you hope will be acceptable to those with all shades of
> opinion as to the RSE position and the current situation (if
> they exist and are gullible enough to say yes to you;-)
> - as previously stated in the threads about RSE-as-employee,
> please do not restrict yourself to searching for a new RSE
> from locations with some specific (e.g. US-style) employment
> law - finding the best person and not trying to pick based
> on a preferred contractual arrangement is what I hope you do
> - perhaps consider adding something to the statement of work
> (or whatever you publicise) to the effect that the RFC series
> has been on the go for 50 years and we'd like it to continue
> for some decades more (so long as interesting material keeps
> turning up to publish) and that such a long term focus is
> part of the RSE role in 6635 and is extremely likely to be
> part of the role in future too
> - unless you're going for the acting RSE approach, please do
> not encourage applications from members of the IETF community
> as I think we don't want an RFC author for the RSE role but
> rather a series editor and those are IMO quite different things
> (there may be a couple of RFC authors who could be a good RSE,
> but I'd bet there are many more who'd wrongly-think that they
> could be a good RSE, so it'd be good to not have to deal with
> those folks if you can think of a nice way to discourage them:-)

Yes to all that.

I made some specific comments on the text of the SoW at the end
of this message:


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