[rfc-i] community member or not Re: [IAB] RFC Series Editor (RSE) Statement of Work

Michael StJohns msj at nthpermutation.com
Fri Aug 2 10:26:57 PDT 2019

On 8/2/2019 11:30 AM, Leslie Daigle wrote:
> Replying to just one point in this, as I am still trying to chew 
> through the larger problem:
>> - 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
> This didn’t fit Jon Postel.  Nor did it fit Bob Braden or Joyce 
> Reynolds.  All were IETF community members.

Jon/Bob/Joyce preceded the community, and were a big influence on how 
the community came to be formed.  As such, they were somewhat immune to 
what the community would write down about the RFC series "must"s.  Then 
there's the "inventing the job" thing that Jon and Bob and Joyce did, 
and the further refinement of "publisher" not "RFC Author" that Heather 

None of these three were typical RFC authors - most of what they were 
credited as authors for (according to the RFC Editor search function) 
were related to their other jobs (IANA, RFC Editor). Bob was probably 
the closest to a typical RFC author with his interest in diffserv, rsvp 
and related protocols.

> I could ask if your point is a reflection on the IETF community being 
> less luminary than it used to be.

There is some of that, but it's probably more that the skillsets don't 
match up.   With the one exception of Ole J (and of course excluding the 
RSE and ISE), I'm not sure anyone currently involved in the IETF as an 
RFC author has series editing/publishing experience. I would expect that 
a few have book or special publication editing experience, but I'm not 
sure how well those might translate.

> But, ISTM that part of the larger problem is that we’re trying to 
> “hire expertise”, that both understands our universe and brings in 
> some level of external subject matter experience and expertise, which 
> is good.  But then we, (for we == leadership, at least) treat them 
> like staff, not community.

I think we need to prioritize expertise over knowledge of our universe.  
I'm pretty sure (worked example == Heather) that we anyone we choose for 
the role that understands publishing can eventually be made to 
understand publishing RFCs.

Later, Mike

> I have (many) more thoughts on that theme, but will stop there, for 
> now, and see what people think.
> Leslie.

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