[rfc-i] insufficient engagement on draft-iab-rfc-editor-model-00

Aaron Falk falk at bbn.com
Tue Oct 21 11:35:43 PDT 2008

On Oct 20, 2008, at 5:07 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:

> I think it's really not vague enough, in that it doesn't
> explicitly allow the IAOC to vary the model in the light of
> experience. My bet is that as an RFI/RFP process takes place,
> the IAOC will definitely need to adjust the model.

Hi Brian-

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.  The document is mostly inoffensive  
but the problematic specifics that are being removed (such as the  
responsibility/authority mismatch of the RFC Editor role) will need to  
be sorted out.  It's not clear to me that this will be easier in a  
smaller group representing less interest/expertise (as you accurately  
point out) than this list.  What's really provoking my anxiety is that  
the process is about to go mostly opaque once it moves into the IAOC's  
hands.  And as John points out:

> If you are expecting the IAOC to write an RFP, these issues need
> to be nailed down sufficiently that the community understands
> what it is agreeing to; otherwise, the IAB is delegating
> authority to a body whose work (since this is part of
> contracting) may be largely secret.

I think this might fixable through more frequent interactions with,  
say, this list as specifics get defined.  But once this becomes a  
contracting issue I doubt that the flexibility will there to have an  
open discussion on the structure.

Also regarding:

>> ps. While the contract duration hasn't been discussed yet, I don't
>> know if or when there will be an opportunity to provide input.  So,
>> let me add that IMO re-competing the contract every two years is just
>> insane. I think it will take at least that long for any new performer
>> to learn how to do the job well.  So, we should be prepared to live
>> with the results of this process for some time.
> That's a good point, but of course if you do switch to a new
> contractor, you *must* have an early way out in case of disaster.
> A two year contract with straightforward renewal is a painless way
> to construct that emergency exit.

I completely agree.  The difference is between my phrase "re-compete"  
and yours "contract renewal".  Committing to re-compete the award in  
two years seems foolish.  However, having the *option* to cancel (& re- 
compete) the contract at, say, two years seems prudent.  As Bob points  
out it is a non-trivial effort to propose for a role like this but,  
more importantly, I think we run the risk of yanking the effort out of  
a (non-disaster) new provider just as they are getting the hang of the  


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