[rfc-i] draft-iab-rfc-editor-model-00

John Klensin john+rfc at jck.com
Wed Oct 22 11:07:21 PDT 2008


Thanks for the careful response.

I think I can most efficiently comment on drafts rather than on
the many intertwined threads on this list, so will mostly wait
for your  -02.   In the interim, I think several of these change
(most importantly the new name, even though it is not the only I
would have chosen, and clearing up of the "single individual"
confusion) are major steps in the right direction.

One or two comments below that may be helpful in the interim.

--On Wednesday, 22 October, 2008 16:37 +0200 Olaf Kolkman
<olaf at NLnetLabs.nl> wrote:

>> I really cannot comment on this in a way that you are likely
>> to find useful given your assumptions and plans.  I continue
>> to believe that the 4333 process, applied to this sort of
>> task, virtually guarantees selection of someone who does not
>> understand the task by a group of people whose qualifications
> I am sympathetic to your argument but I don't have an
> alternative. So, this is a point where I hope that version 2
> will clarify as much as possible by allowing the IAB and IAOC
> to be assisted by subject matter experts but without
> introducing a new body or structure.

We have discussed the outlines of an alternative that involved
strengthening the Editorial Board, treating it as a
semi-autonomous subsidiary of the IAB (somewhat like the way the
IRTF is treated), and giving it the key role in selecting the
Independent Submission Editor/ Reviewer/ Approver subject to
some advice and consent process involving the IAB and/or IAOC.
The IAB may not like that suggestion, and it certainly has
drawbacks.  But, since I think we agree that the current
proposed plan has drawbacks too, let's not pretend that it must
be chosen and accepted because there are no plausible
alternatives to it.

> Either we fare blind and we end up in a situation where the
> decision is a beauty contest, or the IAB and the IAOC find
> external expertise, are aware of the above pitfalls, and make
> an informed decision. I think the latter is the best choice
> between evils in absence of an alternative.

See above about alternatives.

> One of the issues that I read between the lines of your
> response is that the IAOC might blindly select the lowest
> bidder ant that that may cause all kind of ugliness. I thought
> it was well understood that the IAOC (and the IAB for that
> matter) do not take price as the only consideration and that
> the quality of work, understanding of the process as well as
> continuity (basically all IETF interests) are all factors that
> are important when a vendor for a service is selected.

Actually, that is well-understood, at least by me.  I'm worried
about two other problems, both of which have been raised by
others in different language:

* I share the concern that others have expressed that this model
and document may be the last serious opportunity that the
community gets to review or influence this process.  The IAOC
has, of necessity, the right to assert that something is part of
a contractual process and to drop the curtain of secrecy over
it.  Because of that, and because I do not believe that the IAOC
should be making policy, I'd like to have as many of the
fundamental issues in this area as possible sorted out before
handoff to the IAOC.    This does not imply any distrust of the
IAOC, only a belief that this model is the responsibility of the
IAB and the Community and that throwing something over the fence
to the IAOC with big and important pieces left out is just
inappropriate.  As I a different aspect of the same issue, my
experience with contracting says that having all sorts of
criteria that are not explicit in RFPs and similar documents is
just an invitation to trouble: whether that trouble manifests
itself as hurt feelings, a sense of unfairness, or an outbreak
of lawyers doesn't appear to me to make much difference... the
problem should just be avoided.

* While I certainly do not expect anything to be done "blind", I
continue to be concerned that the IAB and IAOC do not have the
expertise to select these positions, do the job, or evaluate
comments and suggestions from others about what is necessary.
Eyes open, best of intentions, etc., are no more an adequate
substitute  for knowledge and experience than they would in
protocol design.  And, again and especially because the costs of
a bad decision could be very severe indeed, I'm nervous about
any more of this being done in the dark than is absolutely


More information about the rfc-interest mailing list