[rfc-i] citing historic internet drafts

RFC Editor rfc-editor at rfc-editor.org
Fri Oct 31 12:36:52 PDT 2008

Hi Julian,

We suggest that you include your annotations in the acknowledgments
section (instead of their presence in the references section, without
specifying draft strings).  This is much more in line with
previously published RFCs that want to acknowlege previous works. 

For example (from RFC 4719)

9.  Acknowledgements

   This RFC evolved from the document, "Ethernet Pseudo Wire Emulation
   Edge-to-Edge".  We would like to thank its authors, T.So, X.Xiao,
   L. Anderson, C. Flores, N. Tingle, S. Khandekar, D. Zelig and
   G. Heron for their contribution.  We would also like to thank
   S. Nanji, the author of "Ethernet Service for Layer Two Tunneling
   Protocol", for writing the first Ethernet over L2TP document.

We are happy to document a new policy regarding expired
internet-drafts if one arises from this discussion.  But, unless the
IAB declares consensus that some other process has been adopted, we
will continue to follow current procedures.  Again, this decision is
not one that the RFC Editor can make unilaterally, as it a policy
change that impacts all future RFCs.  Please note that we are not
"against" making a change to the policy, but we want to make sure it
is a change that we can live with for years to come.

A few comments regarding including URLs to specific documents hosted
at www.webdav.org...

- We typically cut links to specific I-Ds from any document; this is
common practice for the RFC Editor.  This is why it was originally
deleted from the references section.  We can leave the more
general link to www.webdav.org if that is your preference.

- Possibly, if URLs of Internet-Drafts were included in RFCs, then
there should be consensus on what is the "official" archive of I-Ds.
We imagine it could be tools.ietf.org.  However, while it appears that
the Tools team permanently archives all I-Ds, (as far as I can
remember) there has never been a formal decision/announcement that
I-Ds were going to be permanently archived.

Please send us your comments/questions.



On Tue, Oct 21, 2008 at 11:28:16PM +0200, Julian Reschke wrote:
> RFC Editor wrote:
> >>I really like to understand *what* kind of URLs you dislike -- ones  
> >>containing the original "draft-" string? That's fixable in this  
> >>case (as I have write access to webdav.org).
> >
> >We dislike too specific URLs, which are much less likely to be stable  
> >than
> >the generic root URLs.  Readers can be expected to apply some  
> >intelligence, given
> >the general neighborhood; the URLs don't have to be  one-click.  The  
> >URL I
> >gave above is still pretty specific; www.webdav.org should be  
> >sufficient, I
> >would think, but I don't want to argue that point.
> Well.
> If the URL doesn't point to the document itself, it's not really a 
> citation. The text would need to be rephrased to say something like 
> "archived documents can be found around <....>".
> But then I'm still not sure how this is better. If the URL in question 
> gets invalid, pointing people to the parent collection is unlikely to 
> help (it's not there anymore, after all).
> So I'd really prefer if the RFC Editor trusted the judgement of the 
> author with respect to this, in particular if the document has passed 
> IETF review and was approved by the IESG the way it is.
> >>>>>This is another case of a draft that clearly is not work in  
> >>>>>progress: the spec that references it
> >>>Wasn't it in progress in July 1999?
> >>Yes, it was.
> >
> >So "work in progress" in the citation to a 1999 document is actually  
> >logical.
> >
> >>So is it allowed to both say "work in progress", and then add an  
> >>annotation (xml2rfc <annotation> element) that gives more details?
> >
> >XML2RFC is just a tool.  The issue is what is in the final text.
> That doesn't answer my question. Are annotations in the citations an 
> acceptable way to add more information, such as stating that the 
> document was abandoned, and where an archival copy is available?
> >In the case of independent submissions, when questions of derivation  
> >arise, we ask the
> >authors to spell it out explicitly in the text, not depend upon some  
> >inferences from the
> >format of the references.  We don't have control over IETF documents  
> >in this regard,
> >of course.
> In this particular case it is spelled out in the text.
> I do understand that there are rules that the RFC Editor follows, but it 
> seems it would be good if these rules (in this case: how to cite 
> historic Internet Drafts, and what kind of URLs are being accepted) 
> would be written down, so that conflicts with it could be catched 
> earlier on.
> BR, Julian

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