[rfc-i] Public face for the RFC series

Paul Hoffman paul.hoffman at vpnc.org
Tue Jan 20 18:18:53 PST 2009

At 1:28 PM -0500 1/20/09, Russ Housley wrote:
>Right now, the person that discovers a problem sends an email to
>rfc-editor at rfc-editor.org and it is routed within the staff to the
>proper person to resolve the concern.  I hope this remains the

If it does remain the case, then all mail to rfc-editor at rfc-editor.org needs to also go to the RSE, given that someone sending mail to that address will expect a response from the public face.

>The RFC Publisher is the (back office) function that runs the
>web site on behalf of all aspects of the RFC Editor operation.  I
>think the exchange with Brian, Bob, and myself was about making this
>relationship clear.  Do you disagree with the "exercises
>executive-level management" outcome of that discussion?

No, not at all. However, that discussion now has ramifications on the RFPs. Currently, the SOW for the RSE has no tools development; it is all done in the SOWs for the producition house and the publisher. A bidder on one of those latter two roles will have a hard time estimating how much to bid on tools for which there is someone else who has executive-level management.

For example, if the RSE says to the publisher "your search tool stinks, you need to prime the search engine with lots of human-culled phrases", that is a large cost that might not have been predicted by the publisher. On the other hand, if the publisher refuses and the IASA agrees that this was not anticipated, the RSE looks bad because the search tool for which he/she is the public face will stink for a few years.

At 8:16 PM +0100 1/20/09, Olaf Kolkman wrote:
>An RSE that "exercises executive-level management" would be empowered to take the steps necessary to make sure there are processes in place to deal with these sort of issues.

Fully agree. However, he/she has no budget to do so: that budget was negotiated with the production house and publisher.

There are a few ways out of this:

- In the RFI/RFP, move the tool creation and deployment out of SOWs for the production house and publisher and into the RSE

- Say in the RSE's SOW that the RSE's executive-level management of tools may be limited if the production house and/or publisher do not bid sufficient amounts to create tools of adequate quality

- Remove the "public face" aspect of the RSE's job description

My personal preference would be the first, but the second and third are also viable and would work better under some assumptions of the funding model.

--Paul Hoffman, Director
--VPN Consortium

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