[rfc-i] a possible refinement to draft-iab-rfc-editor-model

SM sm at resistor.net
Wed Mar 25 06:54:07 PDT 2009

Hi Leslie,
At 11:29 20-03-2009, Leslie Daigle wrote:
>This is some text I've been batting around to try to address some of the
>issues that came up on rfc-interest in mid-January, about empowering the
>RFC Series Editor so that they can enforce some level of consistency
>across the pieces of the model, and providing enough support to make
>that real.

The refinement is an interesting read as it tries to identify the 
problem areas.

>While some of that can clearly be a good thing, figuring out what is
>good, and what is random is going to be hard, and we're currently
>looking at the backpressure coming from only:
>      . the IAD (who has one or 2 other things to do, too)
>      . the IAB (which is not an operational decision-making body)
>      . the document (draft-iab-rfc-editor-model) -- which is subject
>        to interpretation
>      . community comments  (directed where, exactly?)

I'll commenting on the last item.  Up to now, the discussion has been 
centered around the IAB and the number of bits to use in the RFC 
Editor model.  There hasn't been any discussion about a mechanism for 
community input.  What we have, in my opinion, is a publisher for the 
RFC Series answerable to the IAB only.  One might argue that this is 
work in progress and that is room for refinement once the bits are 
aligned in flying formation.  There has been a semblance of a 
discussion (on another mailing list) a week or so ago about the RFC 
Editor.  There is a lack of transparency, or should I say lack of 
communication, in the operations of the RFC Editor.  This may suit 
our purposes for now.

The community needs more information about the operations of the RFC 
Editor for them to be able to comment.  Otherwise, we will only see 
gripes when someone is unhappy about a decision of the RFC 
Editor.  The IETF Community, for example, uses mailing lists for 
discussion and to interact with various bodies.  There are generally 
request for comments before decisions are taken.  I don't think that 
the model of "talk to the IAB and it will talk to the RFC Editor" is 
a good one.  That seems to be the current model if we take the debate 
about the "Abstract" as an example.  That's certainly not a policy 
decision in my opinion.

>The Proposal
>If the missing piece is the container function, let's put it back into
>draft-iab-rfc-editor-model.  Leave all the 4 functions (mostly) as they
>are, but introduce the RFC Editor Function (or Framework) committee as
>the focal point for binding them together, and populate it with living
>people, not an inanimate document.
>Specifically:  The RFC Editor Framework is a committee chartered by the
>IAB to oversee the interpretation and evolution of the RFC Series (as
>defined in RFC4844).  This takes the place of one of the advisory
>committees described in draft-iab-rfc-editor-model.  This committee
>"holds the flame" of the RFC Series, providing interpretation of the
>current definition, indicating when current implementation is in need of
>improvement, and invoking appropriate community discussion when change
>is needed.  It provides consistency and constancy of the RFC Series
>interpretation over time, and is a resource for the IAD in setting and
>managing contracts. It is responsible to the IAB:  any of its decisions
>are appealable to the committee and then to the IAB.  [I'm having a hard
>time really imagining WHAT decisions it will make, let alone why they
>would be appealable, but it seems important to specify].    The
>committee provides guidance to the RSE, who in turn provides guidance to
>the IAD for any decisions with contractual implications for the ISE,
>Production House, or Publisher.

Will the IAB or the RFC Editor Framework be responsible for the 
"consistency and continuity" of the RFC Series?

Is the IAB agreeable to devolve some of its powers to the RFC Editor 
Framework when it comes to policy decisions?


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