[rfc-i] My comments on http://www.ietf.org/id/draft-kowack-rfc-editor-model-v2-00.txt

Andrew Sullivan ajs at shinkuro.com
Thu Nov 18 05:58:32 PST 2010

On Wed, Nov 17, 2010 at 09:37:15PM -0800, Dave CROCKER wrote:

> His mandate was to formulate recommendations, but now he's being told to  
> formulate a transcription of his thinking.  Different task.

Well, then, why in the world should we even bother commenting?  We
have recommendations.  According to you, we're done, no?  Why am I
wasting my time on this?

> That's the part that is strange.  It is not as if any of us lack 
> experience within this community or especially with the RFC process.  
> Apparently a tutorial is needed about the RFC Editor, for those reviewing 
> the proposal?

It's fun to put up straw people to knock them down, but where I went
to school it was also a fallacy.  I won't speak for others, but I'm
not asking for a tutorial.  I don't have intimate knowledge of the RFC
Editor's job, and I can easily imagine that there are plenty of
details that need to be in a job description (there are such details
in the existing draft) but for which I don't have any context in which
to make a judgement.  If I make a recommendation about a course of
action, it is just automatic that I would have a reason why.  That's
all I, personally, am asking for.  And Glenn is in the happy position
of having spent a year doing a job about which he is making a
recommendation -- exactly the basis on which the recommendations were
to be developed, as I understood things.  But perhaps you're right and
reasons are not needed.  That'd be good, because it would free up the
time I'm spending on this particular penance for my many sins, since
there wouldn't be anything to review.

> Does the proposal specify functions that are unfamiliar?  Do you think 
> those functions do not need to be performed or that they should be 
> performed elsewhere?

I think you will find that I sent a message to this list while we were
still in Beijing which argued that that distinction is where the
fundamental issue is.  In that message, I suggested that _if_ we
accept the broad construction, then the particular recommendations in
the draft were (to me) more or less good enough.

I still don't know what to think about the broad/narrow choice.  I
will tell you that finger-wagging, accusatory (not to say
condescending) messages to the list make me feel like my initial
impulse to put my head under the covers was the right one.

> This is an on-going service.  Problems arise, but the "problem" the RFC 
> Editor is to "solve" is production of RFCs, archiving them, and making 
> them available to the community.  The other "problem" is looking for 
> opportunities and requirements for enhancements. What other sort of 
> problems are you thinking should be cited and solved?

That is a useful additional way to think about the broad and narrow
constructions.  The second "problem" you list there is in fact part of
what's up for debate: is the RSE a job that has that function?  Does
someone need to do it, and if so, is the RSE the right person?  As I
have previously suggested, the draft (or the summary, whatever it is
we're supposed to be talking about) could be very much enhanced by
saying _anything at all_ to justify the view that the RSE is in fact
the right person for this.  Leslie pointed out in this thread that the
recommendation about opportunities and "outreach" in the draft as it
stands is a potentially large sink of resources.  I think it could
take all the RSE's time.  It strikes me that that part of the job
could easily swallow the production-of-RFCs function, and that is at
the very least worrisome.

I hope this makes my perspective clear.  I understand that there is to
be a new draft in the future.  I will read it.  I don't expect to have
much more to say about the topic until it comes out (although if Glenn
wants clarification about anything I've said, he is welcome to contact


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at shinkuro.com
Shinkuro, Inc.

More information about the rfc-interest mailing list