[rfc-i] Representation to the community and rest of the world

Dave CROCKER dhc2 at dcrocker.net
Sat Nov 27 18:48:36 PST 2010

On 11/27/2010 5:27 PM, Andrew Sullivan wrote:
> On Sat, Nov 27, 2010 at 11:09:00AM -0800, Paul Hoffman wrote:
>> We have few significant liaisons to implementers. Note that I say that as
>> the primary liaison to the IPsec implementation community. Way fewer than
>> half of VPNC's members are in the least bit active in the IETF. The same is
>> certainly true for many other areas of implementation. They are often
>> genuinely surprised when a new RFC that directly impacts their products is
>> issued.
> This is a case where we collectively are doing a poor job of engaging the
> implementation community.  I am not even a little convinced that it is the
> RSE's job to explain to implementers what the IETF is, but it is not hard to
> imagine the above being used as scope creep for the RSE job.  I don't think
> that's what you intended, I'm just pointing out a hazard.

Right.  It's not the job of anyone in the RFC shop to explain content, nor for 
that matter to explain the IETF (for any of the various definitions of "IETF").

On the other hand, as an on-going document series, RFCs represent a "packaging" 
of information that is often misunderstood or entirely missed.  A small example 
used to be the failure to consult RFCs when doing patent research.  It could 
reasonably be a task of the RSE to do the kind of outreach that remedies this.

>> The trade press used to be the liaison to the IT community, but it has
>> mostly folded. The number of reporters who know diddly squat about IETF
>> activities can be counted on one hand.
> This is probably true, but it runs perilously close to suggesting that the
> RSE ought to be responsible for highlighting important _content_ of the RFC
> series to the IT community.  I think that is not the RSE's job.  But
> explaining how RFCs might relate to one another could be. See below.


>> A few other SDOs are actively represented in the IETF, but the homegate BoF
>> alone showed that many SDOs whose technologies rely on RFCs know anything
>> about the RFC series or process.
> This is just a liason failure, I say, and really really not the job of the
> RSE to fix.

While liaisons can and do provide some education to their target groups, I'm not 
sure we can expect them to be fully expert about RFCs as a series.  Most people 
have very limited understanding of the broader view of RFCs.

In addition, there are relevant groups for which there is no liaison.  While, 
again, the RSE isn't the one to do "IETF" education, they reasonably can do RFC 
Series education.

>> Again, all these can be somewhat alleviated by the RSE spending some time
>> reaching out to the RFC-using outside world to let them know how RFCs are
>> produced, how that world can participate in the process, and how that world
>> can keep up to date more easily.
> This part of the description actually doesn't sound dramatically different
> from what you were suggesting about explaining the different streams, above.
> I can certainly support this kind of thing, which could be sloganized as
> "Education and outreach about the nature of the Series itself" or something
> like that.




   Dave Crocker
   Brandenburg InternetWorking

More information about the rfc-interest mailing list