[rfc-i] RSE role

Fred Baker fred at cisco.com
Wed Jan 19 14:29:53 PST 2011

Thanks for these thoughts, Ted. Yes, I would agree that if we are going to hire someone to be a publisher, hiring someone with that expertise makes sense; while our community has issues we will have to train him or her on, the expertise is more valuable than the grasp of the particular issues. If doing so materially changed things, I could imagine our community changing; it has over the past two decades, and with leadership could go in an improved direction. But an RSE that lacked the expertise to chart such a direction would be a poor leader.

On Jan 19, 2011, at 11:54 AM, Ted Hardie wrote:

> Some comments in-line.
> On Wed, Jan 19, 2011 at 6:28 AM, Russ Housley <housley at vigilsec.com> wrote:
>> Glenn:
>>> there are many, many aspects of RFC Editor and RSE work that depend upon expertise in editorial and publications techniques
>> You keep saying this, and I remain unconvinced.
>> I have said this to you in less public places, and I am now repeating it in this very public place.  From my perspective, the most important role of the RSE is cross-stream coordination and policy.  The policy portion involves leading discussions with the whole community, and this can best be done by a respected member of the community.
> So, I think the key point here is that cross-stream coordination role
> that the RSE has is specific to editorial and publications points,
> since content has been explicitly ruled out.  Leading discussions on
> those points actually requires pretty significant expertise with them,
> or the policy that's returned may be unimplementable and/or way out of
> the mainstream.
> Ideal from at least my perspective is someone who has both that
> experience and IETF experience, but that's a pretty limited set and
> the number of hours/pay may well make it the null set.  So we're left
> with the question:  is it easier to grow a member of the community in
> this domain, or easier to get someone with this domain knowledge to
> build a reputation inside the community?  As long as we're clear that
> we want the intersection at the end of the day, I think we can reach
> this point, but it will take time either way.
> My personal take is that absent the ideal case, it will be better to
> hire someone with publication experience and grow their knowledge of
> the community they will serve.  The risk in the other direction is
> that we will have a respected member of the community who becomes
> increasingly familiar with the way we already do publication, with
> little to know exposure to how others do it.  That might limit our
> ability to evolve the series to meet new needs.
> To take a small example:  I've suggested in the past that we provide
> translations of the boilerplate in the RFCs to eliminate a hurdle to
> providing translated specs (something we permit and might choose to
> encourage).  Having limited outside experience in this, I have no clue
> whether this is common or perceived as a good idea by other technical
> publications.  There are some obvious policy issues (does the legal
> boilerplate need review by international lawyers as well as
> translators?), but there are also some production issues:  if we
> provide it in plain text files is that enough?  Do we need to provide
> templates or tools for this to be useful?  What are the costs to
> maintain these as we update our boilerplate etc?  (If the answer is we
> need to provide CSS and HTML snippets because everyone else uses that,
> we have one cost; if everyone who wants to provide this uses a
> different tool, the cost will be higher).
> I don't want to rathole on the proposal, but to highlight that there
> are elements even in that relatively simple piece where
> editing/publishing experience in a reasonably comparable series would
> be useful.  Harald used to say "A pair of data beats a full house of
> supposition", and I think experience does the same--and the relevant
> experience hear covers both the policy question and the actual
> production.  The editor/publisher experience is a demonstration that
> they know how policy matches to implementation, and implementation
> remains a pretty important point to all our work.
> best regards,
> Ted Hardie
>> To me, expertise and experience with editing an publications is _much_ less important.  So much less that it does not even make the radar screen in comparison.
>> Russ
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