[rfc-i] Thoughts on the Independent Stream

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Sat Oct 22 12:39:58 PDT 2011


On 2011-10-23 03:47, Eric Burger wrote:
> The ONLY work product of the IETF is an RFC.  Independent Submissions dilute the RFC brand. 

I must confess to having thoughts like this in the past, including up to
the time when I became an IESG member. I was especially sensitised
to the issue of end-runs. Indeed, I still regard RFC 1597 as a historic
(in the true sense of the word) and disastrous end-run.

However, I have become strongly persuaded that Independent Submissions,
protected as they now are against being end-runs, are a vital part
of our checks and balances. The IETF as a whole, and both the IESG
and the IAB in particular, are at constant risk of becoming arrogant
and of falling into group-think errors (exactly what we accuse other
SDOs of from time to time). The Independent Submissions mechanism
is an important weapon against this human failing.

Marketing departments will misuse IETF-stream RFCs too, given half
a chance. Independent submissions are a drop in the ocean, and can
be quite successful as de facto standards. Do you think that the
formal status of RFC 2516 matters, for example?

Fact: we don't pay the ISE except some travel expenses. Neither do
we pay the ISE's reviewers.

Disclosure: I work in the same department as the ISE and I'm one of
the unpaid reviewers.

For the record: I support draft-iab-ise-model.


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