[rfc-i] Thoughts on the Independent Stream

Eric Burger eburger at standardstrack.com
Tue Oct 25 06:29:22 PDT 2011

I will address most of the thoughtful comments as a reply to this message.  Thank you to everyone who took the time to respond.

First and foremost, I SCREWED UP.  The current plan is for the ISE to be a volunteer position, not, as I asserted, a paid position.  That drops the per-document cost to below average.  While we still have to pay the RFC production center for publication support -- editing, shepherding, and serving the content -- we do not need to pay for the RFC stream editor.

However, the point I wanted to make is that RFC publication is NOT FREE. One can estimate a dollar figure for an RFC. It is a non-trivial amount.

As for the value of the Independent Stream, of all of the responses, Brian's, and a personal appeal by Scott Bradner, have convinced me that the safety valve of an Independent Stream publication can be a last-chance vehicle to work around a reticent WG Chair or more especially so if one or more ADs are not working towards publication.  The Independent Stream is the ultimate appeals process to get a protocol that does not have sufficient IETF consensus, yet "feels" like it might work out, a chance to get published and played with.

This discussion did raise some good ideas I would like to pursue, but I will do that under separate email threads.

Given the escape valve value of the Independent Stream, I drop my objection to the publication of draft-iab-ise-model.

On Oct 22, 2011, at 3:39 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:

> Eric,
> 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.
>    Brian
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