[rfc-i] On Authors, Contributors, Editors, and overload.

Fred Baker fred at cisco.com
Tue Sep 20 10:56:21 PDT 2011

On Sep 20, 2011, at 2:47 AM, Olaf Kolkman (Acting RFC Series Editor) wrote:

> * Contributing Authors
>  An RFC may include a Contributing Authors section, listing those
>  contributors who deserve significant credit for the document
>  contents.


> * Contributors
>  As an alternative to the strict-format "Contributing Authors"
>  section RFC writers may opt to use a Contributors section. The
>  Contributors section may contain free floating text and is also
>  intended to credit major contributors to the content.
> * Acknowledgements
>  The body of an RFC may include an Acknowledgements section. An
>  Acknowledgments section may explain scope and nature of
>  contributions. It may also specify affiliations.

Thanks for doing this. I think it's helpful.

I note the "MAY" on the "Contributing Authors" section. That seems as it should be; if folks really really want to have one, they won't get their hands slapped for including it.

I do scratch my head on the rationale for the "Contributing Authors" section, however, given the existence of the "Contributors" section that the editor has the option of formatting identically. The reason we give contact information in the "author/editor address" section is so people can contact them. If I'm looking up, for example, the contributors to RFC 1812, I have to start with the fact that there were over 100 people that submitted actual text for inclusion, a couple hundred more that actively discussed various parts of it, and a succession of four editors (Philip Almquist, Jim Forster, Frank Kastenholz, and myself) that contributed to it. When one asks "what does the second sentence of the third paragraph of section mean", I'm not sure it's even meaningful to wonder what subset of those are the right folks to ask. What I have observed on that and other RFCs I have contributed to is that folks ask the author/editor, and the author/editor may bring others into the conversation when appropriate.

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