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

James M. Polk jmpolk at cisco.com
Thu Sep 29 11:26:22 PDT 2011

At 11:54 PM 9/28/2011, Olaf Kolkman (Acting RFC Series Editor) wrote:

>On Sep 28, 2011, at 11:46 PM, Peter Koch wrote:
> > On Tue, Sep 20, 2011 at 11:47:48AM +0200, Olaf Kolkman (Acting 
> RFC Series Editor) wrote:
> >
> >>
> >>  The designation AUTHOR or EDITOR is one that is made by the
> >>  individuals themselves.
> >
> > I believe for IETF stream documents this distinction is either
> > predetermined - or there's a terminology mismatch between
> > IETF language and RFC Editor language that is not necessarily
> > beneficial for the community.
> >
>I do not believe there is written policy anywhere. What this tries 
>to express is that it is not the RFC Editor that makes the 
>determination. Would this be clearer:
>  The designation AUTHOR or EDITOR is one that is made by the
>  individuals themselves based on per-stream policy or convention.

A couple of comments that are relevant,

- I believe it is written policy that WG chairs can change document 
editors of WG drafts at any time (and ADs can change WG chairs at any time);

- most of the IETF work is done through the energy of the 
contributors, including authors and editors;

- generally (as I've experienced things in several areas), it seems 
that if an individual (or small group of individuals) submitted a 
worthwhile idea (according to the chairs or WG) more or less out of 
the blue, then he/she/they had the first shot at continuing as the 
doc authors/editors;

- if however, that individual or group with that good or great idea either...
         - was not responsive to WG requests for changes, or
         - was always late in responding with a new rev, or
         - wrote the text or edits using bad English
           (i.e., couldn't write very well), or
         - etc

...that the WG chair had the right to add an author or allow/position 
to take over editorship (but not remove the individual or group from 
the first page list of names);

- some work I've observed over the years that the WG chair was part 
of, but not necessarily the originator of, the idea - then that 
person generally has asked certain folks off line if they would like 
to take the editorship role for that particular draft.

This last bullet has shown some favoritism towards those who are 
friends of the chair, even though others would have easily 
volunteered if asked. However, I think this practice has been 
generally justified by the fact that the chair knows/understands the 
draft will be written well, which is very important to all reading 
this particular effort.

BTW - infrequently, but I have heard a general solicitation for 
anyone who is willing to "take the pen" of a document, thus asking 
for someone with the time and energy to complete a draft that has 
languished too long within a WG.

All that said, I believe Olaf is right that the RFC-Editor doesn't 
assign authors/editors - WG chairs do, by allowing an individual 
author to become a WG editor of a draft, or by picking who the editor 
will be for a draft(idea).


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