[rfc-i] RFC Series Editor Token Pass

Olaf Kolkman (Acting RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Mon Jan 2 09:15:58 PST 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Today I'll hand over the RFC Series Editor token to Heather Flanagan.

I have been the Acting RFC Series Editor since March. That role had a limited mandate which I summarize as "Make only those decisions that are needed to keep RFCs flowing". There were only few occasions where guidance helped in resolving an issue and even fewer where a decision was needed. That is mainly because of the high professional standards of Sandy, Alice, Megan, Lynne, Rebecca, Judy and Linda of the RFC Production Center. Working with them and the Independent Series Editor Nevil Brownlee made it a pleasure being an ARSE.

For me the transfer of the token concludes a project that I have been deeply involved in during my tenure on the IAB: the RFC Editor reorganization. That project had started when I joined the IAB with the definition of the various streams that eventually lead to RFC4844 and was followed by the document that describes the Independent RFC Editor submission (RFC4848). Those documents provided and documented a better understanding of the technical content control of RFCs and provided inspiration for the organizational model of the RFC Editor that enabled us to migrate away from USC/ISI  which supported the series for about 3 decades and where Jon Postel, Joyce Reynolds, Bob Braden, Sandy Ginoza and Alice Hagens made the series to what it is today (see http://www.rfc-editor.org/RFC-history.pdf).

The model that resulted allows the RFC Series to evolve as a separate institution within what I call the "IETF Universe"; an institution lead by RFC Series Editor (RSE) with meaningful oversight by the IAB. Unfortunately we didn't get it right the first time (RFC5620). While the model allowed for the Production and Publication functions to land seamlessly  the job definition for the RSE was not precise enough. Besides, and more probably more important, there were different interpretations about what the RSE job actually entailed. 

With Glenn Kowack as Interim RFC Series Editor we went back to the drawing board and refined the model leaving the successful Production and Publication Functions in place and clarifying the RSE position. Developing that model and implementing it took a wee bit longer than expected - hence the need for an ARSE - but it was time needed to follow process and developing the common mindset and language to allow for successful implementation.  The appointment of Heather from among a multitude of highly qualified candidates and a functioning RFC Series Oversight Committee demonstrates to me that we have a working construct. The model (draft-iab-rfc-editor-model-v2 and draft-iab-rfc-independent) will be published shortly.

Now that the organizational pieces are sorted out it is time for the series itself to get attention. That will be Heathers' responsibility, there are some left overs from my tenure and within the community there have been ideas to evolve the series. I wish Heather a lot of wisdom and success in defining the RFC Series Editor Function by leading the community to successful evolution of the RFC Series.

Happy new year, over to Heather, and out.

--Olaf Kolkman.


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