[rfc-i] A wild thought, RE: Valid email addresses [last call "On Authors, Contributors, Editors, and overload."]

Ross Callon rcallon at juniper.net
Tue Jan 10 13:55:15 PST 2012

I have no idea how much work this would be (or whether it is financially feasible), but...

Some Universities give permanent email addresses to their alumni (like person at alum.university.edu), which just forwards to an address which can be updated by the person. 

Would it be feasible to give a similar address to RFC authors (such as person at author.ietf.org)? 

One reason that I have been reluctant to use my alumni address as my email address in an RFC is that this might invite spam -- the alumni address is forever, and I am concerned that over the years the amount of spam going to a particular address might grow well beyond the already insane amount that my current employer-based email address has accumulated. At a minimum this might therefore require both rather large email forwarding servers and also pretty good anti-spam filters on the servers. 


-----Original Message-----
From: rfc-interest-bounces at rfc-editor.org [mailto:rfc-interest-bounces at rfc-editor.org] On Behalf Of Paul Hoffman
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 3:49 PM
To: rfc-interest
Subject: Re: [rfc-i] Valid email addresses [last call "On Authors, Contributors, Editors, and overload."]

On Jan 10, 2012, at 12:36 PM, Heather Flanagan wrote:

> On 1/10/12 12:14 PM, Paul Hoffman wrote:
>> On Jan 10, 2012, at 12:07 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
>>> Maybe this is a side issue, but I am aware of a quite recent case
>>> where an author insisted on listing an obsolete email address in
>>> an RFC, because it was his address at the former employer where
>>> he did the work.
>>> We know that email addresses are not for ever, but should there be
>>> a default policy requiring a valid address at the date of publication?
>> Good point, and it is not just email. Should the policy be that the 
>> stated affiliation be valid at the time of publication, regardless
>> of what the affiliation was during the document development?
> (removing RSE hat for a moment)
> Requiring current affiliation makes me twitch a bit.  If Joe Smith does
> his work on an RFC as part of his employment contract with Cisco, and
> then during the AUTH48 process goes to work for Juniper, putting Joe
> Smith, senior engineer at Juniper as the affiliation seems very bad
> form.  That said, I think it is the author's call, and he and his
> previous employer can discuss any breach of contract.

The discussion so far has been about "valid address" and "stated affiliation", not "current affiliation". As you point out, insisting on "current affiliation" would be difficult, but it is also unnecessary. Many IETF regulars with known affiliations use no affiliation instead, which is just fine. Brian's original question about "valid address", meaning an email address that still exists. Often an email address at a previous affiliation will bounce, which makes it useless as an identifier.

--Paul Hoffman

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