[rfc-i] Errata process

SM sm at resistor.net
Wed Feb 13 16:18:49 PST 2013

Hi Heather,
At 14:56 13-02-2013, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>The 'status' (Verified, Held for Document Update, or Rejected) that the
>stream manager selects for a given erratum is meant to provide guidance
>on this topic. For example, Verified errata "should be available to
>implementors or people deploying the RFC".  I don't believe it is
>explicitly stated anywhere that Verified errata are normative text that
>MUST be read with an RFC, but my impression is that is the expectation.

A RFC is said to be immutable.  Some people will read the errata and 
some people won't.  Some people will understand the "Verified" and 
"Held for Document Update".  I don't know the effect of all that 
outside an IETF context (people who are not familiar with the IETF or 
with RFCs.

>I am not actually sure what you are asking.  Are you asking of there is
>careful proofreading of an RFC, or careful proofreading of an errata?
>And what kind of attention?

What I mean is that more attention is given to the desires of the 
authors instead of the readers.  I would describe the "problem" as 
occurring before RFC Editor processing.  It's not that there isn't 
careful proofreading.  When an erratum is filed against a RFC which 
is a month's old it points to a problem somewhere.  Section 2.1.3 of 
RFC 6635 mentioned that the effort must include the dimensions of 
document quality.  Is there been any analysis of the (accepted) 
technical errata from a RFC Series perspective?  I prefer not to say 
more about the readers or else someone will suggest a survey. :-)

>The errata system is actually something that comes up in my mind quite a
>bit.  The urge to use the errata system as a quantifiable measure of
>something (quality? level of interest? amount of time that submitters
>have in any given day to submit errata?) is huge.  As much as I would
>like some kind of quantifiable measure of quality, however, the errata
>system was not intended nor designed for that purpose and is not
>representative of the RFCs being published.  It is a very useful system,
>particularly for implementors who need to avoid buggy systems and for
>-bis authors who could use the pointers on areas that need focus, but it
>is not really useful for other measure.

I was thinking about whether it could be used to get a rough sense of 
the quality of documents being produced.  It's not really a good 
indicator for the reasons you described.  It "might" be worthwhile to 
think about how the errata system fits in the bigger picture.

Here's an odd case.  Errata #3481 was filed against RFC 2246.  That 
RFC is obsolete (I am ignoring the specifics).  In my humble opinion 
it is worthwhile to apply changes to the up-to-date version of the 
specification as that RFC is supposed to be better than then obsoleted RFC.

>And that said, I am not sure if this touches on what are you asking
>about or not.

It does. :-)

BTW, there is a problem accessing www.rfc-editor.org over IPv6.


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