[rfc-i] Informational and Experimental RFCs can have Normative references

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Mon Mar 31 15:47:36 PDT 2014

On 01/04/2014 10:08, Julian Reschke wrote:
> On 2014-03-31 22:41, Nico Williams wrote:
>> Of course.
>> Consider a protocol made Experimental for whatever reason: but if I
>> want to implement it, don't I still need to know what references are
>> normative for it?  Of course I do.
>> Besides, an Experimental RFC might get upgraded as-is to Proposed
>> Standard.
>> What about Informational?  Same answer, really.
> Absolutely.

The *requirement* to separate the references is not actually enshrined
in any IETF BCP, as far as I know. It derives from a BCP 9 requirement
that a reference needed to implement a standard must itself be a
standard (or equivalent in the judgment of the IESG). [Yes, I have
simplified a quite complex rule there.] So it is very definitely
an IETF-stream concept. Whether or not it is acceptable in non-standards
track (or non-BCP) documents is therefore also a stream issue.

With my Gen-ART and Independent Stream reviewer hats on, I tend to
be very critical of excessive use of Normative References in
Info/Exp documents, because I think it gives them a spurious air
of authority. But that's just me. (It's also vanishingly rare for
an Info/Exp document to be promoted to standards track without
being updated.)

At the RFC Editor level it seems to me it should be something that
is allowed but the precise policy is per-stream.


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