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

Nico Williams nico at cryptonector.com
Mon Mar 31 16:28:54 PDT 2014

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 5:47 PM, Brian E Carpenter
<brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com> wrote:
> 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.

Why would having normative references in a stream that doesn't require
them be not acceptable?

> 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.)

I made a gave a specific and clear rationale for why an Experimental
RFC (say) ought to be allowed to have normative references.  Without a
response then yes, it is just you.

An example of an Experimental RFC that could be promoted with
absolutely no meaningful updates outside the Abstract would be

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

Or maybe this is not a real problem, and anyways not one the
RFC-Editor can't manage on their own.  Lack of IETF review is no more
nor less significant w.r.t. contents than references.


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