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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                 S. Moonesamy, Ed.
Request for Comments: 7154                                    March 2014
BCP: 54
Obsoletes: 3184
Category: Best Current Practice
ISSN: 2070-1721

                      IETF Guidelines for Conduct


   This document provides a set of guidelines for personal interaction
   in the Internet Engineering Task Force.  The guidelines recognize the
   diversity of IETF participants, emphasize the value of mutual
   respect, and stress the broad applicability of our work.

   This document is an updated version of the guidelines for conduct
   originally published in RFC 3184.

Status of This Memo

   This memo documents an Internet Best Current Practice.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Further information on
   BCPs is available in Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect
   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

   This document may contain material from IETF Documents or IETF
   Contributions published or made publicly available before November
   10, 2008.  The person(s) controlling the copyright in some of this
   material may not have granted the IETF Trust the right to allow
   modifications of such material outside the IETF Standards Process.
   Without obtaining an adequate license from the person(s) controlling
   the copyright in such materials, this document may not be modified
   outside the IETF Standards Process, and derivative works of it may
   not be created outside the IETF Standards Process, except to format
   it for publication as an RFC or to translate it into languages other
   than English.

1.  Introduction

   The work of the IETF relies on cooperation among a diverse range of
   people with different ideas and communication styles.  The IETF
   strives, through these guidelines for conduct, to create and maintain
   an environment in which every person is treated with dignity,
   decency, and respect.  People who participate in the IETF are
   expected to behave in a professional manner as we work together to
   develop interoperable technologies for the Internet.  We aim to abide
   by these guidelines as we build consensus in person and through email
   discussions.  If conflicts arise, they are resolved according to the
   procedures outlined in RFC 2026 [RFC2026].

   This document obsoletes RFC 3184 [RFC3184], as it is an updated
   version of the guidelines for conduct.

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

2.  Guidelines for Conduct

   1. IETF participants extend respect and courtesy to their colleagues
      at all times.

      IETF participants come from diverse origins and backgrounds; there
      can be different expectations or assumptions.  Regardless of these
      individual differences, participants treat their colleagues with
      respect as persons especially when it is difficult to agree with
      them: treat other participants as you would like to be treated.

      English is the de facto language of the IETF.  However, it is not
      the native language of many IETF participants.  All participants,
      particularly those with English as a first language, attempt to
      accommodate the needs of other participants by communicating
      clearly, including speaking slowly and limiting the use of slang.
      When faced with English that is difficult to understand, IETF
      participants make a sincere effort to understand each other and
      engage in conversation to clarify what was meant.

   2. IETF participants have impersonal discussions.

      We dispute ideas by using reasoned argument rather than through
      intimidation or personal attack.  Try to provide data and facts
      for your standpoints so the rest of the participants who are
      sitting on the sidelines watching the discussion can form an
      opinion.  The discussion is easier when the response to a simple
      question is a polite answer [SQPA].

   3. IETF participants devise solutions for the global Internet that
      meet the needs of diverse technical and operational environments.

      The mission of the IETF is to produce high-quality, relevant
      technical and engineering documents that influence the way people
      design, use, and manage the Internet in such a way as to make the
      Internet work better.  The IETF puts its emphasis on technical
      competence, rough consensus, and individual participation, and it
      needs to be open to competent input from any source.  We
      understand that "scaling is the ultimate problem" and that many
      ideas that are quite workable on a small scale fail this crucial

      IETF participants use their best engineering judgment to find the
      best solution for the whole Internet, not just the best solution
      for any particular network, technology, vendor, or user.  While we
      all have ideas that may stand improvement from time to time, no
      one shall ever knowingly contribute advice or text that would make
      a standard technically inferior.

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

   4. Individuals are prepared to contribute to the ongoing work of the

      We follow the intellectual property guidelines outlined in BCP 79
      [RFC3979].  IETF participants read the relevant Internet-Drafts,
      RFCs, and email archives in order to familiarize themselves with
      the technology under discussion.  Working Group sessions run on a
      very limited time schedule, and sometimes participants have to
      limit their questions.  The work of the group will continue on the
      mailing list, and questions can be asked and answered on the
      mailing list.  It can be a challenge to participate in a Working
      Group without knowing the history of longstanding Working Group
      debates.  Information about a Working Group including its charter
      and milestones is available on the IETF datatracker site [TRACK]
      or from the Working Group Chair.

3.  Security Considerations

   The IETF guidelines for conduct do not directly affect the security
   of the Internet.  However, it is to be noted that there is an
   expectation that no one shall ever knowingly contribute advice or
   text that may adversely affect the security of the Internet without
   describing all known or foreseen risks and threats to potential
   implementers and users that they are aware of.

4.  Acknowledgements

   Most of the text in this document is based on RFC 3184, which was
   written by Susan Harris.  The editor would like to acknowledge that
   this document would not exist without her contribution.  Mike O'Dell
   wrote the first draft of the Guidelines for Conduct, and many of his
   thoughts, statements, and observations are included in this version.
   Many useful editorial comments were supplied by Dave Crocker.
   Members of the POISSON Working Group provided many significant
   additions to the text.

   The editor would like to thank Jari Arkko, Brian Carpenter, Dave
   Cridland, Dave Crocker, Spencer Dawkins, Alan DeKok, Lars Eggert,
   David Farmer, Adrian Farrel, Stephen Farrell, Russ Housley, Eliot
   Lear, Barry Leiba, Ines Robles, Eduardo A. Suarez, Brian Trammell,
   and Sean Turner for contributing towards the improvement of the

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

5.  References

5.1.  Informative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [RFC2418]  Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 2418, September 1998.

   [RFC3184]  Harris, S., "IETF Guidelines for Conduct", BCP 54, RFC
              3184, October 2001.

   [RFC3683]  Rose, M., "A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF
              Mailing Lists", BCP 83, RFC 3683, March 2004.

   [RFC3934]  Wasserman, M., "Updates to RFC 2418 Regarding the
              Management of IETF Mailing Lists", BCP 25, RFC 3934,
              October 2004.

   [RFC3979]  Bradner, S., Ed., "Intellectual Property Rights in IETF
              Technology", BCP 79, RFC 3979, March 2005.

   [SQPA]     Perlman, R., "Miss Manners meets the IETF", March 2002,

   [TRACK]    "The IETF Datatracker Tool", Web Application:
              <https://datatracker.ietf.org/wg>, Version 5.0.2.

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

Appendix A.  Reporting Transgressions of the Guidelines

   An individual can report transgressions of the guidelines for conduct
   to the IETF Chair or the IESG.

Appendix B. Consequences of Transgressing the Guidelines

   This document does not discuss measures that can be taken against a
   participant transgressing the guidelines for conduct.

   RFC 2418 [RFC2418] describes a measure where a Working Group Chair
   has the authority to refuse to grant the floor to any individual who
   is unprepared or otherwise covering inappropriate material, or who,
   in the opinion of the Chair, is disrupting the Working Group process.

   RFC 3683 [RFC3683] describes "posting rights" action to remove the
   posting rights of an individual.  RFC 3934 [RFC3934] describes a
   measure through which a Working Group Chair can suspend posting
   privileges of a disruptive individual for a short period of time.

Appendix C. Changes from RFC 3184

   o  Added text about the IETF striving to create an environment in
      which every person is treated with dignity, decency, and respect.

   o  Added text about contributing advice or text that may affect the
      security of the Internet.

   o  The recommendation that newcomers should not interfere with the
      ongoing process in Section 2 was removed as it can be read as
      discouraging newcomers from participating in discussions.

   o  The text about the goal of the IETF was replaced with text about
      the mission statement and what the IETF puts its emphasis on.

   o  The text about "think globally" was removed as the meaning was not

   o  The text about English as a first language was clarified.

   o  The guideline about impersonal discussions was reworded as a
      positive statement.

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RFC 7154               IETF Guidelines for Conduct            March 2014

Author's Address

   S. Moonesamy (editor)
   76, Ylang Ylang Avenue
   Quatres Bornes

   EMail: sm+ietf@elandsys.com

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