From: Dave Crocker <dhc2(_at_)dcrocker(_dot_)net>
Conformance discussions like the current one have been regular fodder for
Internet mailing lists for, perhaps, 15 years. They crop up every couple
of years. The group "script" for the discussion is highly consistent.
It's a syndrome far older than the SuperHypeWay. If you read the
letters to the editor section of your local newspaper, you'll find
"activists" singing very similar songs about schools, traffic lights,
and a zillion other issues in hopes of enhancing their power, authority,
and influence, but without personal cost or risk.
The HypeWay version was refined in the old com-priv mailing list.
Standards committee go-ers and others without responsibilities or clues
begin yammering about an impending disaster that can be averted only
if there is a new oversight organization to force lazy or evil workers
to straighten up and fly right. Some of these "consumer activists"
and "stakeholder representatives" (as they style themselves in recent
years) graciously offer to serve in the new oversight organization,
but only if they get the power and authority of being a commissar
without bearing any responsibility, risking personal consequences, or
needing a clue about what they're overseeing. The other activists
demand that incumbent pooh-bahs pay attention and discipline those
lazy, evil workers, and hereafter pay more attention to activists.
The activists always claim to have been present and influential from
the start, but they have special definitions of "present," "influential,"
and the subject itself. Anything that happened before their appearance
is mere prelude. Recent events and actors unknown to them are entirely
irrelevant. Everyone else is either ignorant, part of a conspiracy
to cause the disaster, or in silent agreement.
If "conformance activists" really cared about their issue, they'd do
something themselves instead of only demanding others risk and act.
Some would register a service mark like "Internet RFC Compliant"
and start charging $100 to use it.
Others would register a domain like "rfc-violations.org" and create
web pages for their public standards non-compliance list. They might
contact people who have already done something like that, complete
with a DNSbl for rejecting mail. See http://www.rfc-ignorant.org/
(Never mind that rejecting mail for RFC non-compliance breaks the
fundamental rule of "Be strict in what you send and generous in what
Vernon Schryver vjs(_at_)rhyolite(_dot_)com