IESG review of RFC Editor documents2004-03-26 14:54:35
Okay, I read draft-iesg-rfced-documents-00.txt regarding a proposed change in IESG policy regarding RFC-Ed documents.
I'm opposed to the change, because I believe it would make it too easy for harmful documents to be published as RFCs.
Part of the problem is the familiar one that RFCs are often used as standards even when they carry the Informational or Experimental label. Publishing an Informational RFC is therefore a way to get the appearance of standardization and IETF imprimatur without actually having to produce a sound technical design, achieve rough consensus, and endure review from IESG and interested parties.
A big part of the problem is that the proposed policy would only allow IESG to object to the publication of a document in the case where there was an active working group in an area, or where the document would violate a pre-established procedure. Since working groups are typically chartered to work on a narrow topic and for a limited time, at any given time many technical subject areas are not covered by a working group, and many new protocols would not conflict with any particular working group even if they would conflict with (for instance) the operation of established protocols.
Many believe it's unreasonable for IESG to spend its time reviewing documents for which there is no broad support. However, if it is unreasonable to expect IESG volunteers to perform adequate technical review on documents for which there is no broad support, surely it is even less reasonable to expect the RFC Editor (which appears to have even more limited resources and less breadth than the IESG) to perform such review. And while the RFC Editor could (and I assume does) enlist volunteers to assist it in such review, this amounts to an approval process for IETF publications that isn't accountable to the IETF community, not even with a noncom-like mechanism.
I do think we need to find a better way to deal with individual submissions. I don't think that for IESG to simply say "this is the RFC Editor's problem" is sufficient.
Here's an alternate proposal:- In order to be considered worthy of review, any individual submission must first have the support of two (maybe three) members of the group consisting of all current IESG members, all current IAB members, and all current WG chairs.
- Such proposals are then subject to a 4-week Last Call for Informational or Experimental.
- A significant show of support in the form of Last Call comments would normally be required for publication.
- Review of such proposals and their Last Calls would be conducted by a panel of volunteers appointed by IESG. For instance, each AD could appoint one person. The review panel could vote on whether to recommend publication, request revisions in light of Last Call or reviewers' comments, or to recommend against publication in light of Last Call comments (or lack of support).
- If the review board recommends publications, the RFC Editor would perform the same functions on these documents that it performs for WG Informational and/or Experimental documents.
- Decisions of the review board would be subject to appeal to IESG.