I've never thought that the IETF was OBLIGATED to "hide" old I-Ds; that
seems a rather far-fetched interpretation of anything in RFC 2026.
However, I think there is a real practical problem in making the old i-d's
be too readily available. I frequently get messages asking me questions
like "where is draft-rosen-something-or-other-04.txt, I can't find it" to
which the answer is one of the following:
a. you want draft-rosen-something-or-other-23.txt, or
b. you want draft-ietf-somewg-something-or-other-05.txt, or
c. you want RFC 12345.
What's happened is that they have found some email which references a long
outdated draft, and have no clue how to get to the most up-to-date version,
which is what they really want to see.
If we make it too easy to access the old drafts, a lot of people will just
get the old drafts instead of being forced to look for the more recent work.
Sure, people who really want to see the old drafts should be able to get
them, but people who really want to see the most up-to-date versions
shouldn't get the old drafts just because they only know an old draft name.
In a perfect system, someone would go to the IETF's official I-D page, enter
a draft name, and get a prominent pointer to the most recent version (even
if it is now an RFC or a draft with a different name), along with a less
prominent pointer to the thing they actually asked for.
If that can't be done, it might be better to keep the expired drafts
"officially hidden". Not for the reasons being given by our more
academically inclined colleagues, but for the practical reasons described
above. Sure, the expired drafts might be obtainable via Google, but getting
something from Google is a bit different than getting it via the IETF's
official web page.
Ietf mailing list