From: Ted Hardie <hardie(_at_)qualcomm(_dot_)com>
And the point I'm trying to make is that there are multiple records.
When we have
a mailing list like "ietf-types" or "ietf-languages" where there is a long term
community of interest around a specific issue, should a discussion there
be taken into account when assessing an individual submission? I think
the answer is "it depends" and certainly may be "yes". It should not over-ride
I'm bothered by the talk of "community of interest" and "support" as if
they were fungible, as if every community of interest is the same as the
IETF. That is a potentially catastrophic slippery slope. There are
very good reasons for IEEE PARs. Turf is the most fought over commodity
of standards organizations. Turf is more highly valued than any single
document. Letting random groups of people call themselves "communities"
and so automagically give themselves the IETF imprimatur is a very bad
thing. Whether the random group has a mailing list that includes the
string "ietf" in its private part should be obviously irrelevant, but
judging from recent cases, isn't. Whether the group's mailing list
happens to use an ietf.org domain name is close to irrelevant. Whether
the supposed "community" includes leaders of other standards organizations
should also obviously be irrelevant, but evidently isn't.
Instead of a "default no" for BCPs or standards track RFC from individual
submissions, it would be better to make it a simple "no." If the IETF
does not feel like investing the substantial effort and delays to form
a WG and the rest of the tiresome, formal IETF dance, then that in
itself is proof that the issue is unworthy of the IETF's official seal.
Previous efforts to borrow the IETF's printing press and official
seal have involved "Informational." Evidently the many forces that
want to borrow the IETF's seal have figured out that "Informational"
is not valuable enough and are trying a new tactic.
Giving BCP or standards track to individual submissions is evil on
more than one front. It's not just that it risks blessing non-standards
and deluting the value of BCP and the standards track. It is evidence
that the IETF as an organization is getting lazy about its real work.
If every I-D were worth publishing, there would never have been a need
for WGs, Last Calls, and the rest. The whole "community consensus"
thing is absolutely required for anything that deserves the word
"standard." You can't have a worthwhile standards publisher without
the work of editing. Other standards bodies use voting. Book publishers
use editors. The IETF uses "consensus". Letting the editors off the
hook for jobs will have results as bad in their own way as results we
saw from letting the directors of Enron and MCI sleep on their jobs.
The IESG, IAB, and ADs are not the IETF and do not define the IETF
consensus. They might gauge it, but if it does not exist outside
them, then it does not exist.
It is definitely not good that the IETF is spending so much time
writing a job description and paying so little attention to ostensibly
important Internet standards like language tags.
It's not only true that "A [standards committee's] gotta know [its]
limitations," but it must also know what it doesn't care about enough
to work on. If the IETF doesn't want to work on language tags by
having a WG and the rest of those delays and work, then so be it. Let
the standards body that evidently does care do it...unless the incredible
"I'm gona tell the Liason on you" threat was the vacuous, standards
committee politicing as usual that it sounded like.
Vernon Schryver vjs(_at_)rhyolite(_dot_)com
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