Re: When to DISCUSS?
As most RFC authors know, when an IESG member identifies a problem
a draft under IESG review, he or she casts a DISCUSS ballot, with
accompanying text, and the DISCUSS has to be cleared before the
document can advance.
draft-iesg-discuss-criteria-00.txt talks about this. Even within the
IESG, we still have one or two points to resolve, but we wanted to
this out before the cutoff date. This isn't in any way intended to
any of the principles of the standards process, but we'd welcome
Thank you (and Jon, and Allison, and Margaret, and the rest of the et.
al IESG) for producing this draft. At a high level, it is another
welcome increase to IESG transparency (at least as good a reason to
produce this draft as the two stated - new AD training and greater
consistency between ADs).
I have a small number of suggestions I would like to make. I know the
draft requested comments to iesg(_at_)ietf(_dot_)org, but several others have
commented here, and I am rarely reluctant to post to this list when I
express a variety of opinions, so saying something nice in the same
place seemed only fair!
- It is probably helpful to include a reference to a complete list of
possible ballot positions in the Introduction (something like
but you probably know the appropriate pointer - and I notice that this
URL is titled "Explanation of DISCUSSes", but it is actually an
explanation of all ballot otions).
- One point I took away from the recent chat about IANA registration
on this list is that a substantial portion of the community thinks
that when the IESG speaks, the IESG has spoken.
I understand that the term "discuss" is chosen intentionally (there is
no "how long have you been smoking crack?" ballot option), and believe
that the IESG actually expects the authors/editors/working group
chairs/working group to "discuss" the draft with the AD/IESG, but I
believe that a significant portion of the community hears "discuss",
they think the IESG means "Discuss" (capitalized for emphasis), or
maybe even "DISCUSS" (the IESG equivalent of a bullet through the
forehead), and they start randomly changing text or otherwise folding
up like cheap furniture, instead of expressing what the working group
was trying to do in the DISCUSSed text.
I would suggest one paragraph that says something like "when we say
"discuss", we mean this in the common English sense, even if we spell
it in all caps, and we really do want a dialog, not random changes to
a specification in the hopes of placating us and getting the DISCUSS
This would naturally fit at the beginning of Section 4 ("Discuss
Resolution"), but I would like to see all of "Section 4" appear as
context before the rest of the discussion about how DISCUSS can and
- I thought that historically the IESG had the most irritated AD hold
the DISCUSS for a draft, instead of having five separate DISCUSSes
that might be resolved in conflicting ways. If this is still current
practice, you might mention this, and explain why.
- I agree with the list of DISCUSS Criteria, but
http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc3967.txt is probably worth mentioning in
the bullet on downrefs.
- I agree with the list of DISCUSS Non-Criteria ("thank you!"), but
would like to see the "cross-area" bullet phrased so that it states
what SHOULD have happened - something like,
o There is recent work or additional information that might be
to the document. Although the cross-area perspective of the
invites connections and comparison between disparate work in the
IETF, cross-area review should have happened before IESG review,
and if this has not happened, it is evidence of a process
- I'm not sure I "get" 3.3 ("saying no to a document"), for these
(1) If the irritated AD votes "abstain", the document doesn't say what
the resolution path is - is the idea that some other AD who didn't
write the comments reads them and votes "DISCUSS - Marvin's comments
are right, or you need to explain why they are not right"? Or is an
ABSTAIN with very irritated comments somehow a special state?
(2) The ABSTAIN path (assuming that (1) is explained fully) seems
entirely sufficient, without adding the "However" path, where the
irritated AD writes the comments and still votes DISCUSS. How strongly
does the IESG feel about this? To me, it is edging toward "IESG as
protector of the universe", but it assumes that the AD can't convince
anyone else to vote DISCUSS (or whatever the path through (1) is). The
DISCUSS path seems like the weakest part of this very good 00 draft.
But maybe I just don't understand the path through (1) well enough to
understand the difference between the ABSTAIN option and the DISCUSS
(3) The description of the ABSTAIN path says "writes up the comments",
and the description of the DISCUSS path says "explain his or her
position as clearly as possible in the tracker". Is this really
different, or just the kind of thing that happens the week before the
00 cutoff? (I know it happens in MY 00 drafts!) I still wish there was
some reference to the comments on this evil, evil draft actually
appearing in the mailing list that is theoretically the archive for
discussions about the specifications produced by the working group,
but let's let that lie for now.
- The first paragraph in Section 4 is more specific than "the people
who need to discuss the draft, discuss the draft", but not a lot more
specific. I understand that many possible combinations of AD/ADs/IESG
and editor(s)/working group chair(s)/working groups may end up as
parties to the discussion, but I would like to see text that finally
assigns responsibility for negotiating DISCUSS resolution to SOMEbody
(not sure I care who). If there was a sentence that says "DISCUSSes
are supposed to be serious and relatively rare, so DISCUSS resolutions
should be posted to the appropriate mailing lists before the document
appears on the next IESG telechat agenda", that would be lovely. Other
sentences with other nouns might be lovely as well.
Again, thank you for spending the time to hammer out the first version
of this draft.
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