--On Wednesday, 28 November, 2007 17:15 -0500 Sam Hartman
"John" == John C Klensin <john-ietf(_at_)jck(_dot_)com> writes:
John> --On Thursday, 29 November, 2007 09:54 +1300 Brian E
John> <brian(_dot_)e(_dot_)carpenter(_at_)gmail(_dot_)com> wrote:
John> I'd like to see something like the above combined
with a John> shorter window, maybe at two levels ("hold
publication John> until..." and "provisional until...").
Of course, if an John> appeal is actually filed, it would
be sensible to hold John> publication until it is
I disagree that it is always sensible to hold publication
until the appeal is resolved, particularly for expedited
We've had some very bogus appeals and writing up the responses
is not always our top priority.
I agree that it is almost always desirable to delay
publication once an appeal is filed.
One critical assumption in my evaluation is that RFCs can be
withdrawn. I'm quite confident that given a court order the
RFC editor, the IETF website, etc, would find a way to remove
an RFC. As such, we as a community can establish our own
processes for withdrawing an RFC.
There would be copies floating around somewhere and it would
violate some important precedents. I agree that we could do
this, but I hope it would only occur in response to an external
and binding order (such as the court order of your example)
rather than an IETF/IESG adoption of some version of newspeak.
Let me try to restate what I was trying to suggest (with some
changes after thinking about subsequent comments).
Historically and going back to the dawn of IETF time, when the
IESG has asked the RFC Editor to delay publication and given a
reason, the RFC Editor has complied. I don't see any reason why
that should change, and I don't see any reason why we need to
adopt new rules and procedures for the IESG to make the request
or requiring the RFC Editor to honor it.
Independent of how long it takes the IESG to make a final
decision about an appeal, agree about text, etc., I believe that
they are able to quickly make a decision about whether or not
the appeal is totally without merit (a criterion we have
discussed before and one that is very different from "direction
it is likely to consider" or other form of pre-judgment). I
also believe that the IESG is able to ask the IAB to quickly
consider a "totally without merit" conclusion and reach their
own conclusion about it.
If an appeal of a standards action that would lead to RFC
publication appears to be substantive, then I really don't seem
much harm in delaying publication until the issues can be
resolved. In reaching that conclusion, I'm drawing heavily on
two things. The first is that we have, relatively speaking, few
appeals that get far enough to merit full IESG consideration.
We also see long delays due to IESG consideration of issues
raised during or after Last Call, sometimes by IESG members, and
working out the resolution of those issues. It doesn't seem to
me to make a tremendous difference whether we suffer publication
delay due to pre-approval delays and negotiation or due to
delays brought on by an appeal. In addition, while I have been
saddened by the typical length of time between approval and
publication in the last several years, and am delighted that we
are now forced to ask this question, I think there is little
evidence that the earlier publication cycles have caused us
serious harm (except, perhaps, in further reducing the
motivation to advance things along the standards track).
The second is that, while the IESG has often taken months to
getting around to considering an appeal, generating and agreeing
on response text, etc., there is no requirement for such long
delays. If the IESG doesn't want a lengthy publication delay,
then let it move expeditiously.
To be specific, suppose we adopted the following model, which I
believe requires no change to 2026 (some refinements are
possible if we start making modifications):
* If someone intends to appeal, and wants to make a
case for publication delay until the appeal is resolved,
they must give notice of that intent with an outline of
issues within a month (for example). Such a notice
would generally result in a publication delay, at least
for the rest of the two-month limit to permit an actual
appeal to be filed.
* When an appeal is filed, it may contain a request that
publication be delayed until the appeal is resolved and
an explanation as to why that action would be
appropriate. If it does not, publication will not be
delayed (unless the IESG decides to block it on its own,
which it can do at any time, with or without a pending
appeal). If it does contain such a request, the
request must be granted unless the IESG concludes that
either the appeal, or the publication delay request, is
totally without merit _and_ gets the IAB to agree.
Note that a publication delay request could be totally without
merit even if the appeal itself had substance if, e.g., the
appeal addressed some small issues and there was no evidence
that harm would result from publication followed by issuance of
a revised RFC. It is also worth noting that many appeals
aren't against Standards Actions. Even of those that are, many
don't seek to block publication, but to have some issue or
decision adjusted. And, in most of the latter cases, there
would not be substantial harm from proceeding with publication,
especially if the IESG attached a note indicating that the
relevant features or issues were still under review, with a new,
updating, RFC to be issued later with a clarification,
correction, or affirmation of the initial text. Whether or not
to attach such a note may, I think, be sensibly left up to the
IESG's discretion but we could expect the IESG to announce what
it was doing and, if needed, devise a fast-track appeal on that
Again, none of this requires a procedural change at the 2026
level, only that the IESG establish reasonable guidelines for
its own behavior, acts openly, and follows those guidelines. If
they could not or would not do that, we have other problems.
And, incidentally, I believe that discussions about inherent
conflicts of interest in the current appeals process are
irrelevant to this discussion, for two reasons. First, as
others have repeatedly pointed out, our appeals mechanisms are
an important tool for reaching and establishing consensus, not a
judicial procedure. And second, if there are conflicts of
interest that we believe are unacceptable, and that belief is
based on experience rather than theory or hypothetical
situations, then we need to fix 2026 and the appeals process for
reasons and in ways that have little to do with the publication
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