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Sheep look up (was: I-D Action:draft-klensin-rfc2821bis-10.txt)

2008-04-19 02:32:30

Hector Santos wrote:

 [subject changed for a general remark about "the rules"] 
Anyway, Tony decided.  When will it end?
or isn't that sacred any more either?

IMO a shepherd is a volunteer for various procedural tasks,
a kind of "super-reviewer" for things that have to be done
by the sponsor (an area director) otherwise.

They prepare a "writeup" answering all questions in the
questionnnaire (see RFC 4858 for IETF WG drafts, a similar
ION for non-WG drafts went the way of all IONs recently).

For this job they need to check the ABNF and other formal
issues (idnits), they check public reviews, for the famous
"question 1F" they collect premature appeal cartooneys.

For a WG draft the shepherd is appointed by the WG Chairs,
and it typically is a Chair, it could also be a volunteer.
If the sponsoring AD has a problem with that (s)he is free
to do it the old way, without the help of the shepherd.

For a non-WG draft a shepherd can be appointed by the AD,
if there is no volunteer the sponsoring AD is free to do
it the old way, without the help of a shepherd.  

What shepherds do NOT is "decide" anything, apart from the
decision to volunteer.  For a non-WG draft only the author
decides what's in their drafts, and the sponsoring AD is
responsible for the "writeup", no matter who prepared it.

E.g., shepherds have no "write access" on the I-D tracker, 
maybe that will change for the "WG Chair is shepherd" case
in the future.  IOW, as far as the community is concerned,
the concept of a shepherd is a private arrangement between
the author and the sponsoring AD, and there are no appeals
against anything authors, editors, or shepherds might do -
the responsible parties are WG Chairs and ADs.

Only WG Chairs, ADs, IESG, and IAB can use the magic word
"consensus" in a meaningful way, anybody else trying this
(including me in this article ;-) is just talking.