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Re: More new text for 2821bis

2008-07-09 05:21:55

Adding an IESG note to a standards-track RFC is longstanding practice as a way for IESG members to "hold their noses" and feel better about approving a document which they dislike. Less frequently, it could also be used as a way to document irreconcilable differences between the document author/editor/wg and IESG while still letting the document move forward. But mostly I think it was a way for IESG members to "feel better" about approving a document when there was something they didn't like and they were under pressure (usually from other IESG members) to approve it anyway.

I think they started using it around the time I was on IESG (1996-2000) - at least it seemed to become increasingly common during that time). I don't know if the practice is documented anywhere - it was (IIRC) an informal agreement between IESG and the RFC Editor.

Such notes have been useful when there were important technical considerations that a WG refused to address. But IMHO they have also frequently been used for fairly petty concerns, as in this case.


John C Klensin wrote:

This is the "surprise" referred to in one of my earlier notes.

Just so everyone knows, the appeal response says, in part...

        "The IESG came to consensus that the use of non-example
        domain names should not prevent publication of
        RFC2821bis, even though the IESG finds this practice can
        cause harm. The arguments made in public list discussion
        of the appeal have been a factor in the IESG being able
        to come to consensus on this point."

I thought that wording was a little odd when I first read it
but, other than noting that the IESG "finding" of harm did not
appear to be consistent with community consensus, didn't pay a
lot of attention to it.

However, while it is apparently not final and still has not
appeared in the tracker (see,
the apparent intent of the IESG, reflected in the ballot at, is to add
an IESG note to the front of the document that reads:

        "The IESG notes the use of several non-example domains
        (see RFC2606) in examples in this document.  These
        domains appear in the same examples in RFC2821.  RFC2821
        will continue to exist although its status will be
        marked as obsoleted by this document.  Thus, the IESG
        estimates that use of these particular examples in a
        revision to RFC2821 causes less harm than the good done
        by publishing this revision."

I presume that this text has been signed off on by all of those
listed as "Yes" or "No-Objection" on the ballot and note that
their numbers are sufficient to have a Protocol Action notice

I'm going to avoid making editorial comments on that text at
this time.  I do note, however, that this sort of note has never
before been applied to a document that does not use 2606 names.
I also note that the IESG has made no attempt to engage in a
dialog on the subject of whether a note or this sort should be
added, or about what it should contain with either this list or
the IETF list.
I can also find no authority, in RFC 2026 or elsewhere, for the
IESG adding text to a Standards-track document without such
consultation.  In particular, while Section 6.1.2 of RFC 2026
contains an extended discussion of the IESG changing categories,
forming WGs, etc., it appears clear that the IESG is to "approve
or disapprove", not to start adding text reflecting its own
observations, observations that may or may not represent
community consensus.

Advice or instructions welcome.


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