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Re: archives (was The other parts of the report....

2004-09-13 15:30:46


I understand the sentiment of the FFs. The only problem is:

- Once something is published, it is really, really hard to unpublish it.

- Before something becomes a final stable document/standard, it is useful
  to be able to actually refer to it, somehow.

- Even if something never becomes a standard, it may still be useful to
  be able to refer to it.

- The analogy to academic papers is not quite correct as many, many IDs
  never make it beyond "published for information" or "current snapshot
  of X" status. These snapshots, like the mailing list archives, can
  be useful for someone seeking to gain the "larger picture."

I can't really see that there is much difference (at least in some cases)
between and obsolete RFC and an obsolete ID. Readers of the RFCs must
refer to the index to figure out if they have the most recent incarnation,
and it seems to me that a similar mechanism (as outlined by Scott) could
be employed for the IDs.

Relying on IDs timing out and magically disappearing is certainly not
going to work.


Ole J. Jacobsen
Editor and Publisher,  The Internet Protocol Journal
Academic Research and Technology Initiatives, Cisco Systems
Tel: +1 408-527-8972   GSM: +1 415-370-4628
E-mail: ole(_at_)cisco(_dot_)com  URL:

On Mon, 13 Sep 2004, Bob Braden wrote:

I have yet to see a coherent argument for keeping the ID series if it's
archived publicly. Why do we need to see the entire process - in public
- of editing and revision? And if we do, why do we need two separate
series to do this?

It's not a document series, it's preserving history - exactly the same way
that the mailing list archives do, using the exact same arguments. (And
incidentally, the exact same situation wrt. "getting published".)

If you argue that you want to abolish the mailing list archives, I think
you'll find strong opposition; I certainly do not see why the I-D
situation is any different.

MfG Kai

This "preserving history" notion is an obfuscation.  If there is a stable
reference to each particular I-D, then the set of I-Ds with those stable
references necessarily form an archival document series.

The Original Intent of the IETF founding fathers was that the RFCs
should form the stable, archival document series for the Internet
technology, containing its entire intellectual history (to use Scott's
term), while I-Ds were to be ephemeral.  This is analogous to academic
publication; we archive only the finished papers, not the 17 drafts that
go into the production of each paper. Publication in a conference or
journal is a filter that keeps us from hopelessly garbaging up the
intellectual record.  The FFs believed that preserving I-Ds would lead
to such a garbage pile with piles of chaff for every grain of wheat.
Of course, the IETF has drifted far away from this OI.

But then, you knew all that.

Bob Braden

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