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RFC 1871 - Addendum to RFC 1602 -- Variance Procedure


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Network Working Group                                          J. Postel
Request for Comments: 1871                                           ISI
Updates: 1602, 1603                                        November 1995
BCP: 2
Category: Best Current Practice

               Addendum to RFC 1602 -- Variance Procedure

Status of this Memo

   This document specifies an Internet Best Current Practices for the
   Internet Community, and requests discussion and suggestions for
   improvements.  Distribution of this memo is unlimited.

Abstract

   This document describes a modification to the IETF procedures to
   allow an escape from a situation where the existing procedures are
   not working or do not seem to apply.  This is a modification to the
   procedures of RFC 1602 and 1603.

Introduction

   The current IETF procedures are documented in "The Internet Standards
   Process -- Revision 2" [1], and "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
   Procedures" [2].

   There may be situations where following the procedures leads to a
   deadlock, or there may be situations where the procedures provide no
   guidance.  In these cases it may be appropriate to invoke the
   variance procedure described below.

   A revision of the rules specified in RFC 1602 is underway, but may
   take some time. This document describes an interim amendment to RFC
   1602, to avoid having to wait for this major revision in a state of
   paralysis.

Guiding Principles

   Any variance from following the written rules must be a public
   process with opportunity for all concerned parties to comment.

   The variance procedure should be similar to existing mechanisms and
   involve existing bodies.

The Variance Procedure

   Upon the recommendation of the responsible IETF Working Group (or, if
   no Working Group is constituted, upon the recommendation of the
   responsible ad hoc committee), the IESG may enter a particular
   specification into, or advance it within, the standards track even
   though some of the requirements of section 5 of RFC 1602 have not or
   will not be met. The IESG may approve such a variance, however, only
   if it first determines that the likely benefits to the Internet
   community from entering or advancing the specification on the
   standards track are likely to outweigh the costs to the Internet
   community that result from noncompliance with section 5.  In
   exercising this discretion, the IESG shall consider (a) the technical
   merit of the specification, (b) the possibility of achieving the
   goals of the Internet standards process without granting a variance,
   (c) alternatives to the granting of a variance, (d) the collateral
   and precedential effects of granting a variance, and (e) the IESG's
   ability to craft a variance that is as narrow as possible.  In
   determining whether to approve a variance, the IESG has discretion to
   limit the scope of the variance to particular parts of section 5 and
   to impose such additional restrictions or limitations as it
   determines appropriate to protect the interests of the Internet
   community.

   There are five aspects that are involved in the variance procedure:
   (1) detecting the problem, (2) proposing a solution, (3) public
   review, (4) accepting the solution, and (5) an appeal process.

   1. Detecting the problem

   The responsible IETF Working Group, (or, if no Working Group is
   constituted, the responsible ad hoc committee), may bring the matter
   of a variance before the IESG.

   2. Proposing the solution

   The IESG is responsible for proposing the solution.

   The IESG may enter a particular specification into, or advance it
   within, the standards track even though some of the requirements of
   section 5 of RFC 1602 have not or will not be met.

   In exercising this discretion, the IESG shall consider (a) the
   technical merit of the specification, (b) the possibility of
   achieving the goals of the Internet standards process without
   granting a variance, (c) alternatives to the granting of a variance,
   (d) the collateral and precedential effects of granting a variance,
   and (e) the IESG's ability to craft a variance that is as narrow as

   possible.

   The IESG should consult WG chair and appropriate WG members as
   needed, and the wishes of the WG should also be taken into account.

   3. Public review

   There shall be an extended Last Call for public review.

   4. Accepting the solution

   The IESG is responsible for accepting the solution, and incorporating
   comments from the Last Call.

   The IESG may approve such a variance, however, only if it first
   determines that the likely benefits to the Internet community from
   entering or advancing the specification on the standards track are
   likely to outweigh the costs to the Internet community that result
   from noncompliance with section 5 of RFC 1602.

   In determining whether to approve a variance, the IESG has discretion
   to limit the scope of the variance to particular parts of section 5
   of RFC 1602 and to impose such additional restrictions or limitations
   as it determines appropriate to protect the interests of the Internet
   community.

   5. The appeal procedure

   The IAB is responsible for hearing and deciding appeals.

Discussion

   When the IESG (on reviewing a recommendation for a variance) the has
   determined that there is a situation where the existing written rules
   do not apply or lead to a deadlock, the IESG may propose a solution
   to the problem.

   The solution may be developed by the IESG or suggested to the IESG.

   The solution may either (1) decide the particular instance of the
   matter, or (2) define a procedure for resolving matters of this kind.

   In any case, the proposed solution will be documented in an Internet
   Draft and subjected to an extended Last Call.

   Depending on the results of the Last Call, the IESG will either
   accept the solution; or revise the proposal, update the Internet
   Draft, and initiate another extended Last Call.

   When the IESG accepts a solution the Internet Draft shall be
   forwarded to the RFC Editor and published as an RFC.

   The IAB shall be available to hear and decide on appeals of the use
   this variance procedure.

Acknowledgements

   The contributions of the IAB and the IESG -- and Brian Carpenter,
   Paul Mockapetris, Christian Huitema, Robert Elz, Frank Kastenholz,
   and Scott Bradner, in particular -- are gratefully acknowledged.
   Scott deserves special credit for working with the lawyers to get
   that first paragraph in the "The Variance Procedure" section.

References

   [1] IAB, and IESG, "Internet Standards Process -- Revision 2", RFC
       1602, IAB and IESG, March 1994.

   [2] Huizer, E., and D. Crocker, "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
       Procedures", RFC 1603, SURFnet and Silicon Graphics, Inc., March
       1994.

Security Considerations

   Security issues are not discussed in this memo.

Authors' Address

      Jon Postel
      USC - ISI, Suite 1001
      4676 Admiralty Way
      Marina del Rey, CA  90292-6695
      Phone: 310-822-1511
      EMail: postel@isi.edu

 

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