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RFC 3932 - The IESG and RFC Editor Documents: Procedures


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Network Working Group                                      H. Alvestrand
Request for Comments: 3932                                  October 2004
BCP: 92
Updates: 3710, 2026
Category: Best Current Practice

             The IESG and RFC Editor Documents: Procedures

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.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).

Abstract

   This document describes the IESG's procedures for handling documents
   submitted for RFC publication via the RFC Editor, subsequent to the
   changes proposed by the IESG at the Seoul IETF, March 2004.

   This document updates procedures described in RFC 2026 and RFC 3710.

1.  Introduction and History

   There are a number of different methods by which an RFC is published,
   some of which include review in the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF), and some of which include approval by the Internet
   Engineering Steering Group (IESG):

   o  IETF Working Group (WG) to Standards Track: Includes WG consensus,
      review in the IETF, IETF Last Call, and IESG approval

   o  IETF WG to Experimental/Informational: Includes WG consensus,
      review in the IETF, and IESG approval

   o  Area Director (AD) sponsored to Standards Track: Includes review
      in the IETF, IETF Last Call, and IESG approval

   o  AD Sponsored Individual to Experimental/Informational: Includes
      some form of review in the IETF and IESG approval

   o  Documents for which special rules exist

   o  RFC Editor documents to Experimental/Informational

   This memo is only concerned with the IESG processing of the last
   category.

   Special rules apply to some documents, including documents from the
   Internet Architecture Board (IAB), April 1st RFCs, and republication
   of documents from other standards development organizations.  The
   IESG and the RFC Editor keep a running dialogue, in consultation with
   the IAB, on these other documents and their classification, but they
   are outside the scope of this memo.

   For the last few years, the IESG has reviewed all RFC Editor
   documents (documents submitted by individuals to the RFC Editor for
   RFC publication) before publication.  In 2003, this review was often
   a full-scale review of technical content, with the ADs attempting to
   clear points with the authors, stimulate revisions of the documents,
   encourage the authors to contact appropriate working groups and so
   on.  This was a considerable drain on the resources of the IESG, and
   since this is not the highest priority task of the IESG members, it
   often resulted in significant delays.

   In March 2004, the IESG decided to make a major change in this review
   model.  The new review model will have the IESG take responsibility
   ONLY for checking for conflicts between the work of the IETF and the
   documents submitted; soliciting technical review is deemed to be the
   responsibility of the RFC Editor.  If an individual IESG member
   chooses to review the technical content of the document and finds
   issues, that member will communicate these issues to the RFC Editor,
   and they will be treated the same way as comments on the documents
   from other sources.

   Note: This document describes only the review process done by the
   IESG when the RFC Editor requests that review.  There are many other
   interactions between document editors and the IESG for instance, an
   AD may suggest that an author submit a document as input for work
   within the IETF rather than to the RFC Editor, or the IESG may
   suggest that a document submitted to the IETF is better suited for
   submission to the RFC Editor but these interactions are not described
   in this memo.

2.  Background Material

   The review of independent submissions by the IESG was prescribed by
   RFC 2026 [1] section 4.2.3.  The procedure described in this document
   is compatible with that description.

   RFC 3710 [4] section 5.2.2 describes the spring 2003 review process
   (even though the RFC was published in 2004); with the publication of
   this document, the procedure described in RFC 3710 is no longer
   relevant to documents submitted via the RFC Editor.

3.  Detailed Description of IESG Review

   The RFC Editor reviews submissions for suitability for publications
   as RFC.  Once the RFC Editor thinks a document may be suited for RFC
   publication, the RFC Editor asks the IESG to review the documents for
   conflicts with the IETF standards process or work done in the IETF
   community.

   The review is initiated by a note from the RFC Editor specifying the
   document name, the RFC Editor's belief about the document's present
   suitability for publication, and (if possible) the list of people who
   have reviewed the document for the RFC Editor.

   The IESG may return five different responses, any of which may be
   accompanied by an IESG note to be put on the document if the RFC
   Editor wishes to publish.

   1. The IESG has not found any conflict between this document and IETF
      work.

   2. The IESG thinks that this work is related to IETF work done in WG
      <X>, but this does not prevent publishing.

   3. The IESG thinks that publication is harmful to the IETF work done
      in WG <X> and recommends not publishing the document at this time.

   4. The IESG thinks that this document violates IETF procedures for
      <X> and should therefore not be published without IETF review and
      IESG approval.

   5. The IESG thinks that this document extends an IETF protocol in a
      way that requires IETF review and should therefore not be
      published without IETF review and IESG approval.

   The last two responses are included respectively, for the case where
   a document attempts to take actions (such as registering a new URI
   scheme) that require IETF consensus or IESG approval (as these terms
   are defined in RFC 2434 [2]), and for the case where an IETF protocol
   is proposed to be changed or extended in an unanticipated way that
   may be harmful to the normal usage of the protocol, but where the
   protocol documents do not explicitly say that this type of extension
   requires IETF review.

   If a document requires IETF review, the IESG will offer the author
   the opportunity to ask for publication as an AD-sponsored individual
   document, which is subject to full IESG review, including possible
   assignment to a WG or rejection.  Redirection to the full IESG review
   path is not a guarantee that the IESG will accept the work item, or
   even that the IESG will give it any particular priority; it is a
   guarantee that the IESG will consider the document.

   The IESG will normally have review done within 4 weeks from the RFC
   Editor's notification.  In the case of a possible conflict, the IESG
   may contact a WG or a WG chair for an outside opinion of whether
   publishing the document is harmful to the work of the WG and, in the
   case of a possible conflict with an IANA registration procedure, the
   IANA expert for that registry.

   Note that if the IESG has not found any conflict between a submission
   and IETF work, then judging its technical merits, including
   considerations of possible harm to the Internet, will become the
   responsibility of the RFC Editor.  The IESG assumes that the RFC
   Editor, in agreement with the IAB, will manage mechanisms for
   additional technical review.

4.  Standard IESG Note

   One of the following IESG notes will be sent to the RFC Editor for
   all documents, with a request for placement either in or immediately
   following the "Status of this Memo" section of the finished RFC,
   unless the IESG decides otherwise:

   1. For documents that specify a protocol or other technology, and
      that have been considered in the IETF at one time:

      The content of this RFC was at one time considered by the IETF,
      and therefore it may resemble a current IETF work in progress or a
      published IETF work.  This RFC is not a candidate for any level of
      Internet Standard.  The IETF disclaims any knowledge of the
      fitness of this RFC for any purpose and in particular notes that
      the decision to publish is not based on IETF review for such
      things as security, congestion control, or inappropriate
      interaction with deployed protocols.  The RFC Editor has chosen to
      publish this document at its discretion.  Readers of this RFC
      should exercise caution in evaluating its value for implementation
      and deployment.  See RFC 3932 for more information.

   2. For documents that specify a protocol or similar technology and
      are independent of the IETF process:

      This RFC is not a candidate for any level of Internet Standard.
      The IETF disclaims any knowledge of the fitness of this RFC for
      any purpose and in particular notes that the decision to publish
      is not based on IETF review for such things as security,
      congestion control, or inappropriate interaction with deployed
      protocols.  The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at
      its discretion.  Readers of this document should exercise caution
      in evaluating its value for implementation and deployment.  See
      RFC 3932 for more information.

   3. For documents that do not specify a protocol or similar
      technology:

      This RFC is not a candidate for any level of Internet Standard.
      The IETF disclaims any knowledge of the fitness of this RFC for
      any purpose and notes that the decision to publish is not based on
      IETF review apart from IESG review for conflict with IETF work.
      The RFC Editor has chosen to publish this document at its
      discretion.  See RFC 3932 for more information.

5.  Examples of Cases Where Publication Is Harmful

   This section gives a couple of examples where delaying or preventing
   publication of a document might be appropriate due to conflict with
   IETF work.  It forms part of the background material, not a part of
   the procedure.

   Rejected Alternative Bypass: A WG is working on a solution to a
   problem, and a participant decides to ask for publication of a
   solution that the WG has rejected.  Publication of the document will
   give the publishing party an RFC number to refer to before the WG is
   finished.  It seems better to have the WG product published first,
   and have the non-adopted document published later, with a clear
   disclaimer note saying that "the IETF technology for this function is
   X".

   Example: Photuris (RFC 2522), which was published after IKE (RFC
   2409).

   Inappropriate Reuse of "free" Bits: In 2003, a proposal for an
   experimental RFC was published that wanted to reuse the high bits of
   the "fragment offset" part of the IP header for another purpose.  No
   IANA consideration says how these bits can be repurposed, but the
   standard defines a specific meaning for them.  The IESG concluded

   that implementations of this experiment risked causing hard-to-debug
   interoperability problems and recommended not publishing the document
   in the RFC series.  The RFC Editor accepted the recommendation.

   Note: in general, the IESG has no problem with rejected alternatives
   being made available to the community; such publications can be a
   valuable contribution to the technical literature.  However, it is
   necessary to avoid confusion with the alternatives the working group
   did adopt.

   The RFC series is one of many available publication channels; this
   document takes no position on the question of which documents the RFC
   series is appropriate for.  That is a matter for discussion in the
   IETF community.

6.  IAB Statement

   In its capacity as the body that approves the general policy followed
   by the RFC Editor (see RFC 2850 [3]), the IAB has reviewed this
   proposal and supports it as an operational change that is in line
   with the respective roles of the IESG and RFC Editor.  The IAB
   continues to monitor the range of organized discussions within the
   IETF about potential adjustments to the IETF document publication
   processes (e.g., NEWTRK working group) and recognizes that the
   process described in this document, as well as other general IETF
   publication processes, may need to be adjusted in the light of the
   outcome of those discussions.

7.  Security Considerations

   The process change described in this memo has no direct bearing on
   the security of the Internet.

8.  Acknowledgements

   This document is a product of the IESG, and all its members deserve
   thanks for their contributions.

   This document has been reviewed in the IETF and by the RFC Editor and
   the IAB; the IAB produced the text of section 6.  Special thanks go
   to John Klensin, Keith Moore, Pete Resnick, Scott Bradner, Kurt
   Zeilenga, Eliot Lear, Paul Hoffman, Brian Carpenter, and all other
   IETF community members who provided valuable feedback on the
   document.

9.  References

9.1.  Normative Reference

   [1]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3", BCP
        9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

9.2.  Informative References

   [2]  Narten, T. and H. Alvestrand, "Guidelines for Writing an IANA
        Considerations Section in RFCs", BCP 26, RFC 2434, October 1998.

   [3]  Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, Ed., "Charter of
        the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850, May
        2000.

   [4]  Alvestrand, H., "An IESG charter", RFC 3710, February 2004.

Author's Address

   Harald Alvestrand

   EMail: harald@alvestrand.no

Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2004).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an
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Acknowledgement

   Funding for the RFC Editor function is currently provided by the
   Internet Society.

 

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