Network Working GroupD. Crocker, Editor
Internet-DraftBrandenburg InternetWorking
Intended status: InformationalOctober 26, 2010
Expires: April 29, 2011

RFC Editor Model Proposal: Executive Summary


The RFC Editor publishes the Internet's archival series of technical documents. Its activities are divided into a number of components, including the RFC Series Editor (RSE) whose responsibilities demands a very high level of technical, editorial, and managerial expertise. This Summary describes a proposal that is the result of nearly one year's effort to clarify the activities of the RFC Editor and the RSE, according to established approaches to management and oversight of a publication service, but tailored for the style of the Internet technical community, and with careful attention to the need for stable operations. [RFC5620bis]

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction

This Summary describes a proposal that is the result of nearly one year's effort to clarify the activities of the RFC Editor and the RSE, according to established approaches to management and oversight of a publication service, but tailored for the style of the Internet technical community, and with careful attention to the need for stable operations. [RFC5620bis]

The RFC Series is the Internet technical community's official medium, for communicating its work, to itself and to the rest of the world. In use since 1969, the now over 6,000 RFCs constitute one of the most extensive and influential technical series in history. Without openly available RFCs, the Internet could not have been built, operated, nor continued its remarkable advance. The RFC Editor is the community-defined and supported function that accepts documents from the community, makes textual edits to them for clarity and formal correctness, and publishes and archives those documents as RFCs for free access by everyone.

[RFC5620] first defined the components and processes of the present-day RFC Editor. These included the RFC Series Editor (RSE) as its leading component. The recent attempt to hire a new RSE proved problematic and resulted in an transitional project to propose refinements to the RFC Editor model and especially to clarify and enhance the role of the RSE.

This observation drives the clarifications and changes being proposed to the existing version of the RFC Editor Model. Although modest, these changes are fundamental to the on-going success of the RFC Editor's service to the Internet community.

However, this general leadership must be tempered by two considerations:

The changes being proposed frame the details of the RSE by combining a description of RFC Editor leadership as it would be practiced in a typical not-for-profit organization, and then applying these Internet community-driven practices:

The proposal calls for collaboration between the RSE and the IAOC:

This is analogous to the partnership between line management and finance found in most modern corporations.

Additional changes being proposed include:

Without aiming to do so, most of the changes in the updated model naturally return the RFC Editor to the style and perspective used during the first 40 years of its life, but adapted to today's structure and operation of the technical community. The proposal is based on the conclusion that this time-proven arrangement is the best way, to serve the requirements of the Internet technical community.

The changes being proposed from the existing, documented model and service are intentionally small, although substantive. Principally the lines of reporting are more explicit, as are the details of responsibility and authority.

2. RFC Editor Model

As shown in Figure 1 the RFC Editor model divides the responsibilities for the RFC Series into the following types of components:

The RFC Series Editor ('RSE') and RFC Series Advisory Group (RSAG) provide strategic oversight to RFC Editor operations and enhancement, and they resolve unusual problems, questions and concerns as they arise. Oversight of the Executive functions is provided by the IAB and the IAOC.
Documents are submitted to the RFC Editor through a variety of "streams", each of which has its own content and approval processes. The current streams are: IETF, IRTF, IAB and Independent.
The RFC Production Center (RFC PC) handles daily activities of the RFC Editor, specifically processing documents from submission to publishing. The RFC Publisher (RFC Pub) is the public archive of RFCs.
                                  +-------+  +-------+
                                  |       |  |       |
                                  |  IAB  |  |  IAOC |
                                  |       |  |       |
                                  +-----+-+  +----+--+
  +......RFC Editor.....................|.........|......+ 
  .                                     |         |      .
  .   +-------------+  +----------+  +--V---------V--+   .
  .   |             |  |          |  |               |   .
  .   | Independent |  |   RFC    |  |      RFC      |   .
  .   |   Stream    |  |  Series  <..>    Series     |   .
  .   |  Editorial  |  | Advisory |  |    Editor     |   .
  .   |   Board     |  |  Group   |  |               |   .
  .   +-----------+-+  +----------+  +-+--------+----+   .
  ............+   |                    |        |        .
              .   |                    |        |        .
+-----------+ . +-V-----------+   +----V--+   +-V-----+  .  +-----+
| Community | . | Independent |   |  RFC  |   |       |  .  |     |
|    at     +---> Submission  +--->       |   |  RFC  |  .  |  E  |
|  Large    | . |   Editor    |   |   P   |   |       |  .  |  n  |
+-----------+ . +-------------+   |   r   |   |   P   |  .  |  d  |
              +.................+ |   o   +-->|   u   +----->     |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . |   d   |   |   b   |  .  |  U  |
|           |   |             | . |   u   |   |   l   |  .  |  s  |
|    IAB    +--->     IAB     +--->   c   |   |   i   |  .  |  e  |
|           |   |             | . |   t   |   |   s   |  .  |  r  |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . |   i   |   |   h   |  .  |  s  |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . |   o   |   |   r   |  .  |  &  |
|           |   |             | . |   n   |   |       |  .  |  R  |
|   IRTF    +--->    IRSG     +--->       |   |       |  .  |  e  |
|           |   |             | . |   C   |   |       |  .  |  a  |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . |   e   |   |       |  .  |  d  |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . |   n   |   |       |  .  |  e  |
|           |   |             | . |   t   |   |       |  .  |  r  |
|   IETF    +--->    IESG     +--->   e   |   |       |  .  |  s  |
|           |   |             | . |   r   |   |       |  .  |     |
+-----------+   +-------------+ . +-------+   +-------+  .  +-----+
                                .                        .

Figure 1: RFC Editor Structure

2.1 Executive

2.1.1 RFC Series Editor Responsibilities

The RFC Series Editor is responsible for, and has authority in, the following areas:

Duties of the RSE include: Professional Qualifications

The RFC Series Editor provides general and editorial leadership of the RFC Editor, and meets the following qualifications:

2.1.2 RFC Series Advisory Group (RSAG)

The RSAG provides expert, informed guidance in matters affecting the RFC Series' operation and development. It provides advice principally to the RSE and aids in RSE and RFC Editor connection to and alignment with the community.

RSAG full (non-liaison) members are all at-large members; they do not represent a particular RFC stream or any organizations. They are selected by the RSE for their experience and interest in the RFC Series as well as in editing and publishing. Outside (non community members) editorial and publishing experts may be members, especially well-known leaders in technical writing and publications. In addition to full members, each RFC stream approver will appoint a liaison to the RSAG to provide context specific to their stream.

2.2 Operations

2.2.1 RFC Production Center

RFC Production is performed by a paid contractor. Under the direction of the RSE, their responsibilities include:

2.2.2 RFC Publisher

The RFC Publisher comprises the publicly-accessible computing resources where RFCs and related information are archived and the promotion of its availability. Included are the management services required to support and maintain that capability. These activities are under general supervision of the RSE.

RFC Publisher responsibilities include:

2.3 Streams

The current streams are: IETF, IRTF, IAB and Independent. Their depiction in Figure 1 distinguishes between the sources of documents and the approvers of documents.

Details about the streams are provided in [RFC5742], [RFC5743].

3. Considerations

3.1 IANA Considerations

This document entails no IANA considerations

3.2 Security Considerations

This document entails no Security considerations.

4. References

4.1 Normative References

[RFC5620bis]Kowack, G., Ed. and Internet Architecture Board, “(pre-)draft-IAB-kowack-RFC-Editor-Model(V2)”, I-D draft-iab-kowack-RFC5620bis.

4.2 Informative References

[RFC4844]Daigle, L. and IAB, “”, 4844 RFC, July 2007.
[RFC5620]Kolkman, O. and IAB, “RFC Series Editor Model (Version 1)”, RFC 5620, August 2009.
[RFC5742]Alvestrand, H. and R. Housley, “IESG Procedures for Handling of Independent and IRTF Stream Submissions”, RFC 5742, December 2009.
[RFC5743]Falk, A., “Definition of an Internet Research Task Force (IRTF) Document Stream”, RFC 5743, December 2009.

Author's Address

Dave Crocker (editor) Brandenburg InternetWorkingEMail:

A. Re-Establishing an RFC Editor Stream

Before publication of [RFC4844], the RFC Editor could produce RFC Editor-related documents whenever they felt it necessary, without approval from other entities. [RFC4844] eliminated this capability. The stream should be re-instituted to distinguish RFC Editor-related policy, structure and process documents from other RFCs.

B. Resolution of Disagreements

B.1 Disagreements between RFC Editor Components and Model Participants

If there is a continuing disagreement between participants and/or functions of the RFC Editor, they should ask the RSE to undertake a formal review. RSE decisions of this type are limited to the functioning of the RFC Editor processes and evaluation of whether current policies are being implemented appropriately or need adjustment. Final decisions about the technical content of individual documents are the exclusive responsibility of the stream approvers for those documents

If a disagreement or decision has immediate or anticipated future contractual consequences, the Series Editor must identify the issue to the IAOC and, if the RSAG has provided related advice she should forward that to the IAOC.

B.2 Resolution of Inter-Stream Conflicts

Any stream approver may request RSE review of an inter-stream conflict at any time. Review by the RSE must include assembling a review committee of four disinterested RSAG members plus the RSE, who will chair the committee. The RFC Series Editor will resolve inter-stream conflicts. The IAB may review the decision of the RSE for process correctness. The community may revisit the decision of the RSE through the normal process of community consensus and documentation in a new RFC.

C. RSE Search and Selection Process

This appendix describes the structures and processes for finding and selecting the first long-term RFC Series Editor, specifically during late 2010 and early 2011.

A 7-member RSE Search and Selection (SSC) committee will consist of five regular (voting) members:

plus two non-voting advisors:

Upon completion of the selection process, the IAB will review the SSC process, in a manner similar to the review provided for a Nomcom process.