Updating when Standards Track Documents may Refer Normatively to Documents at a Lower Level
Network Working Group B. Leiba
Internet-Draft Huawei Technologies
Updates: 3967 (if approved) December 09, 2016
Intended status: Best Current Practice
Expires: June 10, 2017
Updating when Standards Track Documents may Refer Normatively to
Documents at a Lower Level
RFC 3967 specifies a process for allowing normative references to
documents at lower maturity levels ("downrefs"), which involves
calling out the downref explicitly in the last call notice. That
requirement has proven to be unnecessarily strict, and this document
updates RFC 3967, allowing the IESG more flexibility in accepting
downrefs in Standards Track documents.
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Leiba Expires June 10, 2017 [Page 1]
Internet-Draft Document Down-Ref Update December 2016
[RFC3967] notes the importance of assuring that normative references
from Standards Track and Best Current Practice (BCP) documents are
appropriately mature, and specifies a process for allowing normative
references to documents at lower maturity levels ("downrefs"). That
process starts at Last Call (see Section 3 of [RFC3967]):
For Standards Track or BCP documents requiring normative reference
to documents of lower maturity, the normal IETF Last Call
procedure will be issued, with the need for the downward reference
explicitly documented in the Last Call itself. Any community
comments on the appropriateness of downward references will be
considered by the IESG as part of its deliberations.
Section 2 of [RFC3967] lists some conditions under which downrefs may
make sense. In addition to those, it has become common for working
groups to produce foundational documents at Informational status,
which contain important information such as terminology definitions
and architectural design and considerations, and those documents are
often needed as normative references in the Standards Track protocol
documents that follow.
The requirement to explicitly mention the downrefs and the need for
them in the Last Call message has proven to be unnecessarily
restrictive, and has often resulted in unnecessary repetitions of
Last Call, with the corresponding delay and with no real benefit.
2. The IESG's Responsibility with Respect to Downrefs
The process in RFC 3967 is hereby updated to specify that explicitly
documenting the downward references in the Last Call message is
strongly recommended, but not required. The responsible AD should
still check for downrefs before sending out the last call notice, but
if an undetected downref is noticed during last call or IESG review,
any need to repeat the last call is at the discretion of the IESG.
However, the process in RFC 3967 is not fundamentally altered: If the
IESG decides not to repeat the last call, the status of the affected
downrefs is not changed, and the process in RFC 3967 will still apply
if those downrefs are used in the future.
This gives the IESG the responsibility to determine the actual
maturity level of the downward reference with respect to the document
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