Network Working Group                                        H. Flanagan
Internet-Draft                                                RFC Editor
Intended status: Informational                          20 November 2019
Expires: 23 May 2020

                        RFC Series Model Process


   The RFC Series has come to a crossroads where questions must be
   answered regarding how the Series should be managed, the role of the
   RFC Series Editor, and the oversight of the RFC Editor function.
   This draft offers a proposal to form a new IAB program called the RFC
   Editor Future Development Program.  This proposal is based on the
   discussions held during three virtual meetings in September and
   October 2019, as well as the RSEME session at IETF 106, and requests
   a new, open IAB program that will drive consensus around any changes
   to the RFC Editor model.  The program will require extensive
   community engagement and outreach to a broad set of stakeholder

Status of This Memo

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   license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document.

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   Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights
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Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Summaries from Virtual Meetings and IETF 106  . . . . . . . .   2
     2.1.  First Virtual Meeting Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.2.  Second Virtual Meeting Summary  . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
     2.3.  Third Virtual Meeting Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     2.4.  RSEME session at IETF 106 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   3.  Proposal - RFC Editor Future Development Program  . . . . . .   4
   4.  Timeline  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   5.  Informative References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Appendix A.  Acknowledgments  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   7

1.  Introduction

   The RFC Series has come to a crossroads where questions must be
   answered regarding how the Series should be managed, the role of the
   RFC Series Editor, and the oversight of the RFC Editor function.  The
   RFC Editor, editor and publisher of the Series, publishes RFCs for
   the IETF, the IRTF, the IAB, and the Independent Submissions streams.
   Those RFCs are referred to by other Standards Development
   Organizations (SDOs) and the users of their documents, by
   organizations and governments in their procurement processes, by
   academics, by network operators, and more.  Decisions on the future
   of the RFC Editor and the RFC Series must include input from, and
   reflect considerations of the needs and uses of, both the producers
   and the consumers of RFCs.

2.  Summaries from Virtual Meetings and IETF 106

   Three virtual meetings were organized, scheduled to be sensitive to a
   wide range of time zones, to discuss the process by which the
   communities of interest can determine consensus on the RFC Series
   model.  These meetings were coordinated by Heather Flanagan, RFC
   Series Editor, and explicit invitations were sent to:

   *  IETF, IRTF, IAB, and Independent Submission authors and
      participants via various mailing lists, including the rfc-
      interest, ietf-announce, and wgchairs mailing lists

   *  IETF liaison contacts [IETF-LIAISONS]

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   Invitations were considered for ISOC chapter heads and NANOG Board
   leadership, but the invitations were not delivered in time for the

2.1.  First Virtual Meeting Summary

   Approximately 24 people attended this meeting.

   The stream managers and and a small number of community at-large
   members should be part of a committee that would work much like a
   design team [DESIGN].  A chair and a co-chair should be chosen from
   within that committee to run a working group.  That working group is
   not to be part of the IETF (though much participation is expected
   from within the IETF community).  An important characteristic of the
   chair (and possibly co-chair) is clearly identifying any potential
   Conflict of Interest that the chair(s) have before they call

   A key characteristic and requirement of the working group is openness
   of participation and process.

   While external stakeholders may not be interested in defining and
   developing the RFC Editor model, they should still be offered another
   opportunity to comment on any plans after those plans are developed
   (and before a full consensus call is made).

2.2.  Second Virtual Meeting Summary

   Approximately 12 people attended this meeting.

   Despite the current tension between the community and the IAB, the
   IAB is the correct home, from a logical and organizational
   architecture perspective, to host the discussion for the RFC Editor
   model.  The IAB should organize a program that follows the principles
   of open participation (e.g., the model of an IETF working group), and
   run a community-wide call for volunteers to both find chairs for this
   group and to invite participation.  The program should have a clear,
   concrete, and objective charter that can be published as an Internet-
   Draft.  Organizations external to the IETF should be invited to
   participate as well as to offer feedback on any proposed products
   from the group (assuming the external organizations do not actively
   participate in developing those final products).

   Reaching consensus through this group should be expected to take a
   long time, but it is important that that time be taken so as to avoid
   a bigger mess in the future.

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2.3.  Third Virtual Meeting Summary

   Approximately 6 people attended this meeting.

   While there was no agreement on whether or not the group that drives
   the discussion and consensus needs to be an entirely new group
   outside the existing leadership structure, there was consensus that
   some IAB involvement is critical.  One suggestion was to bring in
   past IAB and IETF chairs as core membership to the group, and that
   the group must look to the long-term structure of the RFC Editor (as
   opposed to looking at short-term, tactical matters).

   In terms of what needs to be decided for the long-term (where 'long-
   term' was defined as 6-8 years), structural issues that will need to
   be considered: business (funding), administration (hiring/firing) as
   well as more about publishing documents (who gets to say no to
   publishing something).  There will be a role for many of the existing
   groups (e.g., IETF LLC Board, since they hold contracts).  The model
   must be clear around when the RSE can be overridden (and when they
   can't be).  The model cannot be designed around one individual or
   entity, which means the roles themselves have to be more clearly

2.4.  RSEME session at IETF 106

   The session held during IETF 106 [RSEME] was a review of the ideas
   generated during the virtual meetings and a discussion on the
   proposal laid out in the -02 version of this draft.  The consensus of
   the room was, first and foremost, to focus on doing the right thing
   over making sure an end-to-end process was defined at the start.
   Some decisions, such as where to ultimately publish any outputs of
   the proposed program should be made later when there was some idea of
   what, exactly, would be proposed as the final outcomes of the

   The proposal below has been revised based on the discussion.  This
   draft is ultimately intended as guidance for next steps, but will not
   itself turn into an RFC.

3.  Proposal - RFC Editor Future Development Program

   The proposal, based on the calls and the session at IETF 106, is to
   request the immediate formation of a new IAB program.  The role of
   the IAB is to convene this program and to ultimately verify that the
   program and any outputs it generates have followed a consensus
   process.  The work and the participation should be open and
   transparent, and must focus on the long-term needs of the RFC Series
   and the communities it serves.

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   An IAB program, run correctly and with community accountability,
   covers many of the required characteristic of this group.  For
   example, an IAB program is designed to support a long-term
   perspective, and to exist beyond any given IAB cohort.[IAB-PROGRAM]

   Note that while programs are not generally required to produce
   minutes, this group should regularly offer updates on its activities,
   either in the form of minutes, blog posts, or other easily found
   community reports, for the sake of individuals and organizational
   entities who cannot actively participate, and to support a historic
   record of discussions and decisions.  The meetings themselves should
   always support remote participation.

   This program should be led by a chair and a co-chair, selected from
   the community.  The chair/co-chair roles are responsible for general
   outreach, whereas the IAB Program Lead will act as the liaison to the
   IAB.  In all cases, a clear Conflict of Interest statement should be
   made by both chairs, and the IAB Program Lead must be neutral in all

   Individuals chosen by the IAB, IESG, and the IRSG from among their
   memberships and with an eye towards program continuity, and the
   Independent Submissions Editor, are strongly encouraged to
   participate in this program, as recommendations will be made that
   impact all document streams.

   The program should be modeled closely on an IETF working group
   [BCP25], using a mailing list to validate consensus among the
   participants, and adhering to the IETF Note Well [BCP78] [BCP79].
   Decisions are expected to be made using rough consensus; consensus
   will be called by the chairs, and any appeals will be handled by the

   The program may choose to create one or more design teams to focus on
   specific aspects of the questions being raised; this model should
   definitely be supported if the community decides it to be useful.

   The scope of work for this group includes:

   *  Clearly defining the guiding principles that will drive any
      further decisions and discussions.

   *  Determining the full scope of responsibilities and authority
      within the RFC Editor, in particular focusing on the RFC Series
      Editor.  What is the actual driving problem?

   *  Considering and proposing business and administrative requirements
      to support any proposed changes (e.g., who decides on budget).

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   *  Soliciting input from organizations that are expected to be
      directly impacted by any changes to the RFC Editor model.

   A note about the RFC Series Oversight Committee (RSOC), also a
   program of the IAB: the RSOC should continue to oversee day-to-day
   running of the RFC Editor, and be available to assist with any
   immediate, tactical questions, as well as acting as the search
   committee for any of the roles defined by the new program.  RSOC
   members are encouraged to participate in the new program, and equally
   encouraged to request subject matter expertise from participants in
   this program on matters of job descriptions, statements of work, and
   any other areas impacted by changes in the RFC Editor model as
   recommended by this program.

   Similarly, members of the IAB and the IESG are welcome to participate
   as individuals, but should not be in any leadership role within the
   program (the IAB liaison role should not be considered a leadership
   role; liaisons are important to communication and transparency).  The
   IAB will ultimately act as the point of appeal (if necessary).

4.  Timeline

   *  IETF 106: community discussion, complete proposal

   *  November 2019: IAB to announce new program, open a community-wide
      call for volunteers for the chair and co-chair roles

   *  December 2019: IAB to create a new mailing list, select chairs,
      and solicit membership.

   *  No later than IETF 107: Program to have its initial meeting
      (interim meetings are also encouraged)

   *  No later than IETF 108: First draft(s) of defining principles;
      iterate on improvements

   *  No later than IETF 109: First draft(s) of recommendations
      regarding any changes in the RFC Editor model

5.  Informative References

   [DESIGN]   IETF, "On Design Teams",

              IAB, "IAB Programs",

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              IETF, "Liaisons", <>.


   [RSEME]    IAB, "Community Process for RSE Model Evolution (rseme)",

   [BCP25]    Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 2418, September 1998.

              Wasserman, M., "Updates to RFC 2418 Regarding the
              Management of IETF Mailing Lists", BCP 25, RFC 3934,
              October 2004.

              Resnick, P. and A. Farrel, "IETF Anti-Harassment
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 7776, March 2016.


   [BCP78]    Bradner, S., Ed. and J. Contreras, Ed., "Rights
              Contributors Provide to the IETF Trust", BCP 78, RFC 5378,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC5378, November 2008,

   [BCP79]    Bradner, S. and J. Contreras, "Intellectual Property
              Rights in IETF Technology", BCP 79, RFC 8179,
              DOI 10.17487/RFC8179, May 2017,

   [RFC7282]  Resnick, P., "On Consensus and Humming in the IETF",
              RFC 7282, DOI 10.17487/RFC7282, June 2014,

Appendix A.  Acknowledgments

   With many thanks to the individuals who attended the virtual calls
   and who engaged constructively on the mailing lists.

Author's Address

   Heather Flanagan
   RFC Editor


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