IETF Guidelines for Conduct
RFC 3184

Document Type RFC - Best Current Practice (October 2001; No errata)
Obsoleted by RFC 7154
Also known as BCP 54
Author Susan Harris 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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IESG IESG state RFC 3184 (Best Current Practice)
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Network Working Group                                          S. Harris
Request for Comments: 3184                                 Merit Network
BCP: 54                                                     October 2001
Category: Best Current Practice

                      IETF Guidelines for Conduct

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 (2001).  All Rights Reserved.


   This document provides a set of guidelines for personal interaction
   in the Internet Engineering Task Force.  The Guidelines recognize the
   diversity of IETF participants, emphasize the value of mutual
   respect, and stress the broad applicability of our work.

1. Introduction

   The work of the IETF relies on cooperation among a broad cultural
   diversity of peoples, ideas, and communication styles.  The
   Guidelines for Conduct inform our interaction as we work together to
   develop multiple, interoperable technologies for the Internet.  All
   IETF participants aim to abide by these Guidelines as we build
   consensus in person, at IETF meetings, and in e-mail.  If conflicts
   arise, we resolve them according to the procedures outlined in BCP

2. Principles of Conduct

   1. IETF participants extend respect and courtesy to their colleagues
      at all times.

      IETF participants come from diverse origins and backgrounds and
      are equipped with multiple capabilities and ideals.  Regardless of
      these individual differences, participants treat their colleagues
      with respect as persons--especially when it is difficult to agree
      with them.  Seeing from another's point of view is often
      revealing, even when it fails to be compelling.

Harris                   Best Current Practice                  [Page 1]
RFC 3184              IETF Guidelines for Conduct           October 2001

      English is the de facto language of the IETF, but it is not the
      native language of many IETF participants.  Native English
      speakers attempt to speak clearly and a bit slowly and to limit
      the use of slang in order to accommodate the needs of all

   2. IETF participants develop and test ideas impartially, without
      finding fault with the colleague proposing the idea.

      We dispute ideas by using reasoned argument, rather than through
      intimidation or ad hominem attack.  Or, said in a somewhat more
      IETF-like way:

            "Reduce the heat and increase the light"

   3. IETF participants think globally, devising solutions that meet the
      needs of diverse technical and operational environments.

      The goal of the IETF is to maintain and enhance a working, viable,
      scalable, global Internet, and the problems we encounter are
      genuinely very difficult.  We understand that "scaling is the
      ultimate problem" and that many ideas quite workable in the small
      fail this crucial test.  IETF participants use their best
      engineering judgment to find the best solution for the whole
      Internet, not just the best solution for any particular network,
      technology, vendor, or user.  We follow the intellectual property
      guidelines outlined in BCP 9.[2]

   4. Individuals who attend Working Group meetings are prepared to
      contribute to the ongoing work of the group.

      IETF participants who attend Working Group meetings read the
      relevant Internet-Drafts, RFCs, and e-mail archives beforehand, in
      order to familiarize themselves with the technology under
      discussion.  This may represent a challenge for newcomers, as e-
      mail archives can be difficult to locate and search, and it may
      not be easy to trace the history of longstanding Working Group
      debates.  With that in mind, newcomers who attend Working Group
      meetings are encouraged to observe and absorb whatever material
      they can, but should not interfere with the ongoing process of the
      group.  Working Group meetings run on a very limited time
      schedule, and are not intended for the education of individuals.
      The work of the group will continue on the mailing list, and many
      questions would be better expressed on the list in the months that

Harris                   Best Current Practice                  [Page 2]
RFC 3184              IETF Guidelines for Conduct           October 2001

3. Security Considerations

   IETF participants review each Internet protocol for security
   concerns, and these concerns are incorporated in the description of
   each protocol.

4. Acknowledgements

   Mike O'Dell wrote the first draft of the Guidelines for Conduct, and
   many of his thoughts, statements, and observations are included in
   this version.  Many useful editorial comments were supplied by Dave
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