Getting Rid of the Cruft: Report from an Experiment in Identifying and Reclassifying Obsolete Standards Documents
RFC 4450

Document Type RFC - Informational (March 2006; Errata)
Last updated 2013-03-02
Stream IETF
Formats plain text pdf html
Stream WG state (None)
Consensus Unknown
Document shepherd No shepherd assigned
IESG IESG state RFC 4450 (Informational)
Telechat date
Responsible AD Brian Carpenter
Send notices to sob@harvard.edu,lear@cisco.com,harald@alvestrand.no
Network Working Group                                            E. Lear
Request for Comments: 4450                            Cisco Systems GmbH
Category: Informational                                    H. Alvestrand
                                                           Cisco Systems
                                                              March 2006

 Getting Rid of the Cruft: Report from an Experiment in Identifying and
               Reclassifying Obsolete Standards Documents

Status of This Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard of any kind.  Distribution of this
   memo is unlimited.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (C) The Internet Society (2006).

Abstract

   This memo documents an experiment to review and classify Proposed
   Standards as not reflecting documented practice within the world
   today.  The results identify a set of documents that were marked as
   Proposed Standards that are now reclassified as Historic.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction and History ........................................1
   2. Bulk Decommissioning Procedure ..................................2
   3. Input, Mailing list, Output, and Observations ...................2
   4. Discussion ......................................................4
   5. Next Steps ......................................................5
   6. IANA Considerations .............................................6
   7. Security Considerations .........................................6
   8. Acknowledgements ................................................6
   9. Normative References ............................................6

1.  Introduction and History

   RFC 2026, and RFC 1602 before it, specified timelines for review of
   immature (draft or proposed) standards.  The purpose of such review
   was to determine whether such documents should be advanced, retired,
   or developed further [1].

Lear & Alvestrand            Informational                      [Page 1]
RFC 4450                     Cruft Removal                    March 2006

   This procedure has never been followed in the history of the IETF.
   Since this procedure has not been followed, members of the community
   have suggested that the retiring of a document to Historic is a
   significant event, which should be justified carefully -- leading to
   the production of documents such as RFC 2556 (OSI Connectionless
   Transport Services on top of UDP Applicability Statement for Historic
    Status) and RFC 3166 (Request to Move RFC 1403 to Historic Status).

   Such documents require significant time and effort on the part of
   authors, area directors, and the RFC Editor.

2.  Bulk Decommissioning Procedure

   From the Fall of 2004 through the Spring of 2005, the authors
   conducted an experiment to determine how many Proposed Standards
   could be considered obsolete.  The experiment was operated as
   follows:

   o  Identify a group of documents that are standards.
   o  Assume by default that each document will be retired.
   o  Create a mailing list for discussion with a policy of open access.
   o  Allow any document to be removed from the list of those to be
      retired for virtually any reason, so long as a reason is provided.
   o  Present the list to the working group, IETF, and IESG for review.
   o  Revise list based on comments.
   o  Write up results.

   The initial intent of the authors was to present a list of documents
   to be reclassified as Historic.  The NEWTRK working group supported
   this view.  The IESG, and the IETF as a community, makes the final
   decision.  We will discuss this further below.

3.  Input, Mailing list, Output, and Observations

   We started with our initial document set being all RFCs with numbers
   less than 2000 and a status of Proposed Standard.  The input we used,
   starting November 25, 2004, can be found in Appendix A.  There were
   some 125 documents in all.

   A mailing list, old-standards@alvestrand.no, was created to discuss
   and remove candidates from this list.  A call for participation was
   issued to the IETF-Announce list on or around the November 15, 2004.
   There were 29 members of the mailing list.  Approximately 244
   messages were sent to the list.  People were encouraged to consider
   the question of whether or not an implementer would either write a
   new implementation or maintain an existing one.

Lear & Alvestrand            Informational                      [Page 2]
RFC 4450                     Cruft Removal                    March 2006

   After some months the list of documents to be considered was reduced
   considerably.  This list was then forwarded to the IETF discussion
Show full document text