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Experiment in Exploratory Group Formation within the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
RFC 5111

Document Type RFC - Experimental (January 2008)
Was draft-aboba-sg-experiment (individual in gen area)
Authors Lakshminath R. Dondeti , Dr. Bernard D. Aboba
Last updated 2015-10-14
RFC stream Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
IESG Responsible AD Jari Arkko
Send notices to (None)
RFC 5111
Network Working Group                                           B. Aboba
Request for Comments: 5111                         Microsoft Corporation
Category: Experimental                                        L. Dondeti
                                                          QUALCOMM, Inc.
                                                            January 2008

          Experiment in Exploratory Group Formation within the
                Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)

Status of This Memo

   This memo defines an Experimental Protocol for the Internet
   community.  It does not specify an Internet standard of any kind.
   Discussion and suggestions for improvement are requested.
   Distribution of this memo is unlimited.


   This document describes an RFC 3933 experiment in the Working Group
   formation process, known as the Exploratory Group.  Exploratory
   Groups may be created as the first step toward Working Group
   formation, or as an intermediate step between a Birds of a Feather
   (BOF) session and Working Group creation.  Exploratory Groups are
   focused on completion of prerequisites for Working Group formation,
   and as a result they have a short life-time, with limited
   opportunities for milestone extension.

Table of Contents

   1. Introduction ....................................................2
      1.1. Requirements ...............................................4
   2. Exploratory Group Formation .....................................4
   3. The Experiment ..................................................5
      3.1. Success Metrics ............................................5
   4. Security Considerations .........................................6
   5. Normative References ............................................6
   6. Acknowledgments .................................................6

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1.  Introduction

   "IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures" [RFC2418] describes
   the Working Group formation process within the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  As noted in RFC 2418 [RFC2418] Section 2.1:

      When determining whether it is appropriate to create a working
      group, the Area Director(s) and the IESG will consider several

      - Are the issues that the working group plans to address clear and
        relevant to the Internet community?

      - Are the goals specific and reasonably achievable, and achievable
        within a reasonable time frame?

      - What are the risks and urgency of the work, to determine the
        level of effort required?

      - Do the working group's activities overlap with those of another
        working group?

      - Is there sufficient interest within the IETF in the working
        group's topic with enough people willing to expend the effort to
        produce the desired result (e.g., a protocol specification)?

      - Is there enough expertise within the IETF in the working group's
        topic, and are those people interested in contributing in the
        working group?

      - Does a base of interested consumers (end-users) appear to exist
        for the planned work?

      - Does the IETF have a reasonable role to play in the
        determination of the technology?

      - Are all known intellectual property rights relevant to the
        proposed working group's efforts issues understood?

      - Is the proposed work plan an open IETF effort or is it an
        attempt to "bless" non-IETF technology where the effect of input
        from IETF participants may be limited?

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      - Is there a good understanding of any existing work that is
        relevant to the topics that the proposed working group is to
        pursue?  This includes work within the IETF and elsewhere.

      - Do the working group's goals overlap with known work in another
        standards body, and if so is adequate liaison in place?

   In some situations, while interest on the part of IETF participants
   and end-users may be evident, and the relevance to the Internet
   community may be demonstrated, the answer to other questions (such as
   an understanding of existing work, clarity or achievability of goals,
   or overlap with existing working groups or standards bodies) may not
   be as clear.  In the past, the likely outcome in this circumstance
   has been to postpone Working Group formation or even Birds of a
   Feather (BOF) sessions until satisfactory answers are forthcoming.
   However, in practice this may leave the status of the potential
   Working Group officially undetermined for months or even years.
   While the Area Directors should provide potential Working Group
   participants timely updates on the status of the potential Working
   Group and insight into IESG or IAB concerns, currently there is no
   mechanism to track progress toward Working Group creation, and as a
   result, participants may not have a clear understanding of the status
   or the next steps.  Also, the lack of formal recognition may
   negatively affect the motivation of the participants, and may leave
   those who have not followed the effort closely with an impression
   that no work is going on.

   This document describes an RFC 3933 [RFC3933] experiment in the
   Working Group (WG) formation process, known as the Exploratory Group
   (EG).  Exploratory Group milestones are focused on completion of
   prerequisites for Working Group formation, and as a result they are
   expected to conclude within a short time frame, with limited
   opportunities for milestone extension.

   This Exploratory Group experiment does not alter the Working Group
   formation guidelines described in RFC 2418 [RFC2418] Section 2.1, or
   the Internet Standards Process described in RFC 2026 [RFC2026].
   Rather, it builds on these existing processes, introducing an element
   of formality which may be useful in clarifying IESG and/or IAB
   concerns relating to Working Group formation criteria and motivating
   more rapid progress toward their resolution.  Since Exploratory Group
   documents (including the EG Charter and potential WG Charter) are
   reviewed and comments are tracked using existing tools and processes,
   feedback is available to Exploratory Group chairs and authors,
   providing for transparency and accountability.

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1.1.  Requirements

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   document are to be interpreted as described in [RFC2119].

2.  Exploratory Group Formation

   If at any point during the Working Group formation process, relevance
   to the Internet community and interest within the IETF and end-user
   community has been demonstrated, but one or more Working Group
   formation criteria outlined in RFC 2418 [RFC2418] Section 2.1 has not
   yet been met, the IESG MAY propose that an Exploratory Group be
   formed.  Exploratory Groups MAY be created as the first step toward
   Working Group formation, or as an intermediate step between an
   initial Birds of a Feather (BOF) session and Working Group creation.
   The formation of an Exploratory Group after a second BOF is NOT

   Since the goal of an Exploratory Group is to put in place the
   prerequisites for formation of a Working Group more rapidly than
   might otherwise be possible, Exploratory Groups SHOULD initially be
   chartered for a period of six months to twelve months, with six
   months being the default.  While the IESG MAY extend the initial
   Exploratory Group milestones by an additional six months, extensions
   beyond this are NOT RECOMMENDED.  The Exploratory Group Charter
   SHOULD include at least the following "basic milestones":

      o Development of a Working Group Charter.

      o Development of a document demonstrating fulfillment of the
        Working Group formation criteria described in RFC 2418 [RFC2418]
        Section 2.1.

   The IESG MAY also include additional milestones within an Exploratory
   Group charter (such as development of a problem statement or
   requirements document and/or completion of a review of the literature
   or current practices), as long as these additional milestones do not
   compromise the ability of the Exploratory Group to deliver on the
   basic milestones in a timely way.  A Exploratory Group charter MUST
   NOT include milestones relating to development of standards track
   documents or protocol specifications.

   Since the Exploratory Group experiment is not intended as a
   substitute for the existing Working Group formation process,
   Exploratory Groups SHOULD be formed only in situations where the
   prerequisites for formation of a WG are likely to be met if the EG
   successfully completes the basic milestones.

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3.  The Experiment

   This experiment runs for a period of 18 months from IESG approval of
   the experiment.  During the period of the experiment, the IESG MAY
   approve formation of as many as three Exploratory Groups.  The IESG
   MUST inform the community in a public statement of any decisions for
   Exploratory Group formation approved under this experiment.  Such a
   statement SHOULD include a description of specific Exploratory Group
   that was formed.

   Given that this is an experiment, the intent is for Exploratory
   Groups to be handled identically to Working Groups in terms of IETF
   process, tools and infrastructure; no additional burden is to be
   imposed on the IETF Secretariat.  Other than the abbreviated
   Exploratory Group charter, the process for formation of an
   Exploratory Group is identical to that of a Working Group, including
   review by the IAB and IESG, announcement of the potential Exploratory
   Group, and request for review by the IETF community.  The operating
   rules of an Exploratory Group (openness, meeting requirements, etc.)
   are identical to Working Groups.  From the point of view of IETF
   infrastructure (tools, membership in the WGCHAIRS mailing list,
   process rules, Exploratory Group Charter pages, etc.)  Exploratory
   Groups are treated identically to Working Groups, with the exception
   that Exploratory Group names should include "EG" within the name
   (e.g. "EXAMPLEEG"), so as to clearly differentiate them from Working

   Review of Exploratory Group documents will utilize the same tracking
   tools and processes (including PROTO shepherding) as other IETF
   documents; this allows feedback to be viewed by Exploratory Group
   Chairs and participants, as well as providing additional clarity on
   next steps.  Formation of an Exploratory Group requires the
   appointment of an Exploratory Group Chair, and a well defined set of
   Working Group formation criteria (agreement on the Working Group
   Charter, review of the formation criteria, problem statement or
   requirements document, etc.).

3.1.  Success Metrics

   Since one of the goals of this experiment is to enable the more rapid
   formation of Working Groups, the success of an individual Exploratory
   Group, as well as the experiment, can be measured based on the
   progress made toward Working Group formation.  Useful metrics

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   Progress on Basic Milestones
        A Exploratory Group that does not make progress on its basic
        milestones cannot be judged successful, regardless of its other
        achievements, such as progress on a literature review or
        requirements document.  Progress on the basic milestones is
        measured by whether they are completed within the time-frame
        specified in the initial Exploratory Group Charter, and whether
        feedback from the IESG, IAB and IETF community is positive,
        leading the IESG to vote to form a Working Group.

   Mailing List Activity
        Since one of the goals of the Exploratory Group experiment is to
        avoid a potential loss of interest among participants, evidence
        of continued engagement on the part of Exploratory Group
        participants based on mailing list activity is a potential
        success metric.  Conversely, an Exploratory Group whose mailing
        list shows minimal traffic would probably not be a good
        candidate for milestone extension.

4.  Security Considerations

   This document describes an experiment in the formation of Exploratory
   Groups.  It has no security considerations.

5.  Normative References

   [RFC2026]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision
              3", BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [RFC2119]  Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [RFC2418]  Bradner, S., "IETF Working Group Guidelines and
              Procedures", BCP 25, RFC 2418, September 1998.

   [RFC3933]  Klensin, J. and S. Dawkins, "A Model for IETF Process
              Experiments", BCP 93, RFC 3933, November 2004.

6.  Acknowledgments

   The authors would like to thank Jari Arkko, Brian Carpenter, Thomas
   Narten, Lars Eggert, Eric Rescorla, Sam Hartman, and John Klensin for
   valuable input.

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Authors' Addresses

   Bernard Aboba
   Microsoft Corporation
   One Microsoft Way
   Redmond, WA 98052

   Phone: +1 425 706 6605
   Fax:   +1 425 936 7329

   Lakshminath Dondeti
   5775 Morehouse Dr
   San Diego, CA

   Phone: +1 858-845-1267

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Full Copyright Statement

   Copyright (C) The IETF Trust (2008).

   This document is subject to the rights, licenses and restrictions
   contained in BCP 78, and except as set forth therein, the authors
   retain all their rights.

   This document and the information contained herein are provided on an

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