Considerations for Having a Successful "Bar BOF" Side Meeting
RFC 6771

Document Type RFC - Informational (October 2012; No errata)
Was draft-eggert-successful-bar-bof (individual in gen area)
Authors Lars Eggert  , Gonzalo Camarillo 
Last updated 2018-12-20
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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                         L. Eggert
Request for Comments: 6771                                        NetApp
Category: Informational                                     G. Camarillo
ISSN: 2070-1721                                                 Ericsson
                                                            October 2012

     Considerations for Having a Successful "Bar BOF" Side Meeting


   New work is typically brought to the IETF by a group of interested
   individuals.  IETF meetings are a convenient place for such groups to
   hold informal get-togethers to discuss and develop their ideas.  Such
   side meetings, which are not reflected in the IETF meeting agenda and
   have no official status, are often half-jokingly referred to as "bar
   BOF" sessions to acknowledge that some of them may eventually lead to
   a proposal for an official IETF BOF ("birds of a feather" session) on
   a given topic.

   During recent IETF meetings, many such "bar BOF" get-togethers have
   been organized and moderated in ways that made them increasingly
   indistinguishable from official IETF BOFs or sometimes even IETF
   working group meetings.

   This document argues that this recent trend is not helpful in
   reaching the ultimate goal of many of these get-togethers, i.e., to
   efficiently discuss and develop ideas for new IETF work.  It
   encourages the organizers to consider the benefits of holding them in
   much less formal settings and to also consider alternative means to
   develop their ideas.  This document also recommends that the
   community abandon the term "bar BOF" and instead use other terms such
   as "side meeting", in order to stress the unofficial nature of these

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is
   published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force
   (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has
   received public review and has been approved for publication by the
   Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents
   approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet
   Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

Eggert & Camarillo            Informational                     [Page 1]
RFC 6771            Successful Bar BOF Side Meetings        October 2012

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
   and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2012 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

1.  Introduction

   A typical IETF meeting is full of sessions of different kinds.  In
   addition to official IETF and IRTF sessions listed in the meeting
   agenda (such as working and research group meetings, area meetings,
   or plenaries), many other unofficial meetings take place.  These
   include meetings between IETF participants from one organization or
   company, design team meetings, Internet-Draft editing sessions,
   interoperability testing, directorate lunches, and many others.

   Some of these unofficial get-togethers are organized by individual
   participants with a common interest in initiating new IETF work of
   some kind.  New IETF work often fits into an existing working group
   and does not require an official "birds of a feather" (BOF) session
   [RFC5434] to determine community consensus.  Nevertheless, the phrase
   "bar BOF" has commonly been used in the community when talking about
   such informal get-togethers that are held to discuss potential new
   work.  [RFC4677] (which has been obsoleted by [RFC6722])
   characterizes a "bar BOF" as

      an unofficial get-together, usually in the late evening, during
      which a lot of work gets done over drinks.  Bar BOFs spring up in
      many different places around an IETF meeting, such as restaurants,
      coffee shops, and (if we are so lucky) pools.

   During recent IETF meetings, "bar BOFs" have become increasingly
   indistinguishable from official IETF BOFs or sometimes even IETF
   working group meetings.  The symptoms of this trend are unofficial
   "bar BOFs" that are held in regular IETF meeting rooms with

Eggert & Camarillo            Informational                     [Page 2]
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