Skip to main content


Meeting Slides RFC Series Oversight Committee (RSOC) (rfcedprog) IAB ASG
Title 2014-07-19-rsoc-minutes
State Active
Other versions plain text
Last updated 2022-06-10

Minutes of the July 19, 2014 RSOC Retreat

Reported by: Cindy Morgan, IETF Secretariat

- Sarah Banks
- Nevil Brownlee
- Heather Flanagan (RSE, non-voting)
- Joel Halpern (Lead)
- Tony Hansen
- Joe Hildebrand
- Alexey Melnikov (Chair)
- Cindy Morgan (Scribe)
- Ray Pelletier (IAOC Liaison, non-voting)

- Bob Hinden
- Robert Sparks


1) Selection of the RSOC Chair

  After discussion, Alexey Melnikov agreed to continue as RSOC Chair for 
  at least another 9 months.  The RSOC will revisit this topic in March

2) RPC and the SLA

  Heather Flanagan reported that the RFC Production Center is not 
  currently meeting the SLA, due to a number of reasons:

  - Large clusters of documents, totaling in hundreds of pages, were 
    requested to be expedited.
  - There was a large surge of documents in March as outgoing Area 
    Directors tried to clear their plates.
  - An experienced editor passed away in April.

  The RPC had already been trying to find an additional part-time 
  editor, but hiring takes time, and currently it takes about 18 months 
  for new editors to be fully trained and up-to-speed.

  The RSOC expressed surprise that the training and ramp-up time is so 
  long for new editors.  Joe Hildebrand noted that part of the issue is 
  that the current RPC tooling is arcane; new tools are under 
  development.  Heather Flanagan asked that the tools consider when they 
  are being written for engineers and when they are being written for 

  Joel Halpern asked if the situation is really as bad as it looks based 
  on the SLA.  Heather Flanagan replied that based on the current SLA, 
  the numbers are ugly, but noted that the RPC did not receive many 
  complaints.  She asked if the current SLA is reasonable.  Tony Hansen 
  noted that the current SLA is based on the number of documents, 
  without consideration for the documents' size.  

  The RSOC discussed ways to help new editors be trained more quickly. 
  It was noted that editors who had previous experience with the IETF 
  community tend to pick things up faster. Heather Flanagan noted that 
  one ongoing struggle for new editors is knowing what level of edit is 
  appropriate for an RFC, as the amount required generally falls between 
  publishing industry norms. 

  The RSOC discussed whether changing the current SLA would be 
  appropriate; Heather Flanagan will continue that discussion with the 
  stream managers later this week.  Heather Flanagan will also talk to 
  the RPC about what is involved in new editor training, and ask how the 
  RSOC can help.

3) ISOC, the IETF, the RFC Series, and marketing/branding

  Heather Flanagan noted that with the upcoming RFC format change, there 
  will be a change to the current recognizable RFC brand.  Heather 
  stated that her goal is to be aware of the brand while still making 
  things easier for those consuming the documents.  She added that she 
  wants the RFC series to get as much use as it can, which means 
  marketing the brand. However, there is a challenge, as many people do 
  not distinguish between the RFCs and the IETF, and the RSE does not 
  speak for the IETF.  

  Joe Hildebrand said that he would like to see input from a variety of 
  sources before the RSOC makes any decisions about branding.  Joel 
  Halpern added that the format change should be figured out before we 
  start worrying about branding. Joe added that the bulk of the branding 
  will likely be in the CSS, which will be completed as the format work 
  gets into the landing stage. Several people added that getting into 
  the branding discussion now may derail the ongoing work on new format 

  The RSOC discussed who is responsible for the RFC brand.  Alexey 
  Melnikov took an action to send an email to the IAB posing this 
  question; Joe Hildebrand will pick that discussion up with the IAB.

4) Succession planning for the RSE role

  Heather Flanagan noted that the RSE is a contracted function, but that 
  there is a very long ramp-up period before one can be truly effective 
  in the role; she said that it took her 18-24 months from becoming the 
  RSE before she felt she understood the intricacies of the various 
  groups and how they interact with each other and with the tools, and 
  what requires community input.  The biggest part is managing all of 
  the relationships.  She asked what can be done to make this all easier 
  for the next person to take on the RSE role.
  Sarah Banks suggested keeping a living document with what the current 
  RSE feels is the job.  Heather Flanagan replied that she does have 
  that, as well as a procedures manual that is archived by the RPC.  
  However, it is less about documentation, and more about the time 
  needed to build relationships.  Alexey Melnikov added that much will 
  also depend on the personalities of the chairs and the politics of the 
  time.  Ray Pelletier suggested looking at the RFC that defines the RSE 
  role and seeing if anything should be updated based on Heather's 

  Heather Flanagan asked that the RSOC keep the succession question in 
  mind, and to let her know if they have any ideas.

5) Project planning for 2015-­2018

  Heather Flanagan reported that the RSE's current short-term projects 
  include the RFC format work, DOIs, RPC tools, and the RFC Editor 
  website.  She asked what else the RSE should be doing as the format 
  work progresses and requires less of her time.  Heather noted that she 
  met with the RPC to brainstorm possibilities, and together they came 
  up with three categories of projects: 

  1) Author Services
    * Focused EFL support
    * More "traditional" publisher services, such as providing citation 
      counts, help with overall marketing (increase global exposure of 
      RFCs by working with national indexing services such as the 
      European Commission ICT database (JoinUp) to include RFCs)

  2) Technical Services
    * Comment system for RFCs
    * Context-driven search results
    * Keyword improvements and possibly a global glossary
    * Document management system (to better track versions and diffs as 
      authors and editors work on documents)
    * Errata system improvements

  3) Services to make the series more readable
    * Facilitate the discussions on a common format for packet diagrams, 
      flow diagrams, state transition diagrams, code blocks

  Heather Flanagan will update the projects page on the RSE wiki 
  <> accordingly.

6) RSE Evaluation

  The RSOC discussed the RSE evaluation in an Executive Session.