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Appeal to the IAB concerning the IESG response to his appeal concerning the IESG approval of the “draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response” (JFC Morfin) - 2015-06-22
Response - 2015-07-08

8 July 2015

The  appeal from Mr. Morfin was received on June 22, 2015; it can be found here:  Jari Arkko, Marc Blanchet, Russ Housley, Andrew Sullivan, and Suzanne Woolf recused themselves from consideration of the appeal.

Mr. Morfin’s appeal concerns the IESG’s approval of draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response and the IESG’s subsequent response to his appeal to that body of their approval.   Mr. Morfin asserts that the IESG response to his appeal was inadequate because it did not address management of the transition outside the IETF (Appeal, section II) or the set of questions put forward.  Mr. Morfin further asserts that the failure to respond to these questions constitutes a failure to follow the spirit of RFC 6852 (Appeal, Section IV).  He therefore seeks these answers from the IAB (Appeal, Section VIII).  A number of these questions, but not all, relate to the relationship between the IETF consensus and IAB consensus (Appeal, Section X.)  Mr. Morfin further questions the use of RFC 2026 process for making the decision to approve draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response (Appeal, Section IX).

On addressing the transition outside IETF:

The IESG response noted that the document produced matched the chartered deliverable of the IANAPLAN working group.  The IAB notes this text within the IANAPLAN charter:

The IANAPLAN working group is chartered to produce an IETF consensus

document that describes the expected interaction between the IETF and

the operator of IETF protocol parameters registries.

This working group is chartered solely with respect to the planning

needed for the transition, and is not meant to cover other topics

related to IANA.

Addressing other matters of a broader scope would have been outside the purview of the IANAPLAN working group.  Addressing those issues in the context of an appeal of the actions of the IANAPLAN working group would be similarly inappropriate, given the charter.  The IAB therefore believes the IESG acted appropriately within IETF procedures.

On RFC 2026 procedures and venues for the discussion of future actions:

The IESG response noted that RFC 2026 appeals are available only for handling actions that have already been performed, and that they cannot be used to develop questions about potential future actions or outcomes.  Mr. Morfin agrees with this interpretation  (“This is correct and this is why this appeal implicitly questions the use of RFC 2026 process”).

The IAB concurs that RFC 2026 appeal procedures cover only actions that have already been performed. IETF procedures set out in RFC 2026 and elsewhere are more comprehensive than appeals, however, and they see participation in a working group as the appropriate way to put forward questions that relate to potential future actions or outcomes from a decision.   Where no working  group exists whose charter covers the relevant questions, an individual may propose a new working group.

Mr. Morfin did participate in the IANAPLAN working group, and the process for proposing new work does not exclude Mr. Morfin, since he can communicate his desire to create a working group to the IESG, put forward proposed charters, and communicate on mailing lists which might be set up to discuss such an effort.  The IAB therefore concludes that RFC 2026 procedures have been met in this case.  The IAB further notes that judging that existing procedures have been followed is the limit of its own authority in procedural appeals.

On the questions posed in Mr. Morfin’s appeal to the IESG.

Mr. Morfin’s appeal to the IAB suggests that the questions posed in his appeal to the IESG should be answered by the IAB in the absence of responses from the IESG.  The IAB does not concur.  The questions posed generally require the reader to judge the implications of the IETF consensus to publish draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg response. The IAB believes that the correct venue for this discussion was and is the working group mailing list. Since Mr. Morfin participated actively in the relevant working group, the IAB believes the avenue for taking up these issues both was available to him and remains available to him, since the working group mailing list is not closed.

Questions 3, 5, and 18 ask whether the IETF consensus implies something about the IAB consensus or its intended actions. There is no general ability to infer the IAB’s position from IETF consensus as the IAB may or may not concur with the consensus opinion.  In this case, the IAB explicitly supported the IANAPLAN response contained in the draft document produced, as is recorded in section 5 of the approved document (“IAB Note”).  The questions posed to the IAB do not appear to be salient to the appeal of the document action by the IESG or an appeal of the IESG response to that appeal.  We therefore judge that an appeal response is an inappropriate place to consider them. As noted in the IAB’s response to Mr. Morfin’s appeal of the publication of RFC 6852, ( questions or suggestions from the community to the IAB may be sent by mail to the IAB at or via the RFC publication process.

On the relationship of draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response to RFC 6852

RFC 6852 relates a set of principles upheld by the signatory bodies for the development of standards; those cited by Mr. Morfin are: due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance, and openness.  Mr. Morfin asserts that the application of RFC 2026 does not meet these requirements in this case (“It is my opinion that the RFC 2026 is not RFC 6852 compliant in this case”).   The IAB believes that RFC 2026 is the governing document within the IETF for the approval of working group drafts intended for informational status.  The IAB believes that RFC 2026 is consistent with RFC 6852, and that its procedures were met in this case.  As noted above, the IAB’s authority in procedural appeals is limited to judging that existing procedures have been followed. There are avenues available for modification of RFC 2026 should consensus to emerge to do so, but Mr. Morfin does not assert that there is such a consensus.


The IAB declines to annul the decision of the IESG to approve publication of draft-ietf-ianaplan-icg-response.  The IAB concurs with the IESG appeal in its analysis of the limits of the RFC 2026 appeals process, and it believes that the appeals process was followed in this case.  The working group process remains open to Mr. Morfin, as do normal avenues of communication for his questions and concerns.