RE: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")

SM <sm@resistor.net> Fri, 30 November 2012 17:01 UTC

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Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 08:43:11 -0800
To: "George, Wes" <wesley.george@twcable.com>
From: SM <sm@resistor.net>
Subject: RE: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")
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At 06:09 30-11-2012, George, Wes wrote:
>[WEG] My original message simply notes that this is the 3rd or more 
>time in my recent memory that there has been a serious question 
>within some part of the IETF about when in a document's lifecycle 
>and maturity is the "right" time to adopt it as a WG document, and 
>whether it is appropriate to discuss an individual document in a WG 
>at any length without adopting it. It seemed odd to me that there 
>would be this much confusion on the matter, and I provided several 
>examples of different philosophies that I have observed when it 
>comes to handling this question. The response I got back indicated 
>that WG adoption of drafts isn't really "a thing" as far as the 
>official documentation of document lifecycle is concerned, which 
>made me wonder if perhaps we do as much WG adoption of drafts as we 
>do mainly out of inertia, either people doing it because that's how 
>they've seen others do it in the past, or doing it because they 
>assume it's part of the documented process, rather than for any real 
>reason. I'm not a big fan of doing things for no reason, so the 
>ensuing discussion was intended to tease this out a bit to see 
>whether we should have some clearer guidelines around WG draft 
>adoption, better education on the reasoning behind it, or whether 
>maybe we should stop doing it. Is it the largest problem facing the 
>IETF? Not by a long shot. But it seemed worth a little discussion, 
>at least to me.

You seem to have things under control in SUNSET.  After reading your 
messages to this mailing list I didn't understand what you were asking.

There is no such thing as a "right" time to adopt a document.  Look 
at it this way, if you get it right nobody will know, if you get it 
wrong the working group will say bad things about you, if you get it 
really wrong the Area Director will be on your back.  The choices for 
a working group chair are:

  (a) To get the work done

  (b) Not to do anything wrong

If you choose (a) you will end up a lot of enemies.  If you choose 
(b) you may or may not have a long career in the IETF.

It is possible to discuss an individual document in a working group 
without adopting it.  It is, as you mentioned, a matter of 
philosophy.  If you find it disruptive you can say no.

A lot of the things done in the IETF are done because we see others 
doing it.  In essence they are done for no reason.  On the Internet 
there is something called a sense of entitlement.  The author of a 
draft may assume that he has a right to a RFC number.  You can help 
him/her to get that RFC number as you were selected as working group 
chair to make everyone happy (or is it something else :-)).

I'll quote 
http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/group/edu/attachment/wiki/IETF78/IETF78-WGchairs-Adrian-Farrel.ppt?format=raw

   '"Do you think this I-D should become a WG draft?"

    - Can easily turn into a vote

    - Ask for reasons to be given to accompany a "no" opinion

    - Ask for expressions of willingness to work on or review the draft

    Avoid votes!'

>[WEG] process we don't happen to like because it adds no value or 
>confuses people or wastes time is very much a problem. But I didn't 
>bring this up because I didn't like the process, I brought it up 
>because I was seeking a little clarity on the underlying reasons we 
>use the process (at least partially to improve my own knowledge as a 
>WG chair and draft author). Thus far that clarity has still not 
>presented itself.

I'll edit what you said: "[adoption] doesn't happen because it adds 
no value or confuses people or wastes time".

It seems that what you are asking about is a sanity check.  You could 
sound some people to get a sense of which direction to take.

Regards,
-sm