Re: I-D Action: draft-wilde-updating-rfcs-00.txt

Spencer Dawkins at IETF <> Wed, 21 December 2016 18:03 UTC

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From: Spencer Dawkins at IETF <>
Date: Wed, 21 Dec 2016 12:03:28 -0600
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Subject: Re: I-D Action: draft-wilde-updating-rfcs-00.txt
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So, backing up a tiny bit ...

What follows is me, speaking as a currently serving AD, and as a survivor
of NEWTRK (so, an inmate who is now helping to steer the asylum, although I
didn't take it over).

I have had the pleasure of talking with the most recent three IESGs about
what UPDATES actually means in relationship to a specific document on a
current telechat agenda. Those have not been easy discussions.

I have been talking to Rick about AD sponsoring some version of his draft,
and he's not quite sure what to do next, because any discussion of his
draft opens a Pandora's Box of stuff that's broken about the way we have
tried to document protocols over a very long period of time. I was hoping
that it would be possible to do something useful with a narrow scope, that
doesn't involve fixing everything, but might fix a few things.

I'd like to hear opinions about that.

More broadly,
is a perfectly serviceable list of stuff that was broken in 2006, and since
we haven't changed much since 2006, still seems to be broken today.

What I'm remembering about NEWTRK, and other folks may remember it
differently, was that we had pretty ambitious goals, and proposals like reflected
those goals.

For instance, I'm re-reading (one of
the few NEWTRK documents I'm not even acknowledged in - but I liked it a
lot at the time), and remembering that we assumed that all STDs would have
ISDs (even if they were basically formulaic, with little or no explanation

NEWTRK petered out almost simultaneously with the beginning of narrative
minutes for IESG telechats, so it's hard for non-IESG members to
reconstruct all the concerns expressed at the time, but I'm remembering
discussions about who would write this descriptive text, and who would
approve it - and talking to at least a couple of IESG members after the
fact, who'd told me they'd assumed the IESG would have to provide those
descriptions, or at least approve them.

What I'm wondering now, is how un-ambitious we could be, and still do
something useful to get started.

John did a couple of examples of ISDs, in (John,
is that the best pointer for this?) on SMTP (complicated) and on POP/IMAP
Authentication with CRAM-MD5 (much simpler), circa 2004 or so.

Is it worth taking a look at that, and producing samples for a couple of
protocols that are more complicated than a single RFC, and less complicated
than (for SIP) or (for TCP), and seeing what we end
up with?

Administrivia: both Jari's position on the IESG and mine are under review
by the current Nomcom, and I'm loath to get very far down the road without
talking to Jari's replacement, and without knowing whether I will be able
to AD sponsor drafts after IETF 98, so I'd like to do some homework now,
but not go crazy yet.