Re: BCP97bis

John C Klensin <> Mon, 18 October 2021 02:42 UTC

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Date: Sun, 17 Oct 2021 22:41:55 -0400
From: John C Klensin <>
To: "Murray S. Kucherawy" <>
cc: Russ Housley <>, Carsten Bormann <>, IETF <>
Subject: Re: BCP97bis
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--On Sunday, October 17, 2021 18:53 -0700 "Murray S. Kucherawy"
<> wrote:

> On Sun, Oct 17, 2021 at 3:45 PM John C Klensin
> <> wrote:
>> I actually think that suggests something that should probably
>> be considered for BCP97bis: that the downref procedure and
>> registry should be used only when there are substantive
>> reasons why the relevant document cannot be upgraded or that
>> doing so would require an unreasonable amount of effort.
>> That would strengthen the text that now appears in the last
>> paragraphs of Murray's Sections 4.2 and 5 but even the
>> current text suggests to me that "trivial" is not a good
>> enough reason for the use of that registry.
>> I also just noticed that the draft does not appear to describe
>> the contents and format of that registry, what entity is
>> responsible for keeping it, and where.  Especially if we take
>> the position that, once something is in that registry, no
>> special procedures (or different procedures) need be followed
>> to use the reference in another document, the registry should
>> record why downref permission was granted, in which the
>> document's categories the reference falls, and any additional
>> explanation that seems necessary -- that information should
>> not just be in the Last Call.  My instinct tells me that the
>> RFC Editor Function should be responsible for the registry
>> itself, but that might raise issues I have not thought of yet.
> Describing the registry's current structure and maintenance is
> easy enough.  I'll add that.


> It would probably be a nightmare to add that retroactively for
> the entries already present, but the publication of this
> revision to BCP 97 could stipulate that, going forward, the
> reason for downref permission needs to be recorded and made
> visible for future entries, and who the responsible AD was.

Works for me.  I think it is far more important that we avoid
creating additional messes in that future than that we clean up
ones that have been there for years.

> What did you mean by "in which document's categories the
> reference falls"?

In essence, the descriptions in your sections 4.2, 5, and 6
create categories of downrefs. I'd be inclined to divide 6 into
two subcategories, one for what we have called "recognized
standards bodies" in other contexts and one for other types of
external references.  Either way, I think that categorization
could be very helpful going forward and I was suggesting that it
should be included in the registry.