Re: registries and designated experts

Graham Klyne <> Fri, 15 June 2012 17:37 UTC

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Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2012 11:57:20 +0100
From: Graham Klyne <>
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Subject: Re: registries and designated experts
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On 12/06/2012 15:56, Dave Crocker wrote:
> On 6/12/2012 7:19 AM, Peter Saint-Andre wrote:
>> it's not the role of the designated expert to
>> act as a gatekeeper with respect to the technical merits of the
>> technologies that trigger registration requests. It might be good to
>> have a wider discussion about the purpose of registries and the role of
>> designated experts, but IMHO it's not correct to conclude that a
>> technology is acceptable just because the designated expert didn't
>> object to the registrations related to that technology.
> It's almost inevitable that many designated experts will, in fact, act as
> gatekeepers. For example the distinction between "won't do damage" vs. "looks
> like excellent engineering" is more subtle in practice than one might think.
> Especially absent very precise specification of review criteria and absent
> actual training of the reviewers.

The effect may sometimes be similar to being a gatekeeper but, speaking for 
myself, that's not how I see my role.  When responding to IANA review requests, 
I may often have and express technical opinions about a proposal, but I try to 
be clear that these are separate from my view of whether or not the registry 
requirements are satisfied.  And where I feel that registration requirements are 
not satisfied, I try to provide indicators as to what the submitter might do to 
create satisfaction.  So it doesn't *feel* like being a gatekeeper.

> While, yes, protocol specs that define the registry and review of its entries
> are supposed to provide the necessary details that do the distinction, I believe
> such texts do not get deep review for interpretive robustness. That is, I doubt
> they are bullet-proofed against the vagaries of differerent readers who might be
> doing the reviews or writing text for them.

My experience is that no amount of review completely bullet-proofs a spec 
against misinterpretation.  So we do the best we can.