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

Barry Leiba <> Wed, 28 November 2012 15:58 UTC

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Subject: Re: When to adopt a draft as a WG doc (was RE: "IETF work is done on the mailing lists")
From: Barry Leiba <>
To: "George, Wes" <>
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> we do not have adequate guidance for either WG chairs or participants on
> when it is generally appropriate to adopt a draft as a WG document.
> It seems to me that these variants are dependent on the people in the WG,
> the workload of the group, the chairs, past precedent, AD preferences, etc.
> It makes it difficult on both draft editors and those seeking to follow the
> discussion for there to be such a disparity from WG to WG on when to adopt
> drafts. I'm not convinced that there is a one-size-fits-all solution here, but it
> might be nice to coalesce a little from where we are today.
> So I wonder if perhaps we need clearer guidance on what the process is
> actually supposed to look like and why.

Let's start with a basic point and work from there:
There is no formal process that involves "adopting" anything.  Working
group chairs appoint document editors (this is in RFC 2418, Section
6.3).  There is nothing anywhere that specifies how the first version
of a WG document is formed.  One mechanism could be that the charter
says that the WG will develop a Lightweight Modular Network Operations
Protocol, so the WGCs say, "We appoint Wes George as the document
editor for the LMNOP doc."  Wes then goes off and creates
draft-ietf-xyzwg-lmnop-00 based on discussion so far, or even based on
his own opinion of a good start for the protocol spec.  Discussion
ensues and Wes makes changes based on the discussion, because, being a
good document editor, he knows how to make the document reflect what
the WG wants.  A couple of issues are contentious, and the WGCs handle
the evaluation of consensus for those, and Wes incorporates that.  In
the end, the WG as a whole thinks that the document accurately
reflects WG rough consensus, and the chairs request publication.

Another model is that two or more people submit candidate documents,
and the WG decides which one is the best starting point.  That's where
"adoption" comes in.  From there, the rest of the process goes the

However we get to the -00 document, as long as the rest of the process
goes the way it's supposed to, we're fine.  We seem to have settled
into a culture of starting with individual submissions and "adopting"
them, but there's nothing that requires that, and for documents where
there's not significant contention between radically different
starting points, there's probably no need for it.

So, yes, the chairs get to decide how they want to seed the document
development process, and they have a pretty free hand in making that
decision.  Your ADs are always there for further guidance if you need
or want it.  But there's no formal process for that, and I think
that's how we want it to be.