Re: Making the Tao a web page

John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com> Mon, 04 June 2012 01:14 UTC

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Date: Sun, 03 Jun 2012 21:14:06 -0400
From: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>
To: Melinda Shore <melinda.shore@gmail.com>, ietf@ietf.org
Subject: Re: Making the Tao a web page
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--On Sunday, June 03, 2012 14:58 -0800 Melinda Shore
<melinda.shore@gmail.com> wrote:

> On 6/3/12 2:46 PM, John C Klensin wrote:
>> Also, perhaps because I have a more vivid (or paranoid)
>> imagination than you do, I can think of a lot more than four
>> individuals who would be inclined to wreck the party.
> 
> This, I think, is the show-stopper.  Back when the internet
> started
> to become popular a well-known open access advocate put his
> system,
> which had a passwordless root account, online, and it was
> basically
> vandalized immediately, then vandalized again, and again, and
> again,
> until he finally surrendered.  I really prefer to keep things
> as
> open as possible and I would love it if the Tao were a wiki
> article,
> but transitioning to that model would essentially mean making a
> commitment for the life of the page to keeping a very close
> eye on
> it with a quick response to vandalism.

Indeed.

> I also think that enough of our process is actually disputed
> to make
> a living document hard to handle.  At least with an RFC we can
> say
> "this is what we thought it was on a given date, with
> considerable review prior to publication."

Well, as long as the document is informational and an overview,
I think that can be accomplished as easily with a web page, an
editor who can be trusted to exercise a certain amount of good
sense (and whose intentions are trusted) and a process for
forcing a review if needed.   The thing that bothers me about
trying to do this by RFC is that the entire community then
wastes a huge amount of time debating the choice and style of
words and relatively minor details, after which everyone runs
out of energy to make further changes for years (other than
posting I-Ds on which there are no real controls, even an appeal
process (not that I'd expect Paul to ignore input)).   If we go
the web page and editor route, expect revisions only when real
problems are identified and otherwise do a review every year or
so, I think we can get a pretty good balance between the
slowness of the RFC-and-community-consensus process and the
difficulties of the Wiki one.

best,
   john