Re: How IETF treats contributors

Nathaniel Borenstein <> Sat, 04 September 2004 02:51 UTC

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From: Nathaniel Borenstein <>
Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2004 22:37:21 -0400
To: John Day <>
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Cc:, Hadmut Danisch <>
Subject: Re: How IETF treats contributors
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On Aug 30, 2004, at 7:05 PM, John Day wrote:

> The best solution is to remove all authorship from all Internet 
> standards, then there will be no problems.  This isn't suppose to be 
> an ego trip. If people really think the documents are important, they 
> don't need their names on them.  If they need their name on it, they 
> are doing it for the wrong reasons.

I would argue against this on the grounds that we want to encourage 
standards work as an attractive career path.  If we want bright young 
people to put work into standards, it is appropriate to give credit for 
that work.  Writing a good standard, and building a consensus around 
it, is a challenging set of tasks that requires a combination of 
technical and political skills that are all too rare, and sometimes 
hard to recognize.  If we want more companies to send their best people 
to work in IETF groups, we need to provide something for those people 
to put on their resumes when they succeed, to help build their career 

I'm all for doing things for the good of the community, but a major 
reason IBM gives me considerable latitude to think about it that way is 
that I have my name on the MIME standard.  It's true that I would have 
done the MIME work whether I was going to get credit for it or not, but 
I can tell you that having my name associated with it has made a big 
difference in my career.  I'd like future standards writers to be able 
to aspire to a similar outcome.  -- Nathaniel

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