Re: WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)

Lloyd W <> Tue, 06 April 2021 00:27 UTC

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From: Lloyd W <>
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Subject: Re: WG Review: Effective Terminology in IETF Documents (term)
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 2021 10:27:24 +1000
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To: Michael StJohns <>
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I agree: TERM will not be a technical workgroup, and will not be conducting technical discussion.

It's worth noting that TERM is specifically being chartered initially to produce an INFORMATIONAL document sans BCP tag, which sort-of gets around the BCP would-affect-all-IETF problem. Why, those aren't recommendations at all. Not binding on the IETF or how it works. Nothing to see here.

I'm sure we can all think of documents, throughout history, that started out as simply for information, and turned into something else entirely. And I'd like to point out the CAPS standards keywords used  throughout draft-knodel-terminology, which are not at all appropriate in informational documents that cannot make such recommendations. Really, starting out as informational is a minor speedbump on the road to success, and the controlling aspirations of that document are quite clear.

Establishing the TERM workgroup gives Niels and his colleagues a space in which to practise and better their authoritarian thought policing (sorry, 'governance'), out of the general view, in a safe area away from disturbance. Think of TERM as the Protocol Police Academy. They're citizens on patrol!

If you have opinions on TERM's formation, please do submit them to before that deadline. Today.


Lloyd Wood

> On 6 Apr 2021, at 09:12, Michael StJohns <> wrote:
> For some reason I can't find the original announcement, so I'll just do this bare.
> Given the general language of RFC 2418, my best take is that it's inappropriate for the IETF to charter a working group on this topic.   It's not a technical topic, and it does not fit the general WG model.
> To my best recollection (which means I may have missed one), we've never chartered a WG solely for the purpose of writing documents that purport to modify the way the IETF does business.  Such documents have usually come either as IESG / IAB authored/sponsored BCPs.  Indeed, BCP 95 was just such a document.   WGs have been (should be?) for technical activities related to specifying how the Internet works. 
> <minirant>Technical WGs at least have the possibility of achieving consensus based on the analysis of tradeoffs of hard facts and good analysis.  A "WG" such as TERM may fail of achieving even WG consensus, let alone community consensus (especially given the current ongoing discussions) and there will be no fall back to fact analysis possible.   I can't see any way an appeal could be managed in those circumstances and I strongly suggest we do not try to place this in the WG model.</minirant>
> Since the proposed charter for Term will effect more than just the standards process (e.g. it potentially effects all of the current and future RFC streams), it would appear this should be handled either as an IAB activity (either authored, or referred to a workshop), or deferred until the RFCED group completes its work and can have this assigned as a work item.
> My first preference is to do this as an IAB Workshop report with no BCP tag and with as dispassionate an analysis and output language as possible.  E.g. explanatory language vs directive.
> Mike