Re: [GNAP] Human rights perspective on W3C and IETF protocol interaction

Justin Richer <> Thu, 06 January 2022 14:16 UTC

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From: Justin Richer <>
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Date: Thu, 06 Jan 2022 09:15:56 -0500
Cc: Orie Steele <>, Adrian Gropper <>, Bob Wyman <>, Alan Karp <>, GNAP Mailing List <>, W3C Credentials Community Group <>
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Subject: Re: [GNAP] Human rights perspective on W3C and IETF protocol interaction
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On Jan 6, 2022, at 9:02 AM, Dave Crocker <> wrote:
> On 1/6/2022 5:46 AM, Justin Richer wrote:
>> ou are linking to the correct draft but you’re still missing an important distinction: there’s a huge difference between an individual I-D, which is what the old signatures draft was, and an active working group document, which is what the GNAP resource servers document is. The latter is on a path to become an RFC, the former is not. Both are “labeled” as I-D, which might be the source of the confusion — and that’s why I say that the label of “internet draft” doesn’t actually mean anything on its own. It’s the state of the document within the process of the SDO that matters. This is why the current HTTP Signatures draft within the HTTP working group is considered :much: more normative than any of the old individual drafts, including the series of Cavage drafts
> The above clarifications have the right spirit, but I'll suggest some simplifications that might make things even easier and maybe clearer:
> 1. Any and all IETF-related (draft-) Internet Drafts have no formal publication status.  None.  They are working documents and the nature of venue of the work involving them varies from none to a lot.
> 2. Outside of the formalities, any individual group -- including an IETF working group -- can choose to add their own formal status, such as 'working group document', but that's an internal status for group management purposes.
> 3. When an I-D has some relationship to a published document, the I-D is likely to represent more recent views, obviously.  One can choose to favor it, therefore, but that's different from its having community reviewed and approved status.

Dave, thanks for the added clarifications — I was trying to simplify in my own way and hopefully didn’t mislead anyone. :) 

The core point I’m making here, using Dave’s list as a framing, is that (2) in the steps above is highly relevant to this discussion, so comparing things based solely on (1), which is how this thread started, is meaningless on its own. The process in (2) represents direction and intent. It’s just as dangerous to call an I-D "a standard" as it is to discount a stable WG draft in active development as “just another I-D”. There’s a wide gradient here applied by the status and group management in (2), and I argue that carries weight. There’s also a lot of context that isn’t formally captured, such as active development on the text itself. This is part of what the I-D expiration is meant to capture, but as we can see here, it’s highly imperfect.

 — Justin