Re: A quick poll about RFC 7221

"Joel M. Halpern" <jmh@joelhalpern.com> Sat, 12 September 2020 21:40 UTC

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Subject: Re: A quick poll about RFC 7221
To: Carsten Bormann <cabo@tzi.org>, adrian@olddog.co.uk
Cc: wgchairs@ietf.org
References: <00e001d68940$bc73db70$355b9250$@olddog.co.uk> <7EFF456C-7DAA-4B1B-966F-DFADEC1EC0ED@tzi.org>
From: "Joel M. Halpern" <jmh@joelhalpern.com>
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Date: Sat, 12 Sep 2020 17:39:56 -0400
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Actually Carsten, I would phrase your comment differently.

We allow the editors of documents to make changes during the process. 
We expect them to tell the WG what they are doing.
The important part is that if the WG disagrees, the editors are required 
(not merely expected, required) to make the changes to conform with the 
WG rough consensus.

Many years ago I fired a WG document editor for refusing to do so.
I have come close to doing so more than once since.

The document belongs to the WG, not to the editor.
For practical reasons, we allow the editors a lot of room to work on the 
document.

The WG LC should, if things are going right, serve as a final 
confirmation that nothing has gone wrong.  That does not mean it is 
unnecessary.

Yours,
Joel

On 9/12/2020 4:50 PM, Carsten Bormann wrote:
> Interesting.  I didn’t actively know about this document.
> (I might have heard about it in 2014, but have since forgotten about it.)
> 
> The title is misleading:
> 
>             Handling of Internet-Drafts by IETF Working Groups
> 
> Instead, it mostly is about adoption of WG documents (and the selection of authors for that segment of its life), except for the introduction where it states in passing that a WG document is (at least substantively) always representing the WG rough consensus.
> 
> This is the second time I need to use the term “process confabulation” today.  While having this statement in an (albeit informational) document is a great stick with which WG chairs can beat up errant authors, it does not reflect reality (even if it does more so in the times of development by github than it used to be), not even an actually always desired process.  (If it actually were true, we wouldn’t need a WGLC.)
> 
> The reality is that in many WGs, authors have pretty wide authority [sic!] to generate new I-Ds that they believe will bring the process forward, and obtain feedback [that could be (but most often is not) judged by the WG chairs to represent WG consensus] only after publishing the new I-D.  Very large WGs may have more elaborate processes that might be closer to mini-WGLCs before accepting changes (in particular with github’s help), but as a universal process requirement, requiring consensus before publishing each update would really impede progress.  The WG needs something concrete to discuss, and I-Ds are that concrete writeup that is input, not output of the current discussion.
> 
> Grüße, Carsten
>