Birds of a Feather sessions (BoFs) are initial discussions about a particular topic of interest to the IETF community. BoFs are usually held at IETF meetings, and requests to hold a BoF must be made significantly in advance of the meeting.
Though some BoFs lead to forming a working group, BoFs may be used to gather a sense of the IETF community about a topic, without intending to form a working group. If a BoF community wishes to meet at an IETF meeting, this is requested at IETF BoF wiki, using IETF Datatracker credentials. The cutoff dates for BoF requests for each upcoming meeting are available on the IETF Datatracker, although earlier notice to an appropriate Area Director increases the chances for a productive conversation and informed evaluation for proposals.
Note that BoFs are not a required step in forming working groups. If an Area Director believes that the proposal is compelling, well thought out, and well organized, the Area Director can initiate the process of chartering a working group without approving a BoF.
Please read RFC 6771 for guidelines on how to best form a community to work on a proposal for new work.
Please read RFC 5434 for guidelines on how to best use the BoF process, if your proposal will require IETF meeting time to evaluate.
Dr. Thomas Narten