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IESG Statement on Inclusive Language
11 May 2021
The mission of the IETF as specified in [BCP95] is to produce high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet as a global resource.
Contributions to the IETF, including Internet-Drafts and RFCs, are most understandable and effective when they use terminology that is clear, precise, and widely accessible to readers from varying backgrounds and cultures.
The IESG hence encourages IETF participants to use the guidance in [NISTIR8366] when making contributions to the IETF. Although developed for use within the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the IETF community expressed strong support for the sentiment that the guidance on inclusive language in [NISTIR8366] is suitable for the IETF as well [1,2]. Using the same terminology as other standards organizations and industry initiatives also contributes to overall coherence in the industry.
The IESG also encourages the owners of the various RFC streams and the RFC Editor to consider whether they could issue similar guidance to their authors and contributors.
The IESG invites the community to continue using the firstname.lastname@example.org mailing list for any future discussion of this topic.
[BCP95] Alvestrand, H., A Mission Statement for the IETF, BCP 95, RFC 3935, DOI 10.17487/RFC3935, October 2004, https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc3935.
[NISTIR8366] Guidance for NIST Staff on Using Inclusive Language in Documentary Standards, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Interagency or Internal Report 8366 (NISTIR 8366), April 2021, https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.IR.8366.