IETF Blog: WebRTC is a large cluster of related RFCs that define standards for different technologies and protocols. Has that made the management of the cluster difficult? What would you change if you had to do it all over again?
Roach: WebRTC is part of a group of documents known as “Cluster 238.” When the RFC Editor receives a set of documents that are mutually interdependent on each other, they will group them into numbered clusters that are processed by the RFC Production Center as a single unit. Typically, these clusters consist of two to five documents, with really large ones ranging up to 20 documents or so. Cluster 238 consists of 75 inter-related documents …
The size of the cluster has posed a unique problem for the RFC Production Center (RPC). Typically, one of the major reasons that such RFCs are published at the same time is that doing so allows the document editors working for the RPC to check for inconsistencies in terminology (and sometimes even in technical specification) between the various documents in a cluster. Of course, in a cluster as large as 238, this becomes a Herculean task; and as amazing as our RPC staff are, getting all of this right is an incredibly heavy lift for them.
I think one of the biggest things that would have helped would have been a very intentional curation, both by working group chairs and by area directors, of which documents normatively reference which other documents. A push towards minimizing such references, and a ruthless elimination of cyclical dependencies—even when this required moving large bodies of text from one document to another or even between working groups—would have led to a set of documents that could have been broken down into sub-clusters that were published incrementally.