Birds-of-a-Feather Procedures

Birds of a Feather sessions (BOFs) are initial discussions about a particular topic of interest to the IETF community. This page provides a summary of the Birds-of-a-Feather proposals process.

In depth

BOFs will NOT be scheduled unless the Area Director(s) approved the BOF. The proponents behind a BOF need to contact a relevant Area Director, preferably well in advance of the BOF approval deadline date. The AD needs to have the full name of the BOF, its acronym, suggested names of chairs, an agenda, full description of the BOF and the information covered in item 4. Please read RFC 5434 for instructions on how to drive a successful BOF effort. The approval depends on, for instance, Internet-Drafts and list discussion on the suggested topic. BOF agenda requests, if approved, will be submitted to the IETF Secretariat by the ADs.

As of March 1993, the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) adopted the following policy on the scheduling of BOFs during IETF meetings.

  1. All BOFs wishing to meeting during an IETF meeting must have the approval of the appropriate Area Director. A list of current Area Directors can be found on the IETF website. The Secretariat will NOT schedule or allocate time slots without the explicit approval of the Area Director. Please send a courtesy copy of your request to NOTE: All requests for BOFs must be accompanied by BOF description and agenda, and the relevant Area Directors must be copied. The Secretariat should only schedule complete requests.
  2. The purpose of a BOF is to conduct a single, brief discussion or to ascertain interest and establish goals for a working group. All BOF organizers are required to submit a brief written report of what transpired during the BOF meeting, together with a roster of attendees, to the IETF Secretariat for inclusion in the proceedings.
  3. A BOF can only be held once (ONE slot at one IETF meeting). 
  4. Under unusual circumstances an Area Director can allow a BOF to meet for a second time. Typically, though not a requirement, this is to develop a charter to be submitted to the IESG.
  5. BOFs are not permitted to meet three times. 
  6. Non-IETF groups wishing to participate in IETF meetings may hold a BOF for a singe-event discussion, or may pursue creation of normal IETF working groups for on-going interactions and discussions. The rules governing such BOFs are the same as for all other IETF BOFs and working groups. 
  7. When necessary, working groups will be given priority for meeting space over BOFs. 
  8. Once scheduled, BOFs are handled like working groups with regard to the meeting and proceedings. We require minutes and an attendee roster for the proceedings. 
  9. BOF chairs are asked to send a brief announcement of the BOF to the IETF list. NOTE: Nothing is automatic, especially obtaining a meeting slot for a BOF. Creation of a draft charter or description and demonstration of interest does NOT mean a BOF will be held. It is up to the appropriate Area Director to approve.

Request a Birds of a Feather session for the next IETF Meeting

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