Rfcplusplus -- For discussion of the RFC++ BoF proposal and related ideas


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This list is for discussion of the following BoF proposal, which was proposed for IETF 102, and ideas related to it:

More than 20 years ago, RFC 1796 laid out a problem: mingling IETF standards with other documents labeled RFCs has resulted in the "regrettably well spread misconception" that all RFCs are standards. It laid out two proposals for responding to that confusion: use of alternate identifiers for the standards (STD numbers) and using the web's hypertext facilities to publicize whether a specific RFC was a standard or not.

The BoF proponents believe that these methods did not achieve the stated goals, and that the "well spread misconception" remains, despite significant updates to the RFC model and the formalization of multiple streams that has since occurred. The proponents note that the formalization of the streams has not hindered the relevant groups from maintaining a dialog across the streams. The other streams are cited by the IETF as appropriate, and the IAB, ISE, and IRTF streams cite the IETF stream frequently.

Given that the streams maintain dialog with each other despite their independent management, we wish to propose an experiment to test whether increasing their distinguishability to those outside the community would hinder the ongoing dialog among the technical communities using each stream. This BoF request is to discuss a possible experiment.

During this experiment, each of the ISE, IETF, IRTF, and IAB stream managers would request the creation of a new series stream identifier, different from "RFC", for some or all of their streams. This would allow "RFC" to be reserved for standards-related documents, in effect ratifying the "regrettably well spread misconception." For the IAB, IRTF, and ISE, the new series' stream identifiers would be used for all products of the stream. The IESG would use the BoF to gather community views about whether and how to use new stream identifier(s) for non-standards-related documents in the IETF stream.

At the end of the experiment, the community would discuss whether these stream identifiers were sufficiently useful in technical references and discussions to maintain the technical dialog among the relevant technical communities. If they are not, RFC numbers would be allocated for each document published under the experiment, and the new stream identifiers would each become an overlay to the RFC series, as the BCP and STD identifiers currently are. If they are sufficiently useful, those streams would continue to use the new identifiers as described above.

The proponents believe that this experiment would take approximately 3 years to implement and assess. If the assessment cannot be made at the 3 year mark, an additional span of time to continue dual assignment can be requested.

The purpose of the BOF is to get a frank and open discussion of this proposal, which would clearly change existing RFC publication practice. Does the community believe that the experiment as proposed is worthwhile, or that a different experiment with related goals would be more acceptable?

To see the collection of prior postings to the list, visit the Rfcplusplus Archives or Rfcplusplus MHonArc Archives.

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