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Versions: (RFC 3932) 00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 RFC 5742

INTERNET DRAFT                                               H. Alvestrand
Obsoletes: 3932 (if approved)                                       Google
Updates: 3710, 2026 (if approved)                               R. Housley
Category: Best Current Practice (if approved)               Vigil Security
Exipres: 18 May 2009                                      18 November 2008

IESG Procedures for Handling of Independent and IRTF Stream Submissions

Status of this Memo

   By submitting this Internet-Draft, each author represents that any
   applicable patent or other IPR claims of which he or she is aware
   have been or will be disclosed, and any of which he or she becomes
   aware will be disclosed, in accordance with Section 6 of BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
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   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

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   This document describes the procedures used by the IESG for handling
   documents submitted for RFC publication on the Independent and IRTF

   This document updates procedures described in RFC 2026 and RFC 3710.

   {{{ RFC Editor: Please change "RFC XXXX" to the number assigned to
   this document prior to publication. }}}

1.  Introduction and History

   RFC 4844 [N1] defines four RFC streams.  When a document is submitted
   for publication, the review that it receives depends on the stream in

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   which it will be published.  The four streams defined in RFC 4844
      - The IETF stream
      - The IAB stream
      - The IRTF stream
      - The Independent Submission stream

   The IETF is responsible for maintaining the Internet Standards
   Process, which includes the requirements for developing, reviewing
   and approving Standards Track and BCP RFCs.  These RFCs, and any
   other IETF-generated Informational or Experimental documents, are
   reviewed by appropriate IETF bodies and published as part of the IETF

   Documents published in streams other than the IETF Stream may not
   receive any review by the IETF for such things as security,
   congestion control, or inappropriate interaction with deployed
   protocols.  Generally, there is no attempt for IETF consensus or IESG
   approval.  Therefore, the IETF disclaims, for any of the non-IETF
   Stream documents, any knowledge of the fitness of those RFCs for any

   This memo is only concerned with the IESG processing of the last two
   categories, which comprise the Independent Submission Stream and the
   IRTF Document Stream, respectively [N1].

   Following the approval of RFC 2026 [N2] and prior to the publication
   of RFC 3932 [I1], the IESG reviewed all Independent Submission Stream
   documents before publication.  This review was often a full-scale
   review of technical content, with the Area Director (ADs) attempting
   to clear points with the authors, stimulate revisions of the
   documents, encourage the authors to contact appropriate working
   groups (WGs) and so on.  This was a considerable drain on the
   resources of the IESG, and since this was not the highest priority
   task of the IESG members, it often resulted in significant delays.

   In March 2004, the IESG decided to make a major change in this review
   model, with the IESG taking responsibility only for checking for
   conflicts between the work of the IETF and the documents submitted.
   Soliciting technical review is deemed to be the responsibility of the
   RFC Editor.  If an individual AD chooses to review the technical
   content of the document and finds issues, that AD will communicate
   these issues to the RFC Editor, and they will be treated the same way
   as comments on the documents from other sources.

   Prior to 2006, documents from the IRTF were treated as either IAB
   submissions or individual submissions via the RFC Editor.  However,
   the Internet Research Steering Group (IRSG) has established a review

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   process for the publication of RFCs on the IRTF Document Stream [I2].
   Once these procedures are fully adopted, the IESG will continue to be
   responsible only for checking for conflicts between the work of the
   IETF and the documents submitted, but results of the check will be
   reported to the IRTF.  These results may be copied to the RFC Editor
   as a courtesy.

   This document describes only the review process done by the IESG when
   the RFC Editor or the IRTF requests that review.  There are many
   other interactions between document editors and the IESG for
   instance, an AD may suggest that an author submit a document as input
   for work within the IETF rather than to the RFC Editor as part of the
   Independent Submission Stream, or the IESG may suggest that a
   document submitted to the IETF is better suited for submission to the
   RFC Editor as part of Independent Submission Stream but these
   interactions are not described in this memo.

1.1.  Changes since RFC 3932

   RFC 3932 provided procedures for the review of Independent Submission
   Stream submissions.  With the definition of procedures by the IRSG
   for the IRTF Document Stream, it has become clear that similar
   procedures apply to the review by the IESG of IRTF Document Stream

   The IAB and the RFC Editor have made updates to the formatting of the
   title page for all RFCs [N3].  With these changes, the upper left
   hand corner of the title page indicates the stream that produced the
   RFC.  This label eliminates the need for a mandatory IESG note on all
   Independent Submission and IRTF Stream documents.

2.  Background Material

   The review of independent submissions by the IESG was prescribed by
   RFC 2026 [N2] section 4.2.3.  The procedure described in this
   document is compatible with that description.

   The procedures developed by the IRTF for documents created by the
   Research Groups also include review by the IESG [I2].

   The IESG Charter, RFC 3710 [I5], section 5.2.2 describes the review
   process that was employed in Spring 2003 (even though the RFC was not
   published until 2004); with the publication of RFC 3932 [I1], the
   procedure described in RFC 3710 was no longer relevant to documents
   submitted via the RFC Editor.  The publication of this document
   further updates RFC 3710, section 5.2.2 so that it covers the IRTF
   stream and the Individual Submission Stream.

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3.  Detailed Description of IESG Review

   The RFC Editor reviews Independent Stream submissions for suitability
   for publications as RFC.  As described in RFC 4846 [I3], the RFC
   Editor asks the IESG to review the documents for conflicts with the
   IETF standards process or work done in the IETF community.

   Similarly, documents intended for publication as part of the IRTF
   Stream are sent to the IESG for review for conflicts with the IETF
   standards process or work done in the IETF community [I2].

   The IESG review of these Independent Stream and IRTF Stream documents
   reach one of the following five types of conclusions.

   1. The IESG has concluded that there is no conflict between this
      document and IETF work.

   2. The IESG has concluded that this work is related to IETF work done
      in WG <X>, but this relationship does not prevent publishing.

   3. The IESG has concluded that publication could potentially disrupt
      the IETF work done in WG <X> and recommends not publishing the
      document at this time.

   4. The IESG has concluded that this document violates IETF procedures
      for <X> and should therefore not be published without IETF review
      and IESG approval.

   5. The IESG has concluded that this document extends an IETF protocol
      in a way that requires IETF review and should therefore not be
      published without IETF review and IESG approval.

   Generally, the RFC headers and boilerplate clearly describe the
   relationship of the document to the IETF standards process [N3].  In
   exceptional cases, when the relationship of the document to the IETF
   standards process might be unclear, the IESG response may be
   accompanied by a clarifying IESG note and a request that the RFC
   Editor include the IESG note in the document if the document is

   The last two responses are included respectively, for the case where
   a document attempts to take actions (such as registering a new URI
   scheme) that require IETF Review, Standards Action, or IESG Approval
   (as these terms are defined in RFC 5226 [3]), and for the case where
   an IETF protocol is proposed to be changed or extended in an
   unanticipated way that may be detrimental to the normal usage of the
   protocol, but where the protocol documents do not explicitly say that
   this type of extension requires IETF review.

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   If a document requires IETF review, the IESG will offer the author
   the opportunity to ask for publication as an AD-sponsored individual
   document, which is subject to full IETF review, including possible
   assignment to a WG or rejection.  Redirection to the full IESG review
   path is not a guarantee that the IESG will accept the work item, or
   even that the IESG will give it any particular priority; it is a
   guarantee that the IESG will consider the document.

   The IESG will normally complete review within four weeks after
   notification by the RFC Editor or IRTF.  In the case of a possible
   conflict, the IESG may contact a WG or a WG chair for an outside
   opinion of whether publishing the document is harmful to the work of
   that WG and, in the case of a possible conflict with an IANA
   registration procedure, the IANA expert for that registry.

   If the IESG does not find any conflict between an independent
   submission and IETF work, then the RFC Editor is responsible for
   judging the technical merits for that submission, including
   considerations of possible harm to the Internet.  If the IESG does
   not find any conflict between an IRTF submission and IETF work, then
   the IRSG is responsible for judging the technical merits for that
   submission, including considerations of possible harm to the

   The RFC Editor, in agreement with the IAB, shall manage mechanisms
   for appropriate technical review of independent submissions.
   Likewise, the IRSG, in agreement with the IAB, shall manage
   mechanisms for appropriate technical review of IRTF submissions.

4.  Examples of Cases Where Publication Is Harmful

   This section gives a couple of examples where delaying or preventing
   publication of a document might be appropriate due to conflict with
   IETF work.  It forms part of the background material, not a part of
   the procedure.

   Rejected Alternative Bypass:

      As a WG is working on a solution to a problem, a participant
      decides to ask for RFC publication, as part of the Independent
      Stream, of a solution that the WG has rejected.  Publication of
      the document will give the publishing party an RFC number before
      the WG is finished.  It seems better to have the WG product
      published first, and have the non-adopted document published
      later, with a clear disclaimer note saying that "the IETF
      technology for this function is X".

      Example: Photuris (RFC 2522), which was published after

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      IKE (RFC 2409).

      Note: in general, the IESG has no problem with rejected
      alternatives being made available to the community; such
      publications can be a valuable contribution to the technical
      literature.  However, it is necessary to avoid confusion with the
      alternatives adopted by the WG.

   Inappropriate Reuse of "free" Bits:

      In 2003, a proposal for an experimental RFC was published that
      wanted to reuse the high bits of the "fragment offset" part of the
      IP header for another purpose.  No IANA consideration says how
      these bits can be repurposed, but the standard defines a specific
      meaning for them.  The IESG concluded that implementations of this
      experiment risked causing hard-to-debug interoperability problems
      and recommended not publishing the document in the RFC series.
      The RFC Editor accepted the recommendation.

   The RFC series is one of many available publication channels; this
   document takes no position on the question of which documents are
   appropriate for publication in the RFC Series.  That is a matter for
   discussion in the Internet community.

5.  IAB Statement

   In its capacity as the body that approves the general policy followed
   by the RFC Editor (see RFC 2850 [I4]), the IAB has reviewed this
   proposal and supports it as an operational change that is in line
   with the respective roles of the IESG, IRTF, and RFC Editor.  The IAB
   continues to monitor discussions within the IETF about potential
   adjustments to the IETF document publication processes and recognizes
   that the process described in this document, as well as other general
   IETF publication processes, may need to be adjusted to align with any
   changes that result from such discussions.

6.  Security Considerations

   The process change described in this memo has no direct bearing on
   the security of the Internet.

7.  Acknowledgements

   RFC 3932 was a product of the IESG in October 2004, and it was
   reviewed in the IETF, by the RFC Editor, and by the IAB.  Special
   thanks for the development of RFC 3932 go to John Klensin, Keith
   Moore, Pete Resnick, Scott Bradner, Kurt Zeilenga, Eliot Lear, Paul
   Hoffman, Brian Carpenter, and all other IETF community participants

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   who provided valuable feedback.

   This update to RFC 3932 was the product of the IESG in July and
   August of 2008, and it was reviewed in the IETF, by the RFC Editor,
   by the IRSG, and by the IAB.  Special thanks for this development of
   this update go to (in alphabetical order) Jari Arkko, Ran Atkinson,
   Leslie Daigle, Lars Eggert, Aaron Falk, Sam Hartman, John Klensin,
   and Olaf Kolkman.

8.  References

8.1.  Normative Reference

   [N1]  Internet Architecture Board and L. Daigle, Ed., "The RFC Series
         and RFC Editor", RFC 4844, July 2007.

   [N2]  Bradner, S., "The Internet Standards Process -- Revision 3",
         BCP 9, RFC 2026, October 1996.

   [N3]  Internet-Draft: draft-iab-streams-headers-boilerplates, work in

8.2.  Informative References

   [I1]  Alvestrand, H., "The IESG and RFC Editor Documents:
         Procedures", RFC 3932, October 2004.

   [I2]  Internet-Draft: draft-irtf-rfcs, work in progress.

   [I3]  Klensin, J., and D. Thaler, "Independent Submissions to the RFC
         Editor", RFC 4846, July 2007.

   [I4]  Internet Architecture Board and B. Carpenter, Ed., "Charter of
         the Internet Architecture Board (IAB)", BCP 39, RFC 2850, May

   [I5]  Alvestrand, H., "An IESG charter", RFC 3710, February 2004.

Authors' Address

   Harald Alvestrand
   EMail: harald@alvestrand.no

   Russell Housley
   Email: housley@vigilsec.com

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