General Area Review Team (GEN-ART): Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Gen-ART?

A: The General Area Review Team. They provide generalist reviews for the General Area director (currently the IETF Chair), providing an additional set of eyes for documents as they are being considered for publication.

Q: Who is Gen-ART?

A: The current membership list is maintained at

Q: How can I join the Gen-ART review team?

A: Interested volunteers should contact the General Area director, listed on the membership page.

Q: What does the Gen-ART secretary do and how do I find him/her?

A: The Gen-ART secretary is also listed on the membership page. The Gen-ART secretary tracks documents submitted for publication and assigns them to reviewers, and collects the reviews, posting them to

Q: Why is my document being reviewed?

A: Three possible answers - most Gen-ART reviews are now assigned at  IETF Last Call time (answer #1). If a document is revised after IETF Last Call, or is processed so quickly that no Gen-ART reviewer has been assigned, it's reviewed after being placed on the IESG Telechat agenda (answer #2). Some ADs also request an Early Review before IETF Last Call - typically once the document is considered fairly mature within the WG (answer #3).

Q: How was my Gen-ART reviewer selected?

A: There is a mechanism, but it's more about leveling the review workload than selecting reviewers based on topic areas. Gen-ART reviewers are supposed to provide generalist reviews to Gen-ART (when reviewers are experts in a particular field, they should provide expert review to the working group, prior to IETF Last Call), so reviewers may recuse themselves ("I've read this spec too many times to act as Gen-ART reviewer"). The same Gen-ART reviewer will be assigned for IETF Last Call reviews and telechat reviews of a single specification, if the reviewer is available to provide both reviews.

Q: Are the reviews public or private?

A: The reviews are sent to the Gen-ART mailing list (which includes the General Area director). Ordinarily, copies are sent to shepherding ADs, document shepherds, working group chairs, and authors/editors, but the archives are publicly viewable, at

Q: Are Gen-ART comments binding?

A: Only if IESG review process makes them so - i.e., if the General Area director agrees with the comments and incorporates them in the IESG ballot as "DISCUSS" comments. Gen-ART does not have a formal role in the standards approval process - we're simply providing input for the General Area director who is deciding how to ballot the document. If the General Area director agrees with a serious concern expressed in a Gen-ART review, and uses it as the basis for a "DISCUSS", the General Area director may later ask the Gen-ART reviewer, "does the new version of the draft address your concerns?" See the next question for when to produce a new version.

Q: I have comments from a Gen-ART reviewer - do I revise the document immediately?

A: Not unless your AD/document shepherd asks you to revise the document. Some comments may be resolved with Notes to the RFC Editor, and the IESG may choose to approve the document without requiring changes to address all Gen-ART comments, since Gen-ART reviews are not a formal part of the approval review cycle. The AD/document shepherd may also prefer to complete the entire approval review cycle before requesting an updated version of the document, in order to avoid confusion about exactly what version is being last-called, reviewed and approved. In no case should you submit an updated version of the document without consulting the AD/document shepherd.

Q: What if the Gen-ART reviewer is just flat wrong?

A: The General Area director understands that these are reviews by generalists who are not experts in every protocol the IETF works on, plus security and MIBs. If you disagree with comments, say so. The gen-art reviewers *want* to hear feedback. They want to learn more about your area, and appreciate feedback about how helpful their comments are. And always remember that the IESG ballot position is called "DISCUSS", not "IMPERIAL EDICT" or "BLACKMAIL".

Q: Is there any written Gen-ART procedure?

A: Currently