comments on problem-issue-statement-02
pekkas at netcore.fi
Thu Aug 14 14:43:17 CEST 2003
On Thu, 14 Aug 2003, John C Klensin wrote:
> --On Monday, 11 August, 2003 14:39 +0300 Pekka Savola
> <pekkas at netcore.fi> wrote:
> > Normative References
> >  Huston, G. and M. Rose, "A Proposal to Improve IETF
> > Productivity", draft-huston-ietf-pact-00 (work in progress),
> > October 2002.
> >  Blanchet, M., "Suggestions to Streamline the IETF
> > Process",
> > draft-blanchet-evolutionizeietf-suggestions-00 (work in
> > progress), November 2002.
> >  Hardie, T., "Working Groups and their Stuckees",
> > draft-hardie-wg-stuckees-00 (work in progress), February 2003.
> > ==> all of these should probably be informative references, as
> > this document couldn't be published without them getting
> > published otherwise..
> Let's be very careful here, lest we create and illustrate a
> problem that then belongs, recursively, on the list.
> Something is a normative reference or not depending on how the
> text that uses the reference actually does so. If the text is
> written such that understanding and, if appropriate, conforming
> to, the text of the reference is necessary to understanding or
> implementing the present text, then the reference is normative,
> period. Conversely, something is informative only if the usage
> in the text has the character of, e.g., "you don't need to know
> this, but, if you want to learn more about it, see " or "for
> examples of how this is done, see ". And the second of those
> becomes normative if the text itself fails to provide a complete
> specification but, instead, relies on the examples for important
Sorry for my bad wording.
There is a problem worth discussing, yes, but in this particular case I
was just (poorly) stating that those three references IMHO were clearly
informative; they concentrate on solutions, not the problems.
In this case, I believe they actually should have been Informative
> Sorry to pick on you Pekka, but your comment above, which
> implies that one can simply move the references from one section
> to another in order to avoid the "publication first" rule,
> illustrates either that
> * The normative/informative rule fails to solve the
> problem for which it was announced. Instead, it
> replaces the old problem ("careful effort must go into
> examination of a document to determine which references
> are actually normative") with a new, and harder, problem
> ("documents must be examined to ensure that actual
> normative references are not disguised as informative
> ones in the hope of earlier publication (or of making
> publication possible)").
True, this may be a problem. See below.
> * The IESG and RFC Editor have made a procedural rule
> that is sufficiently ill-defined that even people acting
> with good intent cannot determine what it actually means.
I think it's not that difficult to read through normative and informative
reference lists and state "OK, I think some of these belong the the other
category". So the split seems useful, because instead of everyone forming
their own opinion on what is normative/informative, there is one split
shown which people should agree to (or if disagree, send in comments to
change the fact).
> To be fair to Pekka, simply changing things to avoid a rule is
> probably not what he intended. But, I have certainly seen
> documents in which references that were almost certainly
> normative were listed as informative and then published. Had
> those references been listed as normative, the documents in
> question would still be sitting in queue. So this makes a
> useful example.
Certainly, there are cases like these.
> I suggest that the document be expanded to include something
No comment on this proposal.
> In generating procedural rules to supplement written,
> community-approved procedures, the IESG (and others) sometimes
> underspecify those rules, leading to
> (i) an additional requirement for case-by-case,
> seemingly-arbitrary, decisions and to
> (ii) the development of a subtle "oral tradition" around
> those rules, and to
> (iii) an opportunity and incentive for people to "game"
> the rules, in the hope of escaping (or imposing)
> whatever burdens they imply.
> The first of these results is a cause of "late surprises" and
> wasted time, since a document editor, other individual IETF
> participant, or WG, acting in good faith, often cannot know how
> things will be handled without picking an approach, completing
> the work, and then seeing how things work out. It is also one
> of the causes (or enabling mechanisms) of people --ADs or not--
> trying to influence the decisions of a WG by making "the IESG
> will never accept..." or "the IESG will require..." statements
> that seem plausible given the rules.
> The second acts as a barrier to effective and efficient
> participation by those who are relatively new to the IETF and,
> often has greater impact on non-native speakers of English than
> on those who are good at discerning subtle meanings and intent.
> And the third wastes everyone's time -- that of the participant
> who is trying to find a loophole and exploit it, that of
> reviewers trying to detect any such exploits, and that of the
> community when the exploits get through the system anyway -- and
> leads to unnecessary delays. And, of course, when they do get
> through, they can be a source of lower quality than we would
> like (also discussed elsewhere).
Pekka Savola "You each name yourselves king, yet the
Netcore Oy kingdom bleeds."
Systems. Networks. Security. -- George R.R. Martin: A Clash of Kings
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