Keith Moore moore at
Wed Feb 19 10:48:48 CET 2003

> > This is also (IMO) contributing to the (IMO unreasonable)
> > demand for perfection in everything published as a PS, because
> > most people realise that for most documents, that's as far as
> > they'll ever actually go. Not because they wouldn't qualify
> > for more, but because no-one has enough interest in doing the
> > extra work.
> Let me suggest a different, but equally problematic, 
> interpretation of the same data.  If the IESG (and RFC Editor ?) 
> insists on perfection at PS, doing so sufficiently exhausts 
> people and process that there is no energy for doing the work to 
> advance the document further. 

Maybe it's a chicken-and-egg problem.  IESG knows that documents at PS are
unlikely to be revised further, so it sees PS as a "last chance" to get some
basic things right.  However, I haven't seen any evidence that IESG tries to
raise the bar higher than that specified by RFC 2026.  I'd argue that far too
much crap gets approved for PS status.

As far as I can tell, with any project in any field, the initial enthusiasm
soon wears off and is never recovered.  By the time a WG gets around to
producing a candidate for PS status, it's already too tired to give due
consideration to fixing problems in the spec that are identified via external
review.  There will always be less interest in advancing a document from
PS->DS or DS->FS than in producing the original document.

It's long seemed to me that the documents that are most likely to be 
advanced past PS are the ones for which serious bugs or deficiencies are found
in the PS version.  The advanced stages then serve as incentives to get the
bugs fixed.  But if the bugs aren't serious enough, the incentives that are in
place aren't sufficient motivation to get a document advanced. 

Maybe we should revamp the standards track so that there are enough incentives
to get multiple chances to subject a document to review.  But maybe we should
just realize that if implementors are able to produce interoperable products,
then that's a strong indication that we've done our job, and not worry too
much about how many documents make it to FS status.


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