A question about the role of the IESG

Brian E Carpenter brian at hursley.ibm.com
Wed Jan 8 17:26:54 CET 2003

John, as the most recent editor of the IAB charter maybe I should try to

john.loughney at nokia.com wrote:
> Hi Ran,
> I have read the document before, but I just re-read it, and now I am
> more confused than ever.

<big snip to remove quotes from RFC 2850>

> Without getting too nit-picky, it seems that there is overlap between
> the IAB charter and current IESG activity.  

I really didn't feel that way when developing the text of the IAB charter.
There was no IESG process document then, but as IAB Chair I was on the
IESG mailing list and telechats. What is true is that the IESG is at the
sharp end of "enforcing" architectural principles, because they get
to actually approve or reject documents, whereas the IAB has the luxury
to pontificate and criticise without actually having to deal with a
frustrated document author. But the big moves (like insisting on
meaningful Security Considerations, or the long debate about
chartering OPES) were in my experience always made by consensus 
between the IAB and the IESG.

Of course this is not black and white and there will always be points
of minor overlap and dissent as long as we have two committees. But
I think the functions are pretty distinct.

> I actually think that
> the work is important; I really don't care if it is the IAB or IESG
> who overseas architectural issues or provides editorial control over
> IABs.  

Assuming this means RFCs, neither committee has *editorial* control.
That lies with the RFC Editor. But again the separation of powers is
in fact clear in reality: the IAB oversees the RFC editor contract
and statement of work (formally signed, and funded, by ISOC), and the 
IESG approves (or disapproves) individual documents. Again there can be 
corner cases. For example, what happens if the IESG dislikes an IAB 
document? (Answer, in my experience: we talk it through and the document
ends up better.)

> What I don't like is the fact that there is a certain indeterminism
> in the current process about who executes what authority & when.
> Perhaps this will be better addressed when Harald is done with the IESG
> Processes draft.  

I hope so, because in reality I think there are very few ambiguities.

> I would prefer to see better scoping of both the IAB
> and IESG activities.

RFC 2850 is certainly not perfect, but I have trouble seeing how
it could be significantly more precise, given the nature of the IAB's 


More information about the Problem-statement mailing list