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Re: Complaints regarding Draft Status and Author

From: Jeffrey Mogul <mogul@pa.dec.com>
Date: Wed, 09 Aug 95 11:44:17 MDT
Message-Id: <9508091844.AA13105@acetes.pa.dec.com>
To: Roy Fielding <fielding@beach.w3.org>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
As a former IETF working group chair and I-D author, I've been in Roy's
shoes (although not quite as severely flamed).  Some people apparently
have the misguided opinion that the author of an Internet Draft is
required to satisfy all participants in the process.

Nonsense.  This is almost always impossible, and so it would be a
recipe for failure.

The duty of an I-D author is to produce a coherent, readable draft
that represents a reasonable consensus of the most appropriate
technical (and sometimes political) design.  If you don't like it,
you have several options:
	(1) try to convince the author to change his or her draft.
	This is often best done in private.
	(2) try to convince the group to reject the draft.  This
	is usually done in public, but it has the unfortunate
	side effect of blocking any progress.
	(3) write your own draft, if you think you know better.
	Let the group choose between two options for progress.
It's pointless to complain that an I-D author isn't listening
to you.  Writing an I-D is hard work (especially for one as
technically and politically complex as HTTP 1.0).  If you
simply make the author's life unbearable, we'll end up with
no draft, not one that represents your own personal opinion.

Roy (or anyone else who attempts to write an HTTP 1.0 standard) has
the especially difficult position of trying to describe existing
practice, not a new protocol, when existing practice is so
variable and sometimes idiotic.  I think it might be a good idea
for the working group to agree on an explicit statement of criteria
for including or not including a feature in the 1.0 standard.  As
far as I can tell, such an explicit statement does not exist, at
least not (1) in a widely known place and (2) with the consensus
of the group behind it.  It ought to be part of the Charter.

I suggest that the WG chair make this a high priority, so that we
can dispense with arguments about what HTTP 1.0 should and should
not be doing, and start discussing whether Roy's draft meets the
consensus criteria.

-Jeff
Received on Wednesday, 9 August 1995 13:09:21 EDT

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