Request for Comments: 6292
Requirements for a Working Group Charter Tool
The IETF intends to provide a new tool to Area Directors for the creation, re-chartering, and closing of Working Groups. The tool will also allow the IETF community to view the status of the chartering process. This document describes the requirements for the proposed new tool, and it is intended as input to a later activity for the design and development of such a tool.
Status of This Memo
This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is published for informational purposes.
This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). It represents the consensus of the IETF community. It has received public review and has been approved for publication by the Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG). Not all documents approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.
Information about the current status of this document, any errata, and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at http://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc6292.
Copyright © 2011 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.
This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 1.1. WG Charter Process Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. General Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2.1. WG Records . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 2.2. Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.3. Naming of Charter Text Proposals . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.4. Wording of Announcements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 2.5. Access to the Tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 2.6. Initializing the Tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3. Creating and Rechartering WGs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3.1. Chartering a New WG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 3.2. Rechartering an Existing WG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 3.3. Ballots for Charter Approval . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 4. Requesting the Closing of a WG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 5. Searching, Comparing, and Tracking Charters . . . . . . . . . 9 5.1. Viewing and Searching the Charter Database . . . . . . . . 9 5.2. Seeing Differences between Versions of Pre-Approval Wordings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 5.3. Tracking Charters with an Atom Feed . . . . . . . . . . . 10 6. Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 7. Acknowledgements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 8. References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 8.1. Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 8.2. Informative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
[RFC2418] describes the guidelines and procedures for formation and operation of IETF Working Groups (WGs). Since the publication of RFC 2418 in 1998, the IETF has started many dozen new WGs, and has shut down many dozen. In that time, many WGs have had some (often dozens) changes to their charters.
Today, virtually all of the tasks associated with creating, rechartering, and closing a WG are performed manually. An Area Director (AD) requests one of these actions by manually sending a message to the Secretariat's ticket system. A member of the Secretariat staff manually updates the internal Secretariat database and the IETF Datatracker, manually places the WG on the IESG teleconference agenda (when appropriate), and manually sends out all of the required messages and announcements.
The IETF Administrative Oversight Committee (IAOC) would like to create a better tool for those tasks, and this document lists the requirements for such a tool. When complete, this document may be used to issue an RFP for the design and development of the tool. This document was prepared at the request of the IAOC.
1.1. WG Charter Process Overview
As described in [RFC2418], a key responsibility of the IESG is the creation, re-chartering, and closing of WGs. Creation and rechartering of WGs is a multi-step process that involves internal review of a draft charter by the IESG and IAB, an external review of the draft charter by the IETF community and by other standards bodies, and (likely) approval of a final charter by the IESG. The internal review by the IESG and IAB, and the external review by the IETF community, often result in revisions to the draft charter.
Closing of a WG does not require review or approval by the IESG. Rather, a WG may be closed at the request of an AD, normally the Area Advisor for the WG.
Note that the charter and recharter processes do not involve changing of WG milestones. A tool that handles milestone updates will likely be created in the future.
2. General Requirements
The tool described here holds records for new WGs that are being considered as well as for all WGs whose charter are under review.
2.1. WG Records
A WG record contains the following fields:
o name of the WG
- the WG's acronym
- names of the WG chairs (if known)
- names of the WG secretary (if any)
- names of the WG technical advisors (if any)
- shepherding AD
- IETF area
- charter text
- mailing list address and archive location
- previous mailing list (if any)
- other web sites (such as wikis, trackers, and/or project sites, if any) including web sites existing prior to the WG formation
- earlier acronyms for the WG
- explanation for why the WG is being chartered or rechartered (if any)
In addition, a WG record contains the state of the WG in the review process. That state has one annotation: whether or not the state is for a proposed WG or for an existing WG undergoing rechartering. Some changes in state cause messages to be sent to the Secretariat so that the Secretariat can perform additional steps, such as sending out mail to various parties about the latest version of the charter text, deadlines for an upcoming decision, and so on.
When a WG record is displayed, that display should also reflect whether the WG currently exists or has been closed; that data comes from a different part of the Datatracker database.
Any AD can modify fields in an existing WG record. Any AD can use the tool to change the review state of a WG record. The normal order for steps is shown in this document, but an AD can set the state to any valid value at any time.
During the reviews for WG creation and rechartering, ADs can comment on the reviews. Any AD can add a comment to the record of a WG that is under review. Each comment can be flagged as either "blocking" (meaning blocking forward movement until it is resolved) and "non- blocking" (meaning that it is only informative or editorial).
2.3. Naming of Charter Text Proposals
Charter text proposals are to be kept for historical purposes. They are kept in files with a specific naming pattern. The pattern for charters before a WG is formed is:
- "wgacronym" is the acronym of the proposed WG.
- "nn" is a two-digit charter number assigned in sequence. It starts at "00" for before the WG is first chartered; the first finished charter has a value of "01".
- "mm" is a two-digit proposal number assigned in sequence. It starts at "00" for the first proposal for a particular version of charter. It is omitted in the actual charter file.
For instance, if the "example" WG is chartered and then rechartered twice, you might have the following sequence of files:
charter-ietf-example-00-00.txt (first proposal) charter-ietf-example-00-01.txt (second proposal) charter-ietf-example-00-02.txt (third proposal) charter-ietf-example-01.txt (first charter) charter-ietf-example-01-00.txt (first recharter proposal) charter-ietf-example-01-01.txt (second recharter proposal) charter-ietf-example-01-02.txt (third recharter proposal) charter-ietf-example-02.txt (second charter) charter-ietf-example-02-00.txt (next recharter proposal) . . . charter-ietf-example-03.txt (third charter)
2.4. Wording of Announcements
An AD can view and edit the standard "WG Review" and "WG Action" announcements before they are sent out during the WG creation, rechartering, and closing processes. If the AD edits the message, the Secretariat is alerted to that fact when they receive the request.
2.5. Access to the Tool
Area Directors and the IETF Secretariat currently have access to perform some actions in the Datatracker that other community members do not; this access control continues to be used in many of the extensions listed in this document. Further, the IETF Secretariat can perform all actions that can be performed by any AD in this tool.
2.6. Initializing the Tool
Records for all WGs that are being created, or are in the process of charter updates, will be added before the tool is first publicly deployed.
The database should also be initialized with current and historical data, namely as much information as is currently known about existing and closed WGs that can be done in a mostly-automated fashion.
3. Creating and Rechartering WGs
3.1. Chartering a New WG
Any AD can create a new WG record using a simple web form. Creating a record should succeed as long as there is no other WG with the same name. Names must be unique, so the tool will warn the AD if the acronym that is being proposed has been used in earlier WG charter proposals and suggest against its use for a new charter. By default, the field in the form listing the shepherding AD will be prepopulated with the name of the AD who is filling in the form. The AD can fill in all the fields for the proposed WG. The names of the WG chairs can be left off during the initial chartering process.
(Some Secretariat tools have trouble with acronyms of more than eight characters: they truncate the name. This will probably be fixed in the future. The new tool should have a configuration setting that is set to 8 initially, and it should be adjusted when the Secretariat tools are updated. There may also be problems with names that have hyphens in them. However, WGs that have more than eight characters in their names, and WGs with hyphens in their names, have existed for over a year.)
Creating a new WG record causes the Datatracker state for this potential new WG to be "Informal IESG review". When the record is created, the AD proposes a length of time (in weeks) for the internal review time; the default is one week.
The review states in which a WG can exist during its initial chartering are:
- Informal IESG review -- This is the initial state, moved into by the tool when an AD creates a WG record. When the WG record is moved to this state, a message is sent to the Secretariat. The normal next state is "Internal review" if the idea is accepted, or "Not currently under review" if the idea is abandoned. The tool should prompt the AD if they try to move to the next state in less than the minimum elapsed time set by the AD when creating the WG, but allow the move if the AD responds to the prompt.
- Internal review -- The IESG and IAB are reviewing the early draft of the charter; this is the initial IESG and IAB review. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to place this on the next IESG telechat and to inform the IAB. The usual next state is "External review" if the idea is adopted, or "Informal IESG review" if the IESG decides the idea needs more work, or "Not currently under review" if the idea is abandoned.
- External review -- The IETF community and possibly other standards development organizations (SDOs) are reviewing the proposed charter. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to send out the external review announcement to the appropriate lists. The external review announcement will be sent out to the normal IETF-related mailing lists. The AD can specify whether or not to send the announcement to other SDOs (with the default being that it should be), and the AD can also specify additional recipients who should receive the announcement. When moved to this state, a separate note is sent to the Secretariat to schedule discussion for the next IESG telechat. The usual next state is "IESG review", although it might move to "Not currently under review" if the idea is abandoned during the external review.
- IESG review -- The IESG is reviewing the discussion from the external review of the proposed charter. The usual next state is "WG exists", or "Not currently under review" if the idea is abandoned.
- WG exists -- The WG was approved by the IESG. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to publish the charter and send the appropriate announcements. The WG remains in this state until there is a request to update the charter.
- Not currently under review -- The proposed WG is not being considered at this time. A proposed WG charter will remain in this state until an AD moves it to "Informa1 IESG review".
All states above, except for "WG exists", are given the annotation "Initial chartering".
The chartering process involves the proposed charter appearing on two IESG telechats. The tool should allow an AD and/or the Secretariat to select the telechat date for the approval events. When the telechat is selected, the state determines where it appears on that telechat's agenda.
3.2. Rechartering an Existing WG
Any AD can request that a WG be rechartered using a simple web form. This form prompts with the current charter and allows all fields to be edited. Asking for a recharter causes the Datatracker state for this WG to be "Informal IESG review". When the recharter record is created, the AD proposes a length of time (in weeks) for the internal review time; the default is one week.
The review states in which a WG can exist during rechartering are:
- WG exists; Informal IESG recharter review -- This is the initial state, moved into by the tool when an AD asks for a WG to be rechartered. When the WG record is moved to this state, a message is sent to the Secretariat. The normal next state is "WG exists; Internal review" if the idea is accepted, or "WG exists" if this attempt to recharter is abandoned. The tool should prompt the AD if they try to move to the next state in less than the minimum elapsed time set by the AD when asking to recharter the WG.
- WG exists; Internal recharter review -- The IESG and IAB are reviewing the proposed new charter; this is the initial IESG and IAB review of the new charter. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to place this on the next IESG telechat and to inform the IAB. The usual next state is "WG exists; External review" if the idea is adopted, or "WG exists; Informal IESG review" if the IESG decides the idea needs more work, or "WG exists" if the current rechartering is abandoned or if the new charter is approved during internal review.
- WG exists; External recharter review -- The IETF community and possibly other SDOs are reviewing the proposed new charter. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to send out the external review announcement to the appropriate lists. The external review announcement will be sent to the normal IETF- related mailing lists. The AD can specify whether or not to send the announcement to other SDOs (with the default being that it should be), and the AD can also specify additional recipients who should receive the announcement. The usual next state is "WG exists; IESG review", although it might move to "WG exists" if the current rechartering is abandoned during the external review.
- WG exists; IESG recharter review -- The IESG is reviewing the discussion from the external review of the recharter. When moved to this state, a note is sent to the Secretariat to schedule discussion for the next IESG telechat. The usual next state is "WG exists".
All states above are given the annotation "Rechartering".
When rechartering existing WGs, the IESG decides whether or not the recharter needs an external review; many do not.
The rechartering process involves the proposed charter appearing on one or two IESG telechats. The tool should allow an AD and/or the Secretariat to select the telechat date for the approval events. When the telechat is selected, the state determines where it appears on that telechat's agenda.
3.3. Ballots for Charter Approval
The current Datatracker has facilities for ballots on adoption of Internet-Drafts to become RFCs. A separate facility needs to be created to allow balloting for initial chartering or rechartering during IESG review. The balloting for charter and rechartering will allow ADs to express "yes", "no", and "abstain" positions, and will allow ADs to change their positions over time.
As described in Section 2.2, comments can be added to the record for a WG. It is expected that such comments will be added during the balloting process.
4. Requesting the Closing of a WG
An AD can use the tool to request that the Secretariat close an existing WG. The request action will prompt the AD to provide instructions regarding the disposition of each active Internet-Draft (such as to withdraw the draft, move it to another WG, convert it to an individual submission, and so on), wording for the closure announcement, and the status of the WG mailing list (will it remain open or should it be closed).
5. Searching, Comparing, and Tracking Charters
5.1. Viewing and Searching the Charter Database
All members of the IETF community can view the public portions of the charter database. This public view should have an explanation of the states given in this document. They can also search for a WG record in the tool based on one or more of the following criteria:
- WG name (full or partial)
- WG acronym
- WG charter state
- Shepherding AD
- Text in any of the fields
- Earlier acronyms for the WG
Further, all users can view all snapshots of earlier versions of a WG's charter. Snapshots include the Area, AD, WG name, WG acronym, chairs, and charter text.
5.2. Seeing Differences between Versions of Pre-Approval Wordings
It needs to be easy to compare differences between different versions of proposed charter language, up to and including the approved version. Using the naming formats given in Section 2, this means that it must be easy to compare wgacronym-charter-ss (for the highest value of "ss") with wgacronym-recharter-ss-nn. It must also be possible to compare any two versions of approved charters (that is, of two values for "ss" in wgacronym-charter-ss). It also must be easy to compare two versions that have different acronyms in the case that the acronym changes during the chartering process.
5.3. Tracking Charters with an Atom Feed
The tool needs to provide an Atom feed [RFC4287] for the changes in a charter. The contents of the feed are the full WG record, plus an indication of what changed since the last entry in the feed.
6. Security Considerations
Creating a new tool for tracking the charter of WGs does not affect the security of the Internet in any significant fashion.
This document draws heavily on earlier work done on this topic by other writers, such as previous IESG and IAB members. Various members of the IESG contributed many suggestions to this document. In particular David Harrington, Robert Sparks, and Russ Housley contributed a great deal of wording and many ideas.
8.1. Normative References
8.2. Informative References