Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)
Request for Comments: 6722
Obsoletes: 4677
Category: Informational
ISSN: 2070-1721
P. Hoffman, Ed.
VPN Consortium
August 2012

Publishing the "Tao of the IETF" as a Web Page


This document describes how the "Tao of the IETF", which has been published as a series of RFCs in the past, is instead being published as a web page. It also contains the procedure for publishing and editing that web page.

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

Copyright Notice

Copyright © 2012 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 ( 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.

1. Introduction

The "Tao of the IETF" ("Tao") describes the inner workings of IETF meetings and Working Groups, discusses organizations related to the IETF, and introduces the standards process. It is not a formal IETF process document but instead an informational overview. The Tao has traditionally been published as an RFC. It has been published as RFCs 1391, 1539, 1718, and 3160; it is currently [RFC4677].

At the time this document is published, there is a strong desire in the IETF community to turn the Tao into a web page that can be updated more easily. This document describes that process. At the same time, this document formally obsoletes the last version of the Tao that was published as an RFC because the last version, RFC 4677, is no longer considered the "latest" version of the Tao: the new web page is.

This document contains the procedure agreed to by the IESG. The Tao has traditionally been an IETF consensus document, which means that the IESG has had the final say about what the Tao contained before it was sent to the RFC Editor. Thus, the IESG should have final say regarding what the Tao says when it is a web page.

2. Procedure for Publishing and Editing the Tao

   The Tao is published at <> and
   <>.  The initial content for the Tao web
   page is based on a draft document that was meant to replace RFC 4677.

The Tao is edited by one or more people as designated by the IESG. Suggestions for changes to the Tao are discussed on the mailing list.

The editor of the Tao decides which proposed changes should be submitted to the IESG for approval. The editor publishes the proposed changes in a version at <>. The IESG may accept as many of the proposed changes as it wishes. The IESG then submits the changed version to the IETF Secretariat for publication on the IETF web page at the URLs given above. The Tao editor and the IESG should confirm that the page appears on the web site as intended.

   Each version of the Tao has a visible timestamp near the beginning of
   the document.  All published versions are archived using URLs of the
   form <>, and a list
   of the revisions is available at <>.

From time to time, versions of the Tao are translated into other languages. These translations do not represent IETF consensus and may be provided on an "as is" basis. The issues of how translations are recorded, made available, cross-referenced to versions of the Tao, and archived are outside the scope of this document and are for future study.

3. Proposals for How the Tao Web Page Should Be Developed

During the discussion that led to this document, there were many proposals for how the Tao, as a web page, should be published and edited. Some wanted just a web page; some wanted a web page and periodic snapshots as RFCs. Some wanted a wiki that could be easily edited by anyone in the IETF community, with a master editor who would revert bad edits; some wanted a wiki with a more limited group of contributors. The procedure in Section 2 above was the rough consensus of the discussion.

5. Security Considerations

   The Tao is available over Transport Layer Security (TLS) at

6. Informative References

   [RFC4677]  Hoffman, P. and S. Harris, "The Tao of IETF - A Novice's
              Guide to the Internet Engineering Task Force", BCP 17,
              RFC 4677, September 2006.

Author's Address

Paul Hoffman (editor)
VPN Consortium