The Process for Organization of Internet Standards Working Group (POISED)
RFC 1396

Document Type RFC - Informational (January 1993; No errata)
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Network Working Group                                         S. Crocker
Request for Comments: 1396             Trusted Information Systems, Inc.
                                                            January 1993

           The Process for Organization of Internet Standards
                         Working Group (POISED)
                          Steve Crocker, Chair

Status of this Memo

   This memo provides information for the Internet community.  It does
   not specify an Internet standard.  Distribution of this memo is


   This report provides a summary of the POISED Working Group (WG),
   starting from the events leading to the formation of the WG to the
   end of 1992.  Necessarily, this synopsis represents my own
   perception, particularly for the "prehistory" period.  Quite a few
   people hold strong views about both the overall sequence and specific
   events.  My intent here is to convey as neutral a point of view as

Background and Formation of POISED Working Group

   The POISED WG resulted from two sequences of activity, both
   intimately related to the growth of the Internet.  During 1991, there
   was great concern that the IP address space was being depleted and
   that the routing tables were growing too large.  Some change in the
   IP addressing and routing mechanisms seemed inevitable, and it became
   urgent to explore and choose what those changes should be.  The ROAD
   Working Group was formed to study the issues and recommend changes.
   The ROAD group returned with a specific recommendation for the short
   term, but did not reach a conclusion on a long term plan.

   The Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG) then formulated a plan
   of action for further exploration of the issues and forwarded these
   recommendations to the Internet Architecture Board (IAB).  In June
   1992, after the INET '92 meeting in Kobe, Japan, the IAB met and
   considered the IESG's recommendations.  After considering the IESG's
   recommendations, the IAB felt that additional ideas were also
   important, particularly some of the addressing ideas in the CLNP
   protocol.  The IAB communicated its concerns, and there was immediate
   controversy along two dimensions.  One dimension was technical: What
   is the best course for evolving the IP protocol?  How important or
   useful are the ideas in the OSI protocol stack?  The other dimension

Crocker                                                         [Page 1]
RFC 1396                     Poised Report                  January 1993

   was political: Who makes decisions within the Internet community?
   Who chooses who makes these decisions?

   As often happens during periods of conflict, communication suffered
   among the several parties.  The June communication from the IAB was
   understood by many an IAB decision or, equivalently, a sense of the
   decisions the IAB would make in the future.  In contrast, many if not
   all on the IAB felt that they were trying to open up the discussion
   and their memos were intended as advice and not decisions.  From my
   perspective, this form of miscommunication was partly due to the
   extended size of the Internet technical community.  When the
   community was much smaller, the IAB was in close contact with the day
   to day workings of the technical groups.  With the creation of the
   IESG and area directorates, there are now two or three layers between
   a working group and the IAB.

   These matters came to a head during the Internet Engineering Task
   Force (IETF) meeting in July in Cambridge, MA.  It was made clear
   that the consideration of changes to the IP protocol remained open.
   Work on that topic has proceeded and is reported in the appropriate
   forums.  However, it became clear that it was necessary to examine
   the decision process and the procedures for populating the IESG and
   IAB.  With respect to the procedures for selecting IAB and IESG
   members, the procedures that were in place derived from the creation
   of the Internet Society (ISOC) and the ISOC's sponsorship of the IAB.
   These procedures had been developed during the early part of 1992 and
   had been adopted by the ISOC during its meeting in Kobe in June.
   Hence, as fast as the ISOC was building the framework for supporting
   the Internet community, the community was questioning its structure
   and processes.

   Following the IETF meeting, Vint Cerf, Internet Society president,
   called for the formation of working group to examine the processes
   and particularly the selection process (Attachment 1).  During
   August, the working group was formed, I was asked to chair it, and a
   charter for the WG was formulated (Attachment 2).  (The acronym is
   due to Erik Huizer and originally stood for The Process for
   Organization of Internet Standards and Development.  It was shortened
   to fit into the space available on paper and in the IETF
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