The Process for Organization of Internet Standards Working Group (POISED)
RFC 1640

Document Type RFC - Informational (June 1994; No errata)
Author Steve Crocker 
Last updated 2013-03-02
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Network Working Group                                         S. Crocker
Request for Comments: 1640                                           TIS
Category: Informational                                        June 1994

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

Status of this Memo

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

Abstract

   This report, originally prepared in January 1993 provides a summary
   of the POISED 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 possible.

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 IESG then formulated a plan of action for further exploration of
   the issues and forwarded these recommendations to the 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
   was political: Who makes decisions within the Internet community?
   Who chooses who makes these decisions?

Crocker                                                         [Page 1]
RFC 1640                    POISED WG Report                   June 1994

   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 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
   Secretariat's database.)

Deliberations: August through mid-November

   The formation of the POISED WG provided a forum for discussion of
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