WG Chairs' Guide
Everything a WG Chair Needs to Know but Was Afraid to Ask
The job of an IETF Working Group Chair is challenging (see GeneralRequirements) and needs a lot of procedural knowledge, technical expertise and management skill. This guide has been created as a collaboration among Chairs; it is meant to be informal and certainly doesn't count as official rules.
It is permanently a work in progress; please feel free to contribute from your experience by editing this (or any other) page using the "Edit this page" link at the bottom; if you need to, you can obtain a new login. WikiFormatting will give you a detailed description of available Wiki formatting commands, and TracGuide is a good place to start.
See also the Working Group Chairs page maintained by the secretariat.
The IETF is governed by a bunch of process rules, related procedures and folklore.
- BCP9: The Internet Standards Process
- BCP25: IETF Working Group Guidelines and Procedures
- BCP54: IETF Guidelines for Conduct
- BCP83: A Practice for Revoking Posting Rights to IETF Mailing Lists
- BCP94: Updates to RFC 2418 Regarding the Management of IETF Mailing Lists
- IESG Statements and the IESG Wiki
IntellectualProperty can be tricky, so it has a page of its own.
See also the list of formally accepted process BCPs.
The formal rules are not complete and unambiguous in all cases, and the IESG exercises some judgement in applying them; appeals sometimes result.
There are many tools available to help with the chair's tasks. Some of the important ones are:
- the datatracker, to track and manage the progress of drafts
- Requesting publication of a working group document is now done with the datatracker.
- Milestones are now updated through the datatracker. Information about updating milestones is available here.
- Document replacements are now recorded in the datatracker. In the datatracker view of the new document, click the word "Replaces" near the top of the page, and enter the name of the older document that this one replaces. You can add more than one, if that's appropriate for the particular document.
- the meetings materials management tool
- the online id-nits checker (and see these notes about ID nits)
- the ABNF and XML validation tools
- WG document status summary pages
- Some chairs may find this handy tool to be useful.
See the IETF Tools page for a listing of other useful tools.
There are some common actions that WG chairs take that do not have tools. One such important step is getting document shepherd writeups. It is often useful as part of improving WG member skills and participation to appoint WG members as shepherds. In the end however, the chair is responsible for seeing that a document is properly shepherded. As part of that, the chair needs to be aware of the IESG expectations on shepherd writeups: https://www.ietf.org/iesg/template/doc-writeup.html
Other common actions that do not require tools are:
- (The list is empty right now...)
The status of I-Ds in the IETF document stream can be tracked through the datatracker. The document states are defined in RFC 6174. If the document is going through a Working Group Last Call (WGLC), for example, that state can be set through the "IETF State" field in the datatracker web page for the I-D. The identity of the document shepherd can be added through the "Document Shepherd" field, and the shepherd writeup can be added or changed through the "Shepherd Write-Up" field.
All working group chairs should already have a datatracker login. If you don't, click the "New Account" link on the top left of the datatracker page. If you do, click the "Sign In" link on the top right. It's important to remember to check that you're logged in: currently, the datatracker cookies are too short-lived, and you'll find that you're often logged off when you're not expecting it.
May a Working Group Chair edit a WG draft? DocumentEditor
Soliciting Implementation Feedback
An important consideration when progressing documents is whether the protocol is implementable, or has in fact been implemented. One way to track implementations is by including an Implementation Status section, as recommended in RFC 6982. More information is available on the Running Code page.
Useful Email Addresses
Replace draftname by draft-full-draft-name (without -xx version):
|firstname.lastname@example.org||Draft authors (for now, could change)|
|email@example.com||Draft authors (explicitly; will not change)|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||WG Chairs (if the draft is a WG draft)|
|email@example.com||The document shepherd, if one has been assigned|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||The addresses entered into the tracker's email notification field for the draft|
|email@example.com||The sponsoring AD, if the draft has gone to the IESG|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||All of the above, merged into one alias|
To see the expansion of all the aliases associated with a document, use http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/draft-full-draft-name/email-aliases/ To see all aliases for all documents (big page!), use http://datatracker.ietf.org/doc/email-aliases/
Replace wgname with the short name (acronym) of the working group, and areaname with the three-letter name of the area:
|email@example.com||All ADs for the WG's area (not just the responsible one)|
|firstname.lastname@example.org||All WG Chairs in the specified area|
|email@example.com||All ADs for the specified area|
To see the expansion of all the aliases for a specified working group, use http://datatracker.ietf.org/group/wgname/email-aliases/ To see all aliases for all working groups, use http://datatracker.ietf.org/group/email-aliases/
Holding effective WG meetings
- use of note-takers/secretaries
- things to do before/during the meeting; starting a checklist here.
Other / Tips and Tricks
Stuff that didn't fit nicely into any other category...
Topics to Add
This wiki is just starting to be populated. Here are some of the topics that have been brought up so far. If there's something important that you don't see anywhere, at least add a point to this list.
- scheduling meetings
- finding expert review (and when to go looking for it)
- finding (and tracking) reviewers
- Interim meetings and conference calls
- see the interim meetings page
- see the IESG statement for Guidance on Interim Meetings, Conference Calls and Jabber Sessions
- getting an interim approved
- holding a successful interim
- managing mailing list discussions
- Handling of Liaison statements