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General Area

General Area Review Team (GEN-ART) Guidelines

These are guidelines for document review within the GEN-ART.

See also: FAQ, Reviewers, New Review Tool!

Timeline of Review

Documents are typically assigned to a GEN-ART reviewer during IETF-LC. The documents may be re-reviewed once they appear on a Telechat agenda. Documents may also be reviewed at the request of ADs prior to IETF-LC.

The process for reviewing Early documents:

  • The Secretary assigns a reviewer when a request comes in from an AD via the IETF chair. The assignments are typically done on Thursday evenings, along with any LC assignments.
  • We expect the reviewer to be done before the deadline (typically 2 weeks).
  • The reviewer sends the review to the Gen-ART list
  • The reviewer also sends the review to the AD, WG chairs & authors, and optionally to the WG mailing list.

The process for reviewing documents at Last Call:

  • The Secretary assigns a reviewer using a round robin order based on availability, within a week of the Last Call announcement – typically on Thursday evenings.
  • We expect the reviewer to be done before the end of Last Call.
  • The reviewer sends the review to the Gen-ART list
  • The reviewer also sends the review to the AD, WG chairs & authors, and optionally to the WG mailing list. Since IETF Last Call comments are commonly sent to the IETF discussion list, the reviewer may also choose to do that; in any case the review will be public.

The process for reviewing documents when they appear on the IESG agenda:

  • Secretary checks the IESG agenda one week before the IESG telechat. The agenda is typically finalized Thursday evening PDT, with late agenda items sometimes being added on Friday morning, thus the assignments are out either late Thursday evening or early Friday morning (PDT).
  • For documents reviewed at Last Call, the same reviewer is assigned and a new review is only asked for if the document is revised or issues resolved.
  • The Secretary assigns a reviewer using a round robin order based on availibility for any new document not previously assigned or reviewed.
  • Reviewers send their review to the Gen-ART list no later than COB (i.e., 8 PM EDT) the Tuesday before the telechat (earlier is better!)
  • Reviews should be copied to authors, responsible ADs and WG chairs, unless the review finds no issues. Also, including a link to the FAQ in the email has proved essential for the recipients of the review in understanding the context.
  • If the AD concludes that the concerns raised by the reviewer warrant blocking the document, the AD will do so.

The telechats are every other Thursday, with the agenda finalized on the Thursday evening one week prior to the telechat.

Form of review

Each review must include one of the following at the beginning of the review:

Please resolve these comments along with any other comments you may receive.

  • For IETF Last Call reviews: I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed by the IESG for the IETF Chair. Please treat these comments just like any other last call comments. For more information, please see the FAQ at <http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/area/gen/trac/wiki/GenArtfaq>.
  • For IESG Evaluation reviews: I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed by the IESG for the IETF Chair. Please wait for direction from your document shepherd or AD before posting a new version of the draft. For more information, please see the FAQ at <http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/area/gen/trac/wiki/GenArtfaq>.

Each review must include a summary statement chosen from or adapted from the following list:

  • This draft is ready for publication as a [type] RFC, where [type] is Informational, Experimental, etc. (In some cases, the review might recommend publication as a different [type] than requested by the author.)
  • This draft is basically ready for publication, but has nits that should be fixed before publication.
  • This draft is on the right track but has open issues, described in the review.
  • This draft has serious issues, described in the review, and needs to be rethought.
  • This draft has very fundamental issues, described in the review, and further work is not recommended.
  • Unfortunately, I don't have the expertise to review this draft.

The length of a review will vary greatly according to circumstances, and it is acceptable for purely editorial comments to be sent privately if it's obvious that the document will have to be substantially revised anyway. All substantive comments must be included in the public review. Wherever possible, they should be written as suggestions for improvement rather than as simple criticism. Explicit references to prior work and prior IETF discussion should be given.

Reviewers should review for all kinds of problems, from basic architectural or security issues, Internet-wide impact, technical nits, problems of form and format (such as IANA Considerations or incorrect references),and editorial issues. Since these reviews are on documents that are supposed to be finished, the review should consider "no issue too small" - but cover the whole range from the general architectural level to the editorial level. However, a review which consists only of copy-editing is not productive. If the reviewer feels that a draft is too badly written to advance, it will be sufficient to say so with one or two examples.

The review should apply generally agreed IETF criteria, such as

[RFC1958] The Architectural Principles of the Internet

[RFC3426] General Architectural and Policy Considerations

[RFC3439] Some Internet Architectural Guidelines and Philosophy

[NITS] The "I-D Nits" document maintained by the IESG

[RFC2223] Instructions to RFC Authors

[BCP26] Guidelines for Writing an IANA Considerations Section in RFCs

[RFC3552] Guidelines for Writing RFC Text on Security Considerations

as well as any other applicable architectural or procedural documents. It is important that reviews give precise references to such criteria when relevant.

Of special interest to the GEN area (because it's no area's special interest) is:

  • Clear description of why the document or protocol is useful to the Internet
  • Adherence to IETF formalities such as capitalized MUST/SHOULD (ID-Nits)
  • Useful and reasonable IANA considerations
  • Correct dependencies for normative references
  • That it's written in reasonably clear English

What is a Serious Issue?

When is a reviewer likely to flag an issue as major, which may well lead to a DISCUSS ballot in the IESG unless it's fixed in advance?

The IESG's own guidelines are at https://www.ietf.org/iesg/statement/discuss-criteria.html. Reviewers (or authors) can put themselves in the IETF Chair's shoes. Would you definitely hold up the document for this (i.e. a solid DISCUSS)? Would publishing it as-is be actively misleading or harmful? Then it's major.

Would you possibly place a DISCUSS, which you would very likely drop as soon as an author or the sponsoring AD explained the point or said "sure, we'll fix that"? Or would you simply issue a COMMENT and ballot No Objection? Then it's minor.

Are you just saving some work for the RFC Editor? Then it's a nit.

However, all these are judgment calls in the end.

Draft Email Aliases

The following aliases can be helpful in getting the reviews to the right targets, replacing draftname by !draft-ietf-wg-topic (without -xx version)

draftname@ietf.org Draft authors (for now, could change)
draftname.authors@ietf.org Draft authors
draftname.chairs@ietf.org WG Chairs (if the draft is a WG draft)
draftname.notify@ietf.org The addresses entered into the tracker's email notification field for the draft
draftname.ad@ietf.org The sponsoring AD, if the draft has gone to the IESG
draftname.all@ietf.org All of the above, merged into one alias

Mailing List

All reviews must be sent to the IETF gen-art mailing list: https://www1.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/gen-art

Review Tool

Reviews are managed using a specific tool. Reviewers can log in to the tool which contains its own user guide: http://art.tools.ietf.org/tools/art/genart/

Archiving of reviews

All reviews are archived. They are visible in the mailing list archive, along with any subsequent discussion copied to the list: http://www.ietf.org/mail-archive/web/gen-art/current/maillist.html

Last modified 9 months ago Last modified on Nov 30, 2016, 10:53:47 AM