Internet-Draft IETF Discussion List Charter July 2021
Eggert Expires 27 January 2022 [Page]
Network Working Group
3005 (if approved)
Intended Status:
Best Current Practice
L. Eggert

IETF Discussion List Charter


The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) discussion mailing list furthers the development and specification of Internet technology through the general discussion of topics for which no dedicated mailing lists exists. As this is the most general IETF mailing list, considerable latitude is allowed, but there are posts that are unsuitable for this mailing list.

This document obsoletes RFC3005.

Note to Readers

Discussion of this draft takes place on the GENDISPATCH working group mailing list, which is archived at

Working Group information can be found at; source code and the issues list for this draft can be found at

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on 27 January 2022.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

The IETF discussion list [IETF-DISCUSS] furthers the development and specification of Internet technology through the general discussion of topics for which no dedicated mailing lists exists. As this is the most general IETF mailing list, considerable latitude is allowed. However, there are posts that are unsuitable for this mailing list. This document defines the charter for the IETF discussion list and explains its scope.

The IETF Note Well [NOTE-WELL] applies to discussions on the IETF discussion list and all other IETF mailing lists, and requires conformance with the IETF Guidelines for Conduct [RFC7154] and the Anti-Harassment Policy [IETF-AHP], among others.

2. Charter for the IETF Discussion List

The IETF discussion list is meant for discussions for which a more appropriate list does not exist, such as discussions that do not fall within the area of any working group, area or other established list. When discussions are started on the IETF discussion list for which such venues do exist, they should be moved there as soon as this is pointed out.

When no dedicated mailing list exists, it may be preferable to request the creation of one [NON-WG-LISTS] and only announce the availability of the new list on the IETF discussion list and on other related lists, such as area lists.

Appropriate postings to the IETF discussion list include:

These topics used to be in scope for the IETF discussion list, but have since moved to dedicated lists:

Inappropriate postings include:

3. Moderation

A sergeant-at-arms (SAA) is an officer appointed by a deliberative body to keep order during its meetings [SAA-WIKIPEDIA]. SAAs for the IETF discussion list are appointed by the IETF Chair and are empowered to restrict posting by a person, or of a thread, when the content is inappropriate and represents a pattern of abuse. They are encouraged to take into account the overall nature of the postings by an individual and whether particular postings are an aberration or typical.

The SAAs are intended to establish a self-moderation function on the community, by the community. The IETF Chair therefore should not appoint an SAA who is serving in a NomCom-appointed IETF leadership position. If an SAA is selected for such a position, they will step down as SAA.

Apart from appointing SAAs, the IETF Chair should divorce themselves from the day-to-day operation and management of the SAA team. This has been in practice for a while, and the SAA team has independently maintained definitions of abuse patterns [SAA-UPC] and operating procedures [SAA-SOP] for them. The SAA team should reach out to the IETF Chair for any conflict resolution in a timely manner.

Because an SAA serves at the discretion of the IETF Chair - even if the IETF Chair is not otherwise involved in the operation of the SAA team - any SAA decision could be appealed to the IAB. The IAB shall then review the situation and attempt to resolve it in a manner of its own choosing.

4. Security Considerations

This document does not raise any security issues.

5. IANA Considerations

This document does not request any IANA actions.

6. References

6.1. Normative References

Harris, S., "IETF Discussion List Charter", BCP 45, RFC 3005, DOI 10.17487/RFC3005, , <>.

6.2. Informative References

IETF, "Discussion List for IETF LLC Administrative Issues", n.d., <>.
IETF, "IETF Anti-Harassment Policy", n.d., <>.
IETF, "IETF Announcement List", n.d., <>.
IETF, "IETF Discussion List", n.d., <>.
IETF, "IETF Last Calls", n.d., <>.
IETF, "Non-Working Group Email List Guidelines", n.d., <>.
IETF, "Note Well", n.d., <>.
Moonesamy, S., Ed., "IETF Guidelines for Conduct", BCP 54, RFC 7154, DOI 10.17487/RFC7154, , <>.
IETF Sergeants-at-Arms, "Sergeant-at-Arms Standard Operating Procedures", n.d., <>.
IETF Sergeants-at-Arms, "Unprofessional Commentary", n.d., <>.
Wikipedia, "Serjeant-at-Arms", n.d., <>.

Appendix A. Acknowledgements

The following people have made contributions to this document:

Susan R. Harris authored [RFC3005], which this document replaces.

Appendix B. Changes

B.1. Since draft-eggert-bcp45bis-02

  • additional details about and guidelines for the SAA team, based on a suggestion from Dhruv Dhody
  • remove reference to the IETF 110 attendees list, since those lists are being removed by the secretariat shoryly after each meeting

B.3. Since draft-eggert-bcp45bis-00

  • added introduction, security considerations and IANA considerations sections
  • added "note to readers" with pointers to the discussion list and the repo
  • added references to IETF Sergeants-at-Arms procedures
  • added references to various mailing lists for topics that used to be in scope for the IETF discussion list but no longer are
  • added references to the Note Well and relevant other policies that apply

B.4. Since RFC3005

  • converted to Markdown and xml2rfc v3
  • updated references (as part of the conversion)
  • updated author information
  • various formatting changes

Author's Address

Lars Eggert
Stenbergintie 12 B
FI-02700 Kauniainen