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On Consensus and Humming in the IETF (RFC7282) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000237553D
Original Publication Date: 2014-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2014-Jun-24
Document File: 38 page(s) / 52K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

P. Resnick: AUTHOR


Almost every IETF participant knows the aphorism from Dave Clark's 1992 plenary presentation [Clark] regarding how we make decisions in the IETF:

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Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)                        P. Resnick Request for Comments: 7282                   Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. Category: Informational                                        June 2014 ISSN: 2070-1721

                   On Consensus and Humming in the IETF


   The IETF has had a long tradition of doing its technical work through    a consensus process, taking into account the different views among    IETF participants and coming to (at least rough) consensus on    technical matters.  In particular, the IETF is supposed not to be run    by a "majority rule" philosophy.  This is why we engage in rituals    like "humming" instead of voting.  However, more and more of our    actions are now indistinguishable from voting, and quite often we are    letting the majority win the day without consideration of minority    concerns.  This document explains some features of rough consensus,    what is not rough consensus, how we have gotten away from it, how we    might think about it differently, and the things we can do in order    to really achieve rough consensus.

   Note: This document is quite consciously being put forward as    Informational.  It does not propose to change any IETF processes and    is therefore not a BCP.  It is simply a collection of principles,    hopefully around which the IETF can come to (at least rough)    consensus.

Status of This Memo

   This document is not an Internet Standards Track specification; it is    published for informational purposes.

   This document is a product of the Internet Engineering Task Force    (IETF).  It represents the consensus of the IETF community.  It has    received public review and has been approved for publication by the    Internet Engineering Steering Group (IESG).  Not all documents    approved by the IESG are a candidate for any level of Internet    Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 5741.

   Information about the current status of this document, any errata,    and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at

Resnick                       Informational                     [Page 1]
 RFC 7282                      On Consensus                     June 2014

 Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2014 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the    document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal    Provisions Relating to IETF Documents    ( in effect on the date of    publication of this document.  Please review these documents    carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect    to this document.  Code Comp...