Request For Comments - Production and Evolution

Production and Evolution

The RFC Editor assigns each RFC a unique serial number. Once assigned a number and published, an RFC is never rescinded or modified; if the document requires amendments, the authors publish a revised document. Therefore, some RFCs supersede others; the superseded RFCs are said to be deprecated, obsolete, or obsoleted by the superseding RFC. Together, the serialized RFCs compose a continuous historical record of the evolution of Internet standards and practices. For more details about RFCs and the RFC process, see RFC 2026, "The Internet Standards Process, Revision 3".

The RFC production process differs from the standardization process of formal standards organizations such as ISO. Internet technology experts may submit an Internet Draft without support from an external institution. Standards-track RFCs are published with approval from the IETF, and are usually produced by experts participating in working groups, which first publish an Internet Draft. This approach facilitates initial rounds of peer review before documents mature into RFCs.

The RFC tradition of pragmatic, experience-driven, after-the-fact standards authorship accomplished by individuals or small working groups can have important advantages over the more formal, committee-driven process typical of ISO and national standards bodies.

Most RFCs use a common set of terms such as "MUST" and "NOT RECOMMENDED" (as defined by RFC 2119), Augmented Backus–Naur Form (ABNF) (as defined by RFC 5234) as a metalanguage, and simple text-based formatting, in order to keep the RFCs consistent and easy to understand.

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