Internet-Draft RFC Change Policy February 2024
Carpenter Expires 27 August 2024 [Page]
Intended Status:
B. E. Carpenter
Univ. of Auckland

Policy Considerations for Changes to RFCs


This document describes policies applicable when the text of an RFC is modified after it has been approved for publication.

About This Document

This note is to be removed before publishing as an RFC.

Status information for this document may be found at

Discussion of this document takes place on the RSWG Working Group mailing list (, which is archived at

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This Internet-Draft will expire on 27 August 2024.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

It is very common that the text of an RFC needs to altered after a draft has been approved for publication by the relevant approving body for the relevant RFC stream, as defined in [RFC8729]. There are three principal causes of such changes:

  1. Editorial changes made by RPC staff, for example to correct grammatical errors or to respect the style guide.

  2. Changes made after those editorial changes, during final processing before publication, at the request of the authors, document shepherd, or members of the approving body. These are colloquially called "AUTH48" changes for historical reasons. They are currently logged in a publicly archived mailing list.

  3. Changes made after initial publication of the RFC, when significant editorial or technical errors have been reported by a reader and then approved by a member of the approving body. These are currently known as "verified errata" and they currently result in the posting of an updated (but unofficial) revised HTML version of the RFC.

Changes made as a result of general changes in RFC format, or of changes to the tools and markup formats used to produce RFCs, are not in scope for this document, as long as they do not alter the wording of the RFC.

2. Policy Considerations

Whether a change is made during editing, during final processing, or to correct an error in the published version, the following principles must be respected:

  1. The changed version must be formally approved by a member of the original approving body. Each RFC stream may require a consensus process or further approvals, which the stream will administer itself by an internal process. (This does not preclude informal contact between interested parties and the RPC.)

  2. This process must be visible to the community, for example via an on-line discussion forum or a mailing list with a public archive. (This principle does not require announcement emails, but does not forbid them either.)

  3. Each stream must provide a dispute resolution mechanism in case community members disagree with the changes made. This explicitly does not concern the RPC; such disputes must be resolved by the stream itself. Disputes with the RPC itself are a separate matter discussed in Section 4.4 of [RFC9280].

Note that these principles apply regardless of whether post-publication changes result in an official republication of the whole RFC, which is a separate issue. Thus they apply to the current "errata" system and to its possible replacement, as well as to the "AUTH48" system.

3. IANA Considerations

No IANA actions are needed.

4. Security Considerations

This document does not directly affect the security of the Internet.

5. Acknowledgements

Useful comments were received from Eliot Lear, and other members of the RSWG.

6. Informative References

Housley, R., Ed. and L. Daigle, Ed., "The RFC Series and RFC Editor", RFC 8729, DOI 10.17487/RFC8729, , <>.
Saint-Andre, P., Ed., "RFC Editor Model (Version 3)", RFC 9280, DOI 10.17487/RFC9280, , <>.

Appendix A. Change Log [RFC Editor: please remove]

A.1. Draft-00

  • Original version

A.2. Draft-01

  • Clarifications, references.

Author's Address

Brian E. Carpenter
The University of Auckland
School of Computer Science
The University of Auckland
PB 92019
Auckland 1142
New Zealand