Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) A. Cooper
Request for Comments: 8875
Category: Informational P. Hoffman
ISSN: 2070-1721 ICANN
Working Group GitHub Administration
The use of GitHub in IETF working group processes is increasing.
This document describes uses and conventions for working groups that
are considering starting to use GitHub. It does not mandate any
processes and does not require changes to the processes used by
current and future working groups not using GitHub.
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 candidates for any level of Internet
Standard; see Section 2 of RFC 7841
Information about the current status of this document, any errata,
and how to provide feedback on it may be obtained at https://www.rfc-editor.org/info/rfc8875
Copyright (c) 2020 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
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described in the Simplified BSD License.
Table of Contents 1.
Administrative Process and Conventions 2.1.
Creation of GitHub Organizations 2.2.
Migration of an Existing Organization 2.3.
Personnel Changes 2.4.
Working Group Closing 2.5.
Creation of Document Repository 2.6.
Listing Related Repositories 3.
Working Group Process 3.1.
Backing Up and Archiving GitHub Content 4.
Security Considerations 5.
IANA Considerations 6.
Many IETF working groups and participants make use of GitHub in
different ways as part of their work on IETF documents. Some others
are interested in having their working groups use GitHub to
facilitate the development of working group documents, but they are
unfamiliar with how to get started or unclear about which conventions
to follow. Some other working groups use or plan to use other code-
repository services such as GitLab and Bitbucket, which have
different properties than GitHub.
This document specifies a set of administrative processes and
conventions for IETF working groups to use if they choose as a
working group to use GitHub to facilitate their work. The
specifications in this document are not directed at working groups or
individuals that are already using GitHub to do IETF work. Practices
vary among existing working groups, and some of them are not
consistent with the conventions proposed here: that is fine. The
goal of the specifications in this document is not to require
uniformity in current practice, but to help working groups get
started using GitHub in a reviewed and validated way, if desired.
2. Administrative Process and Conventions
This section specifies an administrative process and conventions to
support the creation and management of GitHub organizations for
working groups and single-document repositories in a uniform way.
The steps may be done manually by the IETF Secretariat, or they may
be automated. See <https://github.com/richsalz/ietf-gh-scripts
> for working examples
of automation that is in use in some working groups.
In this document the question of whether processes should be manual
or automated is deliberately left unspecified, since these are
implementation details that the IETF Secretariat and Tools Team will
Most of the conventions below are drawn from [RFC8874
2.1. Creation of GitHub Organizations
This document specifies that there be a facility in the IETF
>) interface to allow an
area director (AD) or working group chair to request the creation of
a GitHub organization for a particular working group. Ideally, this
facility would appear both as part of the working group chartering UI
and the working group page UI.
When an area director or working group chair makes a request to
create a GitHub organization, the following process would be
Create a GitHub organization for the working group. 2.
Name the organization in the format ietf-wg-<wgname>... 3.
Initialize the organization by designating the IETF Secretariat
and the area directors in the working group's area as owners. If
the responsible AD for the working group is from another area,
that AD will be an owner as well. 4.
Initialize the organization with a team that has administrator
access. This team will consist of the working group chairs and
working group secretary, if one exists.
After the organization is created, the URL for the organization would
be added to the working group's page in the Datatracker.
Steps 3 and 4 above imply that the GitHub identities of the
organization owners and administrators are known. Recording GitHub
identities in the Datatracker (see
facilitate this. The person requesting the organization would need
to be notified if the GitHub identities of any of the people meant to
be owners or administrators were not available.
2.2. Migration of an Existing Organization
If a working group already has an organization, it would be useful to
be able to make it have the same management as one would get by going
through the steps in Section 2.1
. That is, it would be good to be
able to run Steps 3 and 4 from Section 2.1
so that the rest of the
activities in this section, such as personnel changes, work the same
way as for organizations that were created as specified herein.
2.3. Personnel Changes
When there are personnel changes in the area or the working group,
those changes would be reflected in the GitHub organization. There
should be an ability in the Datatracker to specify that personnel
changes have occurred.
2.4. Working Group Closing
When a working group is closed, the team with administrative access
would be removed, and the owner list would be returned to the
Secretariat and current ADs at the time of closing. The organization
summary and the repositories within the organization would be updated
to indicate that they are no longer under development. Later, the
owner list could become just the Secretariat, or it might include
others chosen by the Secretariat or the IESG.
2.5. Creation of Document Repository
There are many different scenarios and configurations where it might
be useful to have automation or established administrative
conventions for repositories within WG organizations, such as:
* Creating a new repository for an individual draft (at the
discretion of the WG chair);
* Creating a new repository for an already adopted working group
* Migrating an existing document repository into the WG
* Creating a new repository that contains multiple drafts.
As an incremental step, this document specifies that there be a
facility in the Datatracker interface to allow an administrator of an
ietf-wg-<wgname> organization to request the creation of a new
repository within that organization for a single document. The
document authors would be identified as collaborators. The
repository name would be the draft name. Ideally, the repository
would be configured with a skeleton draft file, default CONTRIBUTING,
LICENSE, and README files, and continuous integration support, in the
vein of <https://github.com/martinthomson/i-d-template
this step would automatically inform the IETF Secretariat that this
repository should be backed up as described in Section 3.2
2.6. Listing Related Repositories
The IETF Datatracker should allow users to add links to repositories
(for GitHub and other repository services) on working group,
document, and user pages. At the time of this writing, this feature
was under development.
3. Working Group Process
] contains discussion of the different possible ways that a
working group can use GitHub and the large number of decisions
associated with doing so. This section specifies a basic set of
administrative policies for working groups to follow and the
administrative support needed to carry out those policies.
At a minimum, every repository created in a working group
organization needs to incorporate into its CONTRIBUTING file the
boilerplate text at <https://trustee.ietf.org/license-for-open-
source-repositories.html> from the IETF license file for open-source
repositories. The CONTRIBUTING file can contain other information as
well (see <https://github.com/ietf/repo-files/tree/master/
contributing-samples> for examples).
It would be useful if the user data in the Datatracker could list (at
a minimum) the GitHub account of the user so that their contributions
could be tracked more easily.
Some working groups choose to have more than one draft in a
repository, particularly for drafts that are tightly linked with
significant cross-references. In such a case, the README for the
repository needs to say so clearly, so that a participant understands
that changes might be made to multiple drafts at once.
3.2. Backing Up and Archiving GitHub Content
IETF working group mailing lists are automatically backed up by the
IETF Secretariat, and the archives are publicly available. All
official interactions in a WG must be archived.
Working group GitHub content also needs to be backed up and publicly
archived. This document specifies using the Git protocol
[git-protocol] itself for both of these tasks.
Every IETF working group repository on GitHub will have a mirror
repository of the same name on a server maintained by the IETF
Secretariat. Every hour, a service will use the "git fetch" command
on every GitHub repository that is being tracked. The mirror
repository will allow anyone to read the repository.
Note that this system will not back up GitHub issues or pull
requests. These should be backed up as well; the GitHub API allows
for this. The IETF Secretariat should back up those at the same time
as it is backing up the GitHub repositories.
The steps in Section 2.5
inform the IETF Secretariat which
repositories should be backed up. Working group chairs and area
directors should also be able to request that the IETF Secretariat
back up additional repositories that are related to IETF working
4. Security Considerations
An attacker who can change the contents of Internet-Drafts,
particularly late in a working group's process, can possibly cause
unnoticed changes in protocols that are eventually adopted.
There is a risk of data loss due to centralization of data in one
service. This is recognized and mitigated by the plan described in Section 3.2
5. IANA Considerations
This document has no IANA actions.
6. Informative References
Chacon, S. and B. Straub, "Git on the Server - The
Protocols", in Pro Git, 2014, <https://git-
] Thomson, M. and B. Stark, "Working Group GitHub Usage
Guidance", RFC 8874
, DOI 10.17487/RFC8874
, August 2020,