Internet Engineering Task Force Requests for Comments (RFCs)

July 15, 2022 Nina Sartor
October 10, 2018 Isadora
September 26, 2018 Scott Fletcher Bowlsby
June 27, 2018 Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
June 14, 2018 Lucy J Parry, Participedia Team
February 23, 2018 Isadora
October 10, 2016 Isadora

Problems and Purpose

Request for Comments (RFCs) is a online tool consisting of the following steps: proposing a question, holding a public debate, collecting the general audience's thoughts, generating a report that will serve as a basis for further discussion or policy. 

Whilst RFCs can be used in any variety of policy areas, they have been particularly popular in the area of technology policy. It has been adopted by internet-governance organizations like the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Society (ISOC), and regulation bodies like the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).

Requests for Comments is a transparent way of hosting an online dialogue, where typically users/followers can comment directly on the topic as well as each other's comments. RFCs are open to the general public, usually regardless of nationality. RFCs are similar in practice to Twitter Chats.

Origins and Development

In 1969 Steve Crocker, a UCLA graduate student, was note-taker for a working group meeting that wanted to discuss which protocols the internet (ARPANET at the time) should use. In this meeting he pioneered the "Requests for Comments", the label for his notes, because he wanted to make sure "anyone could say anything and that nothing was official." 

How it Works

Analysis and Lessons Learned

See Also

Reddit Requests for Comments on Differential Pricing in Canada 

Twitter Chat 


Roy Rosenzweig. Wizards, Bureaucrats, Warriors, and Hackers: Writing the History of the Internet, The American Historical Review, Vol. 103, No. 5. (Dec., 1998), p. 1544

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