All About Email Standards
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The Request for Comments (RFC) represents the most important form Internet standards take and is the most often cited type of document when people speak of Internet standards. However, it is far from the only type of Internet standards-related document. RFCs represent an archive of all the wisdom of the Internet (as well as much else), from its very start in 1969.
Not all RFCs are readily available. Many early RFCs never made it into electronic format and have been lost over time. However, all the current RFCs with any relevance to the modern Internet are available online. Several different types of RFCs exist, including several special RFC series. In this section, we define the different categories of Internet documents.
RFCs. Any definition of the RFCs should start with that offered in RFC 2026, “The Internet Standards Process — Revision 3” (BCP 9): Each distinct version of an Internet standards-related specification is published as part of the "Request for Comments" (RFC) document series. This archival series is the official publication channel for Internet standards documents and other publications of the IESG, IAB, and Internet community.
RFCs can be obtained from a number of Internet hosts using anonymous FTP, gopher, World Wide Web, and other Internet document-retrieval systems. An RFC is simply a report, originally called a “Request for Comments” because researchers reported their own results, theories, and activities and solicited responses from other researchers through this mechanism. All Internet standards are published as RFCs, but not all RFCs document Internet standards. Publication of a document as an RFC may mean that it should be considered a standard, or it could simply mean that the RFC editor deemed it to be of interest or value to the Internet community.