Thursday, February 9, 2023

References to Standards need to recognize that Standard's Governance about Errata

When pointing at a standard, do we expect that that standard organization governance on patch / errata / CP releases are followed? It might be common knowledge that when we reference a standard, that we do expect that standard governance applies and thus if that standard organization approves what they consider an effective erratum, that it is effective within IHE as well. However, this may not be common knowledge. I fear that there are many that are interpreting a reference to a standard to be NOT including errata.

The case for Errata or Patch, are when the change is not considered by THAT Standards Organization as being a change that would not be considered a major or minor change. These tend to be clarifications of text, fixing of spelling and grammar, and other clarifications that do not impact the meaning of that standard. Clearly there is some change happening, else the errata would not exist, but it is the governance of that standards organization that the change is simply an errata or patch. Thus, this discussion is about to what degree do we trust the governance of the standards organization from which the standard we are referring to operates within?

For example: IETF RFC 7540, has Errata. IETF is nice in that on their RFC 7540 they indicate that "Errata Exists", not all standards orgs do this.

Same is true of many standards (including internal to IHE references).
  • IHE calls these Change Proposals
  • DICOM calls these Change Proposals
  • IETF calls these errata
  • W3C calls these Errata
  • OASIS-OPEN calls them Errata but I didn't find an obvious description
  • HL7 has errata
  • etc

This is NOT a discussion around when the standards organization makes a Major or Minor change; only when it is a patch or errata release. There are different arguments that a Minor change might be acceptable, but this is not the discussion and there are plenty of minor version changes that are not appropriate for automatic recognition.

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