Errare humanum est: what do RFC errata say about Internet standards?

Stephen McQuistin, Mladen Karan, Prashant Khare, Colin Perkins, Matthew Purver, Patrick Healey, Ignacio Castro, Gareth Tyson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Downloads (Pure)


Protocol standards, such as RFCs developed by the IETF, are crucial for the correct operation of the Internet, but many are published containing errors. The RFC Editor allows people to report errata, allowing anybody to flag such errors for subsequent correction. This represents an important part of the RFC publication process, and may reveal ways in which standards can be improved. This paper performs the first study of RFC errata reports. We characterize and perform a statistical analysis of the scale and nature of these errata and explore who submits them. Finally, we evaluate the impact, in terms of the number of errata filings, of three different strategies that are designed to improve the standards process. We find that specialist review teams and formal language checkers can reduce the volume of errata filed against standards documents.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2023 7th Network Traffic Measurement and Analysis conference (TMA 2023)
PublisherIEEE Computer Society
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9783903176584
ISBN (Print)9798350325676
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2023
EventNetwork Traffic Measurement and Analysis Conference - University of Napoli Federico II, Naples, Italy
Duration: 26 Jun 202330 Jun 2023
Conference number: 7


ConferenceNetwork Traffic Measurement and Analysis Conference
Abbreviated titleTMA
Internet address


  • Protocols
  • Statistical analysis
  • Formal languages
  • Focusing
  • Telecommunication traffic
  • Internet
  • Standards


Dive into the research topics of 'Errare humanum est: what do RFC errata say about Internet standards?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this