by Darius Kazemi, April 10 2019

In 2019 I'm reading one RFC a day in chronological order starting from the very first one. More on this project here. There is a table of contents for all my RFC posts.

A catalog

RFC-100 is titled “Categorization and Guide to NWG/RFCs”. It's by Peggy M. Karp of MITRE and dated February 26th, 1971.

The technical content

This document lists all RFCs to date, first by category, then in numerical order with cross references to the categories for the documents. It's similar to how card catalog systems used to organize documents at libraries, which if you are of a certain age you'll remember using. (I suspect I'm on the cusp and most people younger than me never used these.)

The document offers a “minimum subset of RFCs”, which are basically the must-read RFCs for anyone who wishes to be caught up to NWG discussions as of February 1971. And further, that the list is short enough that it “should dispel any fear of maintaining stacks of NWG/RFCs for quick reference.”

The subset is as follows (links to my own blog posts and their titles):

As well as this very RFC and the next two, 101 and 102.

The categories listed are, broadly:

Most categories have sub-categories that you can read in the original document.

This document is slated to become part of a separate, non-RFC series of documents, although I'm not sure if that series ever came to pass (there are many more of these catalogs in the RFC series itself over the years).


This document is RFC-100 but the author notes at the beginning that there are already 102 RFCs. And indeed, RFCs 101 and 102 are dated three days before this one. I don't know if they simply wanted RFC-100 to be used for this catalog, or if the RFC numbers were assigned prior to the final RFC being sent to the NWG members.

The list of categories is the first official confirmation of levels 1, 2, and 3.

Further reading

The author notes that

reference to “#33, #66, #83, etc.” is a convenient shorthand (reminiscent of the old corny joke about joke #s) used extensively during meetings.

The joke referred goes something like this: a guy goes to prison. He becomes aware of a weird phenomenon where he'll hear someone yell a number like “71!” and people laugh. His bunk mate explains to him that the jokes here are so stale and repetetive that they've just numbered them all to save time. So the guy yells out a random number. At this point the punchline is either: everyone laughs and says “wow we've never heard that one before”, or nobody laughs and the bunkmate says “wow, some guys just are no good at telling jokes.”

I assume the implication here is that attending a Network Working Group meeting is more or less like being in prison.

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About me

I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm a Mozilla Fellow and I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with both ActivityPub and the Dat Project.