A Request for Comments (RFC) is a numbered document, which includes appraisals, descriptions and definitions of online protocols, concepts, methods and programmes. RFCs are administered by the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force). A large part of the standards used online are published in RFCs. Some fundamental RFCs were officially adopted as standards. Nevertheless, a large proportion of RFCs are not granted “Standard” status, but are still used as such all over the world. The reason behind this is that the individuals or groups working on an RFC primarily use their time to improve protocols, and not for the standardisation process.
The first published RFCs open up technical matters for discussion. But a Request for Comments can only be called such when it has achieved general acceptance and developed into a quasi-standard. The numbering of an RFC can change if, for example, a new document emerges with significant alterations or amendments, or that is a synthesis of various previous documents.