The documents called Request for Comments (or RFCs) are the working notes of the "Network Working Group", that is the Internet research and development community. A document in this series may be on essentially any topic related to computer communication, and may be anything from a meeting report to the specification of a standard.
All standards are published as RFCs, but not all RFCs specify standards.
Anyone can submit a document for publication as an RFC. Submissions must be made via electronic mail to the RFC Editor (see the contact information at the end of this memo, and see RFC 2223).
While RFCs are not refereed publications, they do receive technical review from the task forces, individual technical experts, or the RFC Editor, as appropriate.
The RFC series comprises a wide range of documents, ranging from informational documents of general interests to specifications of standard Internet protocols. In cases where submission is intended to document a proposed standard, draft standard, or standard protocol, the RFC Editor will publish the document only with the approval of the IESG. For documents describing experimental work, the RFC Editor will notify the IESG before publication, allowing for the possibility of review by the relevant IETF working group or IRTF research group and provide those comments to the author. See Section 5.1 for more detail.
Once a document is assigned an RFC number and published, that RFC is never revised or re-issued with the same number. There is never a question of having the most recent version of a particular RFC. However, a protocol (such as File Transfer Protocol (FTP)) may be improved and re-documented many times in several different RFCs. It is important to verify that you have the most recent RFC on a particular protocol. This "Internet Official Protocol Standards" memo is the reference for determining the correct RFC for the current specification of each protocol.
The RFCs are available from the RFC-EDITOR, and a number of other sites. For more information about obtaining RFCs, see Sections 7.4 and 7.5.