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The next section is the "Background" section. This section should be at least two paragraphs and can take up to a whole page in some cases. The guiding goal of the background section is: as a newcomer to this project (new employee, team transfer), can I read the background section and follow any links to get the full context of why this change is

If you can't show a random engineer the background section and have them acquire nearly full context on the necessity for the RFC, then the background section is not full enough. To help achieve this, link to prior RFCs, discussions, and more here as necessary to provide context so you don't have to simply repeat yourself.


The next required section is "Proposal" or "Goal". Given the background above, this section proposes a solution. This should be an overview of the "how" for the solution, but for details further sections will be used.

Abandoned Ideas (Optional)

As RFCs evolve, it is common that there are ideas that are abandoned. Rather than simply deleting them from the document, you should try to organize them into sections that make it clear they're abandoned while explaining why they were abandoned.

When sharing your RFC with others or having someone look back on your RFC in the future, it is common to walk the same path and fall into the same pitfalls that we've since matured from. Abandoned ideas are a way to recognize that path and explain the pitfalls and why they were abandoned.


This section describes alternative designs to the chosen design. This section is important and if an adr does not have any alternatives then it should be considered that the ADR was not thought through.

Consequences (optional)

This section describes the resulting context, after applying the decision. All consequences should be listed here, not just the "positive" ones. A particular decision may have positive, negative, and neutral consequences, but all of them affect the team and project in the future.

Backwards Compatibility

All ADRs that introduce backwards incompatibilities must include a section describing these incompatibilities and their severity. The ADR must explain how the author proposes to deal with these incompatibilities. ADR submissions without a sufficient backwards compatibility treatise may be rejected outright.


{positive consequences}


{negative consequences}


{neutral consequences}


Links to external materials needed to follow the discussion may be added here.

In addition, if the discussion in a request for comments leads to any design decisions, it may be helpful to add links to the ADR documents here after the discussion has settled.


This section contains the core of the discussion.

There is no fixed format for this section, but ideally changes to this section should be updated before merging to reflect any discussion that took place on the PR that made those changes.