[rfc-i] Re: [xml2rfc] request to deprecate numeric citations in xml2rfc

Bob Braden braden at ISI.EDU
Wed Jan 12 10:09:46 PST 2005


   *> 
  *> 
  *> I have to (partially) agree with Brian. Unless the symbolic references 
  *> are sorted alphabetically, it is a royal pain to find the reference in a 
  *> list that is more than a few entries long.
  *> 

Agreed. One would certainly hope that an author would sort alphabetic
tags alphabetically.  Note that the editing operations of
inserting/deleting references during final RFC processing are trivial
in an alphabetic list of tagged references.

The real-world (as opposed to the RFC production problem) reason for
preferring symbolic tags is that they generally carry some contextual
information, which pure numbers do not. For example, they may carry an
author name (fragment) or other easily-recognizable symbol, or at least
the publication year. This can be a real aid to the reader (at least,
they are a real aid to THIS reader!).  Otherwise, you always have to
flip back to the references to identify each numeric citation.

So, to Brian's "cleaner and nicer", I would oppose the significantly
higher utility of non-numeric tags.  But neither is the primary issue
in the current case.

Bob Braden




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