[rfc-i] "canonical" URI for RFCs, BCPs

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Wed Jan 27 07:15:24 PST 2010

Paul Hoffman wrote:
> At 6:32 PM -0800 1/26/10, Joe Touch wrote:
>> Paul Hoffman wrote:
>> ...
>>>>  Canonical URL:
>>>>    http://www.rfc-editor.org/rfc/rfc793.txt
>>>> When that policy changes, then it would be useful to provide the URL to
>>>> the specific canonical document (.ps, .pdf, .xml, .wahoo, or whatever).
>>> This says "because now we have text as the canonical format, we
>>> should
>>> hard-code that into canonical URLs that will be used in the future". The
>>> Web community (that is, not the IETF) have found this type of statement
>>> to be short-sighted and, more importantly, unnecessary.
>> Our current documents don't cite "documents to be written in the
>> future". They cite docs that are already written. Either there are known
>> exceptions when the doc is written, or there are not. This is easy to
>> determine at publication time.
>> The time when this needs to change is when a non-txt RFC is cited. There
>> will be plenty of warning for that.
> If you really want to be not-forward-looking, that's fine. ("That was
> the old canonical URI; they have now changed internal formats; I'll
> change my canonical URI.") People with lots of modern web experience
> have been there, done that. 

I don't think it's appropriate to define a canonical citation for
formats "TBD", and in the process fail to cite the current canonical
version directly.

> Folks who have been badly burnt by people
> not reading technical errata for RFCs (<4753 cough cough>) have been
> there, done that. The RFC Editor has said they are going to maintain the
> /info URIs, and I trust them.

Errata are neither canonical nor normative. Any errata issue that is as
significant as you claim warrants a revision of its corresponding RFC.

The /info pages are neither canonical nor normative as well. There is no
requirement for what it contains, or how that info is presented.

When citing the RFC, the text is currently the *only* relevant item to


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