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

Joe Touch touch at ISI.EDU
Wed Jan 27 13:26:15 PST 2010

Paul Hoffman wrote:
> At 1:13 PM -0800 1/27/10, Joe Touch wrote:
>> I don't understand what a "canonical" pointer to an RFC is except the
>> text URL.
> Clearly.

OK, gauntlet thrown. Perhaps I'll reprhase and toss it back:

Please explain what "canonical" means in reference to an RFC if not to
the canonical text. Note that neither the meta information nor the
errata are considered authoritative or required. As I noted, if there's
an error that is so significant that it must be included with the doc,
such would be justification for revising the RFC.

Note also that the meta data explicitly indicates that the .txt *is* the
canonical information for the RFC, and this is also specified (I don't
have the RFC number in front of me, but can dig it up if needed).

>> Information *about* the RFC is a different matter.
> For you. For others, the canonical pointer to an RFC should lead to
> things like an archival pointer to the underlying RFC, metainfo about
> the RFC, pointers to other formats, and so on.

As above, none of that information is canonical. All of it can change,
and none of it is anything other than advisory.

>> As Brian said, both are useful, depending on the context. AFAICT, only
>> one is *canonical*.
> If you think "both are useful", then why have the canonical one be
> the one that returns much less information?

Both are useful *depending on the context*. In the context of
"canonical" reference, only the txt is canonical, so only that URL is

Canonical refs aren't intended to provide as much information as
possible; they are intended to provide only the canonical information.
That does not include the info sheet, status, or errata.


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