[rfc-i] Problems and requirements for RFC Format

Tim Bray tbray at textuality.com
Tue Apr 17 15:11:26 PDT 2012


I observe that several of your baskets include

" * Need to be able to include complex graphics/equations"

I think it may not be accurate to conflate these two.  There seems
widespread support for equations.  But I’d like to place on the record
though, that I do *not* support the addition of “complex graphics” to
the RFC series.  We’ve done very well without them and some of us
think it is actively beneficial to force authors to describe protocols
in clear English without recourse to pictures.

If my position turns out not to be widely shared, my fallback position
would be that on your list of requirements, the graphics requirement
is much lower priority than other things such as diffing, re-use,
i18n, readability.

 -T

On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 2:13 PM, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor)
<rse at rfc-editor.org> wrote:
> Hi all -
>
> Thank you all for your patience and input to the RFC Format question.
> One of the things I've been working on is an organized list of what
> problems we're trying to solve and what the requirements actually are
> for the RFC series.  As Larry Masinter mentioned in the BoF, there are
> several different constituencies that have their own particular problems
> and concerns, and that will in turn influence whatever we decide
> regarding the future of the RFC format.
>
> What I would like from the folks on the rfc-interest list is feedback on
> whether or not I've captured consensus on the problem space.  Note that
> I'm avoiding formal use of MUST and SHOULD right now, though I have
> tried to indicate level of requirement as I understand it so far.
>
> ======
>
> Draft-Edit (what authors worry about when writing an I-D)
> * Respect for authors names (Limit to character set prevents proper
> display of all names)
> * Authors need a way to update documents easily and see how they might
> look when published
> * Need to be able to include complex graphics/equations
> * Need be able to diff versions of a draft
> * Need to be able to create new documents by hacking away at older ones
> * Want a more flexible line length
> * Want to be able to tag ownership/source of comments
>
>
> Draft-Review (what authors, Ads, and working groups worry about when
> reviewing an I-D)
> * Respect for authors names (Limit to character set prevents proper
> display of all names)
> * Need to be able to include complex graphics/equations
> * Need be able to diff versions of a draft
> * Want a more flexible line length
> * Want to be able to tag ownership/source of comments
>
>
> RFC-Edit (what RFC editors worry about when editing a document)
> * Respect for authors names (Limit to character set prevents proper
> display of all names)
> * Need to be able to include complex graphics/equations
> * Want a common source file type (lack of one common source file type
> results in more training on markup language (nroff, xml) and
> inconsistency in output)
> * Want a single, discrete source file for a draft (not multiple files
> and a make file)
> * Want a publicly available "official" conversion tool (same source file
> producing the same output between I-D submission and RFC editing step)
> * Need source file to be editable by both authors and RFC editors
>
>
> RFC-Archive (what the RFC Editor worries about when publishing an RFC)
> * Need format to be easily rendered in to other, potentially undefined
> formats (.txt, .html, other)
> * Need one format to be the authoritative version, suitable for legal
> records
> * Need to be able to create new documents by hacking away at older ones
> * Need backward compatibility to recreate documents originally created
> in an older version of the output tools (backward compatibility issue
> doesn't apply to docs published prior to the format change)
>
>
> End consumption (what consumers of RFC worry about)
> * Need to be able to see complex graphics/equations
> * Want to be able to link sections and jump ahead in the document
> * Want intelligent html-style linking within references
> * Want the RFC to be suitable for small screens/mobile devices
> * Want to have neat printing (intelligent pagination)
> * Need to be able to search document and document repositories with
> tools such as *grep
>
> ======
>
> So, what's missing?
>
> -Heather Flanagan, RSE
>
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