[rfc-i] Problems and requirements for RFC Format

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Wed Apr 18 08:46:35 PDT 2012


On Apr 18, 2012, at 12:56 AM, SM wrote:

> Nowadays, there is what some people refer to as the RFC Format.  Here are some nits:

I'm not sure who would refer to the list below as "the RFC Format". Are you intending to describe the current rules, or some basic view of the current rules?

>   1.  Document should match .txt file as closely as possible in
>       structure, format, and content.
> 
>   2.  Standard page size is 8 1/2 by 11 inches.
> 
>   3.  Leave a margin of 1 inch on all sides (top, bottom, left, and
>       right).
> 
>   4.  Text should have a point size 10 points with a line spacing
>       of 12 points.

There's a lines per page limit (I don't recall right now) which drives the point size. I'd state it as lines per page, though.

And the spacing should be the same as the text size; there's no reason to assume a larger spacing.

>   5.  Three fonts are acceptable: Helvetica, Times Roman, and Courier,
>       plus their bold-face and italic versions.

For rendering, *ANY* fixed-width font is fine (and any non-fixed is NOT) (presuming you're talking about alternate representations like HTML). Bold/italic can be included but since there's no indication of this in the source, such marking is meaningless.

>   6.  Prepare diagrams and images based on lowest common denominator.
> 
> The average reader may be able to understand how to do the above.  Nit 2 has been an issue since a long time.  I don't recall anyone complaining about it.
> 
> The following is the checklist:
> 
> 1. No text beyond the 72nd column of a line. This is especially important
>    for diagrams and code, which the RFC Editor may not be able to trivially
>    reformat to fall within the margins.
> 
> 2. Must be ragged right
> 
> 3. No hyphenation for line-breaks. However, hyphenated words (e.g.,
>   "Internet-Draft") may be split at the hyphen across successive lines.
> 
> 4. No footnotes
> 
> 5. ASCII-only, no control characters (other than CR, NL and FF).

ASCII 32-126 decimal (7-bit ASCII printable except tab), LF (aka NL), FF, and CR.

> 6. Do not number the "Status of Memo" or "Abstract" sections
> 
> 7. Reasonably well formatted for readibility and clarity
> 
> People complain about point 1 and point 5.  My guess is that most people complaining about point 1 are not accessing the authoritative version of the document.  A quick look at http://www.ietf.org/about/standards-process.html does not contradict that.
> 
> Some of the categories of activity of the RFC Editor are:
> 
>  (a) Editing, processing, and publication of documents.
> 
>  (b) Archiving and indexing the documents and making them accessible.
> 
>  (c) Series rules and guideline
> 
> Document Lifecycle falls item (a).  There are valid concerns about that and it is fine to offer people the space to talk about it.  "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest". Is it in the interest of the RFC Editor to tackle (a) now instead of (b) and (c)?  Item (a) has more visibility.
> 
> Regards,
> -sm 
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