[rfc-i] ASCII isn't English (was: Re: Character sets, was Comments on draft-iab-rfcformat)

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Wed Dec 19 01:44:01 PST 2012


On 2012/12/19 14:38, Nico Williams wrote:

> What's a reasonable script to allow in an RFC?  I'm not sure, but
> let's set that aside for a minute.  I would rather instead first start
> with this rule: all normative text in an RFC MUST be in English, as
> well as all informative guidance to the implementor, and so on.  The
> only text allowed to not be in English should be examples (e.g., in
> RFCs dealing with globalization) and names.  This rule *alone* is
> sufficient to render all of the important bits of an RFC readable (to
> English readers, of course).
>
> ALSO, it may well be easier to say that it must be possible to
> machine-render an ASCII-only version of any RFC such that, for
> example, non-ASCII characters get replaced with corresponding HTML
> entities (e.g.,á).  This may not be great for reading, but
> given the *language rule* it should still suffice for those who cannot
> display odd scripts or even non-ASCII at all.  And guess what: it is
> absolutely possible to replace non-ASCII Unicode with, e.g., HTML
> entities.

I'm using this post to make a point explicit that has been around up to 
now mostly just implicitly.

ASCII isn't English. This will be relevant when we move to a higher 
typographic quality for RFCs. Given that some people will continue to 
author drafts in MS Word, it will come up almost automatically. In good 
English typography, quotes are not 'abc' or "abc", but‘abc’or “abc”. 
Except for places such as programming text, every decent English book 
uses these. There is other non-ASCII punctuation, such as m-dashes,... 
where the same applies.

I think we should discuss this rather than ignore it.

Regards,    Martin.


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