[rfc-i] Resetting this format debate a bit

James M. Polk jmpolk at cisco.com
Sun Mar 25 16:16:52 PDT 2012

At 05:12 PM 3/25/2012, Tim Bray wrote:
>On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 12:41 PM, James M. Polk <jmpolk at cisco.com> wrote:
> > IMO you're overreaching on #1 by making it seem as if it's all of #1, and
> > nothing but all that's in #1.  In other words, the way you've phrased it,
> > it's like you're saying:
>Fair enough. I thought it was obvious that #1 couldn't couldn't be
>achieved in one fell swoop, and would require extended stepwise work.

yet it was written to be overwhelming, which denotes a sense of bias, 
which shouldn't exist if we can help it IMO.

>I've also volunteered to pitch in should there be agreement to start
>such an effort.  I also predict a fair degree of difficulty achieving
>consensus in this effort, perhaps even as much trouble as it might
>take to achieve consensus on appropriate energy policies.
> > Apply that philosophy to our discussion on your #1. If we don't drill now,
> > we're only putting off what we know we need to go after. That said, #1 as
> > written, is not what I've been talking about with a lot of folks over the
> > years, they simply want non-ASCII art, which is far far less than how #1 is
> > written now. A *LOT* of folks would be happy to get past the 
> ASCII art issue
> > - which we all agree is a pain in the $%& to draw in, and can't represent
> > what we want to draw in anything more than simple box diagrams and a few
> > created arrows without tools.
>Actually, we don't all agree. I think the absence of diagrams in IETF
>specifications has historically been a strength not a weakness.  I
>really think you're underestimating the difficulty of getting
>consensus on document-format issues.

I disagree that words are better than a really good diagram with 
words. The burden is on the WG to make sure the authors/editors make 
the diagram fit the text surrounding said diagram. To not do so is 
pure laziness on everyone's part within that WG, from Gen-Art, any 
directorate reviews and the IESG. It all starts with the WG though.

I fully admit bad art is bad art, but that's different than saying 
everyone else should not be able to use diagram SW to create good 
diagrams because it possibly can lead to confusion. That's fairly a 
repressive ideology, isn't it?

(no attack intended)

> > BTW - regarding #3, since when does it take a "lot of disk space" to load
> > what would be WORD for a Mac? A couple of hundred MBs is 
> generally _nothing_
>Sigh, I would have agreed up until recently, when a lot of us moved to
>Macs equipped with SSDs which are amazingly fast but cruelly limited
>in size compared to what they replaced.

it's still less than 200MB on an SSD that's likely over 160GB... my 
math says that's not just a small, but a really small percentage. I 
think also, that we all have a bunch of applications and or data 
files that take up that much storage space without continual usage.

The cost is another matter.


>This is admittedly probably a
>temporary condition.
>I will admit to having negative feelings about having to purchase any
>commercial software from anyone to accomplish the simple goal of
>printing a spec properly, particularly when I have no other use for
>such products and can print lots of other complex technical documents
>all the time without requiring any such tools.  -Tim

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