[rfc-i] Incorrect use of the word "ASCII" in section 3.2

Paul Hoffman paul.hoffman at vpnc.org
Sun Mar 10 10:51:37 PDT 2013


Greetings again. In the -03 version of the format requirements document, section 3.2, it says:

      *  The official language of the RFC Series is English.  ASCII is
         required for all text that must be read to understand or
         implement the technology described in the RFC.  Use of non-
         ASCII characters, expressed in a standard Unicode Encoding Form
         (such as UTF-8), must receive explicit approval from the
         document stream manager and will be allowed after the rules for
         the common use cases are defined in the Style Guide.

The terms "ASCII" and "non-ASCII" are incorrect, given that the second sentence talks about encoding forms such as UTF-8.

My best guess is that what is meant for "ASCII" is "the characters U+0021 through U+007E" and for "non-ASCII" it is "characters other than U+0021 through U+007E". If that guess is correct, the above paragraph should read:

The official language of the RFC Series is English.  All text that must be read to understand or implement the technology described in the RFC must use characters U+0021 through U+007E.  Use of characters outside that range must receive explicit approval from the document stream manager and will be allowed after the rules for the common use cases are defined in the Style Guide.

Note that this proposed wording does not include anything about a Unicode Encoding Form. Some Publication formats might not use *any* encoding form, and trying to wind that into this paragraph causes more confusion.

--Paul Hoffman

P.S. Please do not interpret my offering of technically more correct wording above as supporting the idea in the paragraph. I think it is unnecessarily restrictive to prevent the use of ASCII in text that is needed to be read or understood. It's 2013, folks. If an example that is needed to be understood contains a character such as ü, it is better to include the character directly than putting in some placeholder and trying to describe that in the text surrounding the example. I hope ADs in the future can convince the RSE to change this rule for IETF Stream RFCs.



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