[rfc-i] URLs in references

Paul Hoffman paul.hoffman at vpnc.org
Mon Mar 24 10:58:02 PDT 2014


On Mar 24, 2014, at 9:33 AM, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) <rse at rfc-editor.org> wrote:

> On 3/14/14, 4:09 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>>   most stable (i.e., unlikely to change and expected to be continuously
>>   available) and direct reference possible.  The URL will be verified
>>   as valid during the RFC editorial process.  Personal web pages and
>>   web caching services are not considered stable and will not be
>>   accepted as a normative reference.  Informative references to blogs
>>   are acceptable if they are an organizational blog and not a personal
>>   space.
>> 
>> I believe this is hard to check. I also note that personal spaces
>> frequently are much more stable than corporate web pages.
> 
> I think this is the weakest section of the RFC.  On the one hand, both
> authors and editors need some guidance on judging a stable reference.
> On the other hand, there is no such thing as truly "stable" when we're
> talking about web references.  The technical publishing industry as a
> whole finds this challenging.
> 
> So, yes, this is hard to check.  I am still researching a better way to
> deal with this issue.

"hard to check" is only one of the things that Julian brought up. The other is more important: personal spaces frequently are much more stable than corporate web pages. For example, NIST periodically breaks many of the links on its site to specs that the IETF refers to. Universities have been known to do the same thing. Personal web pages are more often well-maintained. Please consider removing the the last sentence of that paragraph.

--Paul Hoffman


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