[rfc-i] Spelling out abbreviations in RFC titles

Graham Klyne GK-lists at ninebynine.org
Mon Sep 6 10:48:43 PDT 2004

This is close to something that occurred to me when this topic was 
mentioned before...

(a) Spell out all except "well known" abbreviations

(b) Create a list of "well known" abbreviations at some publicly accessible 

(c) Add to the boilerplate or some common document location a note 
indicating where the list of "well known" abbreviations can be 
found.  (Maybe, also add such a note to I-D announcements?)

Roughly, the rationale is that there is a clear and easily followed path 
for anyone (including complete novices) to find the meaning of any acronym, 
without forcing document titles (and bodies) to become unnecessarily clumsy.

(This message is silent about the desirability of maintaining a list of 
abbreviations that are always expanded.)


At 08:53 04/09/04 -0700, Paul Hoffman / VPNC wrote:
>Greetings again. One of the RFC Editor's policies is to spell out 
>abbreviations in titles, except in the case where the abbreviation is 
>well-known. The latter part of that rule seems vexing, even to the RFC 
>Editor. Today, two RFCs entered the author-checking queue:
>Network Working Group                                          D. Zinman
>Request for Comments: 3872                                     D. Walker
>Category: Standards Track                                       J. Jiang
>                                                           September 2004
>                       Management Information Base
>                   for Telephony Routing over IP (TRIP)
>Network Working Group                                          J. Pastor
>Request for Comments: 3873                                  M. Belinchon
>Category:Standards Track                                        Ericsson
>                                                           September 2004
>               Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP)
>                    Management Information Base (MIB)
>Note that in the first one, MIB is spelled out but not abbreviated, but in 
>the second in is both. The titles of other RFCs from a few months ago 
>(such as RFCs 3806 and 3808) just have MIB, without spelling out the 
>abbreviation, giving us all three permutations.
>Spelling out the names of protocols being discussed in the specific RFC 
>makes sense if it can be done gracefully, but spelling out common terms 
>used in standards may not. It would be useful to have a definitive list of 
>common abbreviations that will always be spelled out, and ones that will 
>never be spelled out, and to have the list easily findable of the RFC 
>Editor site. The list should include, at least:
>--Paul Hoffman, Director
>--VPN Consortium
>rfc-interest mailing list
>rfc-interest at rfc-editor.org

Graham Klyne
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