[rfc-i] citing historic internet drafts

Julian Reschke julian.reschke at gmx.de
Tue Oct 21 14:28:16 PDT 2008

RFC Editor wrote:
>> I really like to understand *what* kind of URLs you dislike -- ones  
>> containing the original "draft-" string? That's fixable in this  
>> case (as I have write access to webdav.org).
> We dislike too specific URLs, which are much less likely to be stable  
> than
> the generic root URLs.  Readers can be expected to apply some  
> intelligence, given
> the general neighborhood; the URLs don't have to be  one-click.  The  
> gave above is still pretty specific; www.webdav.org should be  
> sufficient, I
> would think, but I don't want to argue that point.


If the URL doesn't point to the document itself, it's not really a 
citation. The text would need to be rephrased to say something like 
"archived documents can be found around <....>".

But then I'm still not sure how this is better. If the URL in question 
gets invalid, pointing people to the parent collection is unlikely to 
help (it's not there anymore, after all).

So I'd really prefer if the RFC Editor trusted the judgement of the 
author with respect to this, in particular if the document has passed 
IETF review and was approved by the IESG the way it is.

>>>>> This is another case of a draft that clearly is not work in  
>>>>> progress: the spec that references it
>>> Wasn't it in progress in July 1999?
>> Yes, it was.
> So "work in progress" in the citation to a 1999 document is actually  
> logical.
>> So is it allowed to both say "work in progress", and then add an  
>> annotation (xml2rfc <annotation> element) that gives more details?
> XML2RFC is just a tool.  The issue is what is in the final text.

That doesn't answer my question. Are annotations in the citations an 
acceptable way to add more information, such as stating that the 
document was abandoned, and where an archival copy is available?

> In the case of independent submissions, when questions of derivation  
> arise, we ask the
> authors to spell it out explicitly in the text, not depend upon some  
> inferences from the
> format of the references.  We don't have control over IETF documents  
> in this regard,
> of course.

In this particular case it is spelled out in the text.

I do understand that there are rules that the RFC Editor follows, but it 
seems it would be good if these rules (in this case: how to cite 
historic Internet Drafts, and what kind of URLs are being accepted) 
would be written down, so that conflicts with it could be catched 
earlier on.

BR, Julian

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