[rfc-i] draft-iab-streams-headers-boilerplates-07 (was: Abstract on Page 1?)

John C Klensin john+rfc at jck.com
Thu Mar 5 17:35:16 PST 2009

--On Thursday, March 05, 2009 16:07 -0800 SM <sm at resistor.net>

> [following up on rfc-i]
> At 11:48 05-03-2009, John C Klensin wrote:
>> So, just as I'd like to understand what people are advocating
>> moving, I'd like to see if we can separate an objective (e.g.,
>> "get the Abstract onto Page 1") from a mechanism (e.g., "move
>> the boilerplate to the end").
> Margaret suggested moving the Abstract onto Page 1.  If we
> take draft-iab-streams-headers-boilerplates-07, for example,
> the Abstract starts on the last line on Page 1 and continues
> on the next page.  In RFC 2606, the "Status of this Memo"
> Section was three lines only.  The second section was the
> Abstract.

Right.  We are clearly suffering from boilerplate bloat.  Some
of it may be unavoidable, some not.  And my sense that the
Status section for I-Ds is in need of trimming is largely
independent of the "move the Abstract" bit although it would
obviously help.

> If we follow draft-iab-streams-headers-boilerplates-07, the
> "Status of this Memo" Section is about 14 lines.  Putting the
> Abstract Section after that would move it onto Page 1.  In
> exceptional cases (Section 3.3), the document may contain an
> IESG Note which might get the Abstract on the second page if
> the note is a lengthy one.

But IESG notes don't appear in I-Ds.  Paul is right there -- one
needs to be a bit careful in comparing RFC and I-D boilerplate.
They aren't going to be the same, but keeping them in the same
places and connected is relatively important.

> I suggest having the "Status of this Memo" as the first
> section followed by the Abstract Section as that information
> is more useful on the first page.
> The "Copyright Notice" Section is 8 lines.  If pre-RFC5378
> material is included in the document, there is 8 additional
> lines to be added.  The Copyright Notice can be after the
> Abstract or at the end of the document.  If it's at the end,
> it is not obvious at a glance whether there is pre-RFC5378
> material or not.  A person can always look at the end of the
> document for that information if the section is placed at the
> end of the document.

Yes.  But, with the usual IANAL qualifications, there may be a
legal requirement that the copyright notice appear on either the
first page or the last one.  That could make "after the
abstract" a non-starter if the Abstract might flow past the
first page.

> If any structural material such as ISSN, I suggest putting
> them after the Abstract so that the Abstract section remains
> on Page 1 except when there is a lengthy IESG Note.

One additional consideration is that there are several
advantages, from the standpoint of tool construction, editing
documents without format-specific tools, and future
expandability, to keeping all of the boilerplate / front matter
material together and in the front of the document.  I don't
know that order (among Abstract, Copyright, Status) makes much
difference except for the legal constraint of copyright.  But
scattering things around, or even putting some things in front
and others in back, would not be a positive step after the
amount of effort that went into headers and boilerplate and the
specific followup to 5379 to eliminate just that "some in front
and some in back" situation.


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