[rfc-i] Now tell me how to communicate this as effectively in plaintext

Joe Hildebrand jhildebr at cisco.com
Wed Apr 25 18:10:54 PDT 2012

On 4/25/12 5:05 PM, "Joe Touch" <touch at isi.edu> wrote:

>> 1) Does anyone seriously want to argue that the document would be
>> easier to interpret in plaintext format without any diagrams?
> Since when does plaintext prevent diagrams? TCP did an entire state
> diagram - a lot more complex than anything in this doc - in ASCII.

Whether these are good diagrams or not isn't relevant.  Whether they could
be done in ASCII isn't relevant.  Your argument is equivalent to "We only
had horses when I was a kid, and we liked it.  You shouldn't get to drive a

That said, I believe that we could choose to avoid diagrams of any format
(fingerpaint-ASCII, SVG, or image) where possible, avoid having diagrams be
normative, and that diagrams might not be needed in phase one of a new
format, if it helps us come to consensus more quickly.

>> 4) Would anyone insist on plaintext if they thought that people had a
>> choice in the standards organization they participate in?
> Moot point. There's no alter-IETF that uses SVG yet.

> All standards organizations pick a format, and all have members that
> complain that the format is insufficient for a given problem. They don't
> typically create new standards organizations for that one reason.

No, but they sometimes get created because of the intransigence of the
existing power base in the existing SDO when faced with disruptions to the
status quo.

> Figure it this way - if you can't agree on a document format, then why
> bother agreeing on a protocol?

The document format *is* a protocol for exchanging clearly formatted ideas
between humans.  It's at a higher layer in the network stack than we often
work, but frankly, so is most of the Applications Area for those who focus
on other areas.

Joe Hildebrand

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