[rfc-i] Reasons for going beyond ASCII art

Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) rse at rfc-editor.org
Tue Sep 25 07:41:45 PDT 2012

On 9/21/12 4:40 PM, Brian E Carpenter wrote:
> On 21/09/2012 18:58, Paul Hoffman wrote:
>> Greetings again. The -00 draft says:
>> =====
>>    Arguments in favor of replacing ASCII art with more complex diagrams
>>    include:
>>       *  Given the difficulties in expressing complex equations with
>>          common mathematical notation, allowing graphic art would allow
>>          equations to be displayed properly.
>> =====
>> People have expressed *many* reasons other than just that one. Off the top of my head, others that have been brought up include:
>> * state diagrams with multiple arrows in different directions and labels on the lines
>> * protocol flow diagrams where each step needs multiple lines of description
>> * scenario descriptions that involve three or more parties with communication flows between them
>> In fact, given how few times equations are used in our documents, even that one is minor relative to the others that are commonly mentioned. 
> A related point that is not mentioned is whether we have a requirement
> to support colour or greyscale, or whether we require that an RFC can
> be correctly printed in monochrome.

Very good point!  Something about this needs to be in the doc.  I think
opening up to color introduces a rather large set of complications.
Color blindness and screen calibration issues are the first concerns
that pop in to my head.  I understand some people will find the diagrams
that much easier to read if color was involved, but I am not convinced
the benefit outweighs the difficulties this would introduce.


>       Brian
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