[rfc-i] [IAB Trac] #266: Requirement for "Clear Printing"

Dave Crocker dhc at dcrocker.net
Fri Feb 15 07:50:24 PST 2013

On 2/15/2013 7:00 AM, RJ Atkinson wrote:
>    It would be a nightmare to have a colleague refer
> to (his/her) "page 4" and have that be "page 3" or
> "page 5" on my own copy.  That would be a huge waste
> of a lot of folks' time, and seems easily avoidable.

Yes it would.  But note that "page 4" is actually a pretty vague 
reference.  It covers quite a bit of document real-estate. Precision 
requires refinement to the reference.  So, while entrenched, use of page 
numbers isn't a magical solution.

Changing from the page-oriented reference model would certainly be a big 
deal and shouldn't be embraced lightly.  It needs a compelling reason.

I (finally) think we have one:  screen size.

Growing popularity of doing serious, on-going reading using widely 
differing display devices has (finally) made the classic, fixed, U.S. 
document page-size problematic.

Moving to use of section/sub-section numbers affords as good a reference 
model as page numbers -- and possibly a better one.  Note that 
incompatible page numbers have long been an issue during document 
development, across different versions.  Section numbers tend to be far 
more stable than page numbers.

Happily, RFCs and I-Ds already have section numbers.  So the interesting 
change needs to be with our reference behavior, not in our document 

  Dave Crocker
  Brandenburg InternetWorking

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