[rfc-i] diagram issues

Joe Touch touch at isi.edu
Wed Jun 25 10:13:51 PDT 2014

On 6/25/2014 9:21 AM, Paul Kyzivat wrote:
> On 6/25/14 11:48 AM, Joe Touch wrote:
>> It is difficult to replicate a Van Gogh in ASCII art, but IMO diagrams
>> that are too complex for one page of ASCII art are also probably not
>> useful as protocol diagrams either.
> I disagree. Lots of things are too complex to render in an ASCII art
> diagram.The usual work-around is factoring - break a single diagram
> into several smaller diagrams. This is sometimes a good thing. But other
> times it simply makes the relationship between pieces harder to understand.

It would be useful to provide an example. The one's I've seen all 
benefit greatly from factorization, as did the corresponding discussion.

> The idea that "a picture is worth a thousand words" depends upon the
> picture having enough detail to represent a thousand words. IMO an ASCII
> art picture is only worth a hundred words.

Again, as I said before, the words ought to define the protocol. If you 
want to avoid a thousand words using a picture, IMO you've left out 
significant detail in the text.

>> I fear that SVG will be an excuse for illegible diagrams.
> Look at the ascii art diagrams in existing RFCs. Plenty of them are
> pretty illegible, and would be more legible with SVG.

Many would be more legible if re-drawn, even in ASCII.

> If the SVG diagrams are illegible then that can be solved with better
> reviews. When ASCII art diagrams are illegible because of limitations in
> what can be done with ASCII artthen reviews are less likely to solve
> the problem.

I accept your conclusion, but your premise assumes that the reason for 
illegibility is the limitation of ASCII art. Again, an example would be 

> IMO a more significant concern is that any sort of diagram (even ASCII
> art) that is *generated* by a tool from some other original
> representation is problematic if the original representation isn't
> archived along with the document.

Problematic from what point of view?

I really fear this entire discussion is focused heavily on trying to 
preserve origin material to make updates easier to write, saving tens of 
hours of work for tens of people at the cost of days of work for 
hundreds of people.


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