[rfc-i] Acknowledgements and Contributors as non-sections

Paul Hoffman paul.hoffman at vpnc.org
Mon Mar 24 10:52:52 PDT 2014

On Mar 24, 2014, at 9:33 AM, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) <rse at rfc-editor.org> wrote:

> On 3/14/14, 4:09 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>>      First-page header                      * [Required]
>>      Title                                    [Required]
>>      Abstract                                 [Required]
>>      RFC Editor or Stream Manager Note      * [Upon request]
>>      Status of this Memo                    * [Required]
>>      Copyright and License Notice           * [Required]
>>      Table of Contents                        [Required]
>>      Body of the Memo                         [Required]
>>        1.  Introduction                       [Required]
>>        2.  Requirement Words (RFC 2119)
>>        3.  ...
>>            MAIN BODY OF THE TEXT
>>        6.  ...
>>        7.  IANA Considerations                [Required in I-D]
>>        8.  Internationalization Considerations
>>        9.  Security Considerations            [Required]
>>        10.  References
>>        10.1.  Normative References
>>        10.2.  Informative References
>>        Appendix A.
>>        Appendix B.
>>      Acknowledgments
>>      Contributors
>>      Author's Address                         [Required]
>> "Acknowledgements" and "Contributors" are usually just a section (not
>> appendix), because that's the only form xml2rfc can generate. We should
>> align the tools with the style guide or vice versa.
> Yes.  Some of the guidance in the new Style Guide will require changes
> in the tools in order to fully implement.

Your response did not really respond to Julian's comment. The current draft suggests that the new style will make the Acknowledgements and Contributors lists as non-sections: they can't be referred to either by section number nor as an appendix letter. This seems like a really bad change for no benefit.

- The Acknowledgements section can be an motivator to get substantial reviews in the IETF. Making this section become something at the very very end of the document diminishes its importance.

- With the new format, there will be no good way in prose to refer to the acknowledgements in another RFC, whereas now you can just say "Section 11" or "Appendix C".

- Sometimes, the acknowledgments section has valuable information to a reader, and this proposed change makes it feel like the section is not formally part of the document, just some part of the backmatter.

Please seriously consider reverting this to the current rule, which is that authors get to decide if these two sections are sections or appendices.

--Paul Hoffman

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