[rfc-i] feedback on draft-iab-styleguide-01

Dave Crocker dhc at dcrocker.net
Mon Mar 24 20:09:04 PDT 2014

On 3/24/2014 9:33 AM, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>>     *  When a sentence ended by a period is immediately followed by
>> >       another sentence, there should be two blank spaces after the
>> >       period.
>> >
>> >This is a rule that (IMHO) only makes sense for plain text renderings.
>> >It requires heuristics in the generator tools to detect line ends. We
>> >really should get rid of it.
> Its utility largely depends on the fonts used.  I don't know of any font
> where two spaces versus one after a period causes difficulty in reading,
> whereas with some fonts it is helpful.  If it does no harm, and some
> good, I would rather keep this rule.

(From other postings on this thread, I fear there might be some 
confusion between having extra spacing in the canonical version, versus 
having extra spaces in the 'published' version.  I'm assuming that the 
primary point of this thread concerns the latter.)

The rule was a good one, when we were generating RFCs in their text 
format.  Now, it's a problem.

Having two spaces after a period that does /not/ end a sentence can be 
somehat distracting for the reader.  Text that says Mr.  Jones did or 
did not do something, is an example.  It's fine to have the extra 
spacing after a sentence but the eye gets a little unhappy with stray 
extra spacing as with the previous sentence.

If the extra spacing is to be added by software that converts from 
canonical to the published form, then indeed the decision whether a 
period is at the end of a sentence or represents something else requires 
heuristics.  And heuristics make errors.

For monospace fonts, the extra spacing after a sentence is somewhat 
helpful.  But I doubt there's real damage in eliminating the existing 


Dave Crocker
Brandenburg InternetWorking

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