[rfc-i] URIs in references, was: Call for Review of draft-iab-styleguide-01.txt, "RFC Style Guide"

Brian E Carpenter brian.e.carpenter at gmail.com
Tue Mar 25 17:53:47 PDT 2014

Three points below: the third one is a point of principle.

On 26/03/2014 11:49, Julian Reschke wrote:
> On 2014-03-25 23:15, Heather Flanagan (RFC Series Editor) wrote:
>> ...
>>> In, use of "web caching services" is archaic. Also,
>>> "personal space" sounds quite touchy-feely. It is also
>>> inappropriate: in the security field, many vulnerabilities
>>> are described only on personal blogs, not organizational blogs or
>>> academic papers.
>> Web caching services still exist.  Do they have a different name now?

1) I am also puzzled by "web caching services". Web caches of course
exist but are beside the point, because they simply deliver a copy
of what they previously fetched from the URI in question; they don't
have a different URL for the content. So what does it mean in this
document? The Google cache?

2) Maybe it should also be stated that "tinyurl" and its equivalents
are not allowed, i.e. URIs must point directly to the target. However,
I suppose DOIs are allowed.

>> I also don't have a better term for personal space - do you have any
>> suggestions?
>> Regarding the overall guidance, something needs to go here to indicate
>> what the editors will question.  Editors have no way of determining if
>> www.university.edu/~joe is a tenured faculty at an institution that will
>> never delete his web directory, or an adjunct faculty whose web space
>> may disappear along with his grant without a great deal of work.  And
>> while I think we are likely going to have to accept most of the web page
>> references that come in as informative references, normative references
>> must be as stable and reputable as possible given the fluctuations of
>> the web world.
>> So, what that means for the text is: I am open to clarifying the
>> existing text, but not to removing it entirely.  Some proposed
>> alternative text:
>> The use of URIs in references is acceptable as long as the URI is the
>> most stable (i.e., unlikely to change and expected to be continuously
>> available) and direct reference possible.  The URI will be verified as
>> valid during the RFC editorial process.  Personal web pages and web
>> caching services are not considered stable and will not be accepted as
>> normative references.  Informative references to personal web pages
>> (including blogs) are discouraged, but are acceptable if they are deemed
>> the most stable reference available.
>> ...
> That doesn't work for me.
> It makes Mark Nottingham's and Tim Bray's super-stable blog URIs
> disallowed (personal web page), but would make a random blogger.com page
> acceptable.

3) Not as a normative reference. But isn't it the case that normative
references only arise in standards track documents?* So this should
be an IETF stream decision in any case. I would expect any decision
to use a URI as a normative reference would be subject to IESG

*I am aware that some Informational documents emerge with "normative"
references. I think that's a bug, but it's a stream issue anyway.

> Yes, it's hard to check. In doubt, trust the author of the spec. He/she
> is interested in providing useful links.

And so is the IESG.


More information about the rfc-interest mailing list