[rfc-i] URIs in references, was: Call for Review of draft-iab-styleguide-01.txt, "RFC Style Guide"
"Martin J. Dürst"
duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Wed Mar 26 18:57:00 PDT 2014
On 2014/03/27 06:39, Dave Crocker wrote:
> I'll express strong objection to leaving the issue to authors.
> Possibly trust the stream editor, but individual authors cannot be
> expected to have enough background or discrimination to judge this issue
> reliably. And for documents to be useful 20 years hence, this issue
> needs to be handled well.
For a document to be useful 20 years hence (apart from its usefulness
for historic studies), it has to first and foremost contain content that
is useful for 20 years. If we look at RFCs from 20 years ago, then some
of them are still useful in that sense, while others are not.
Also, the importance of supportive content (incl. references) tends to
change over time. Often documents contain supportive content that was
deemed important at the point of the creation of the document, but this
importance may change over time. After 20 years, e.g. the reason why a
particular design was chosen may be much less important.
If a document is still useful 20 years hence (e.g. because the protocol
it describes is still in use), then I'd guess that the references it
contains either are no longer needed (e.g. because the design has shown
its value in practice) or if by bad luck they disappear from the URI
cited, and they still are of value, then somebody somewhere went to the
pain to publish them somewhere else, and it will be found easily again
with a search engine. We can also publish an erratum; for an actual
example, please see
This is not to say that we shouldn't work hard to get the "best, most
stable references possible", but we should be aware that we are not
living in a perfect world, nor in a world that needs to be perfect.
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