[rfc-i] Categories of references

Carsten Bormann cabo at tzi.org
Thu Oct 2 02:06:26 PDT 2014


I just reviewed another draft that, once RFC, will have the same I problem I have previously introduced into other RFCs:

References to documents that are only there for a historical record (or for acknowledgments).

As in: “This document was motivated by the problem statement in the unimplementable proposal [I-D.bozo-xwg-wrong-approach], but turned everything upside down and made it work."

Right now, references are either normative or informative.
Clearly, these historical references are not normative.
But mixing them into the informative references is confusing:
As an implementer, I would expect an informative reference to provide additional information about the present specification, not about historical paths not taken.
(As a generator of specifications, I consider these references to be highly useful, so they should not simply be left out.)

So how about a tripartition of

— normative (MUST read to implement this specification)
— informative (SHOULD read to implement this specification)
— historical (MAY read to understand historical background; NOT RECOMMENDED to read for implementers)

(Of course, this can also be done by allowing subdivisions in the informative references.)

Grüße, Carsten



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