RE: [dhcwg] Re: Several reminders

"Bernie Volz (EUD)" <> Mon, 27 August 2001 22:13 UTC

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From: "Bernie Volz (EUD)" <>
To: "'Stuart Cheshire'" <>, Ted Lemon <>, DHCP discussion list <>
Subject: RE: [dhcwg] Re: Several reminders
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2001 17:07:57 -0500
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Stuart, I think Ted misunderstood what you requested ... I did too until I
looked at your examples.

Just to be clear, Ted he wasn't asking you to describe what the document said.
He was just saying that you should put in full sentences.

Look at the examples Stuart gave of the changes. I do think they are good changes
because, as Stuart pointed out, you do not need to look up the reference to
understand the sentence. The different is sutble but significant. A very
simple example is rather than to use " ... the Transmission Control Protocol [RFC 793]"
instead of " ... [5]" where [5] is a reference to RFC 793.

I think this change is minor enough that it should be allowable during the final
editing process (perhaps the RFC-Editor would do it anyway)?

- Bernie

-----Original Message-----
From: Stuart Cheshire []
Sent: Monday, August 27, 2001 4:56 PM
To: Ted Lemon; DHCP discussion list
Subject: [dhcwg] Re: Several reminders

>Actually, this is not true, and is a dangerous idea.   If I define the
>format of something that's authoritatively defined elsewhere in my own
>draft, and I make a mistake in transcribing or paraphrasing the
>authoritative source, this is likely to create interoperability
>problems when someone doesn't refer to the source.   So I _must_ refer
>to the authoritative source, and _must not_ paraphrase it.


I'm not understanding your point.

I didn't say that you shouldn't have references. What I said was that 
writing a number in little square brackets doesn't exempt the writer from 
the normal rules of English grammar. Footnotes and endnotes are not the 
English language equivalent of "#include". If the text is necessary for 
the basic understanding of the sentence, then it should be in the 
sentence. Footnotes and endnotes can provide additional clarification, 
but the sentence should still be grammatically correct if you ignore them.

This seems to be a modern trend in writing, particularly in documents 
like RFCs which not academic research papers, but are written somewhat in 
that style. If you look at research publications from fifty years ago, no 
one would ever have thought of using a sprinking of footnote and endnote 
references as a substitute for a grammatically correct sentence.

Stuart Cheshire <>
 * Wizard Without Portfolio, Apple Computer
 * Chairman, IETF ZEROCONF

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