Re: 2nd suggested revision for MUST/SHOULD

Charles Lindsey <> Sat, 29 July 2000 02:14 UTC

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Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2000 20:44:08 +0100 (BST)
From: Charles Lindsey <>
Reply-To: Charles Lindsey <>
Subject: Re: 2nd suggested revision for MUST/SHOULD
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	On Fri, 28 Jul 2000 09:29:23 -0400
	Keith Moore <> said...

> > But I see little point in repeating the 2119 text in full.
> as Dan pointed out, there is language in 2119 (specifically 
> section 6) that over-constrains use of 2119.  since 2119
> was published it is apparent that there are valid reasons
> to use 2119 keywords that  are not "actually required for 
> interoperation or to limit behavior which has potential 
> for causing harm" ... especially when we base try to define
> conformance to the specification strictly in terms of 
> these keywords.
> the normal workaround (until 2119 is revised) is for a
> document to provide its own definitions of MUST/SHOULD/etc.
> I suppose we could try referencing 2119 with a disclaimer
> that section 6 does not apply...and see if that gets by IESG.
> if we wanted to try this I'd strongly recommend that someone 
> approach the author of 2119 first and ask him in person about it.

Well we wanted to do something long those lines in USEFOR, so we asked
the higher ups in IESG (specifially the Area Director, who will be the
same Area Director as DRUMS, I imagine) whether we were allowed to
contemplate such a thing. Specifically, we wanted either to extend the
use of SHOULD to encompass things that were not strictly necessary for
interoperability, but which were nevertheless highly desirable for the
smooth functioning of Usenet. Alternatively, we asked if we could define
a word OUGHT for that purpose.

We were told in no uncertain terms that we could not do either of those
things. The most we would be allowed to do would be to use "ought" in
lower case for such things (which is what we will likely now do).

So with that precedent established, I hardly see how DRUMS can make any
substantial departure from 2119.

But yes, referencing 2119 with such disclaimers as you think appropriate
would be the right way to do it, if you can get the powers that be to
allow it.

Charles H. Lindsey ---------At Home, doing my own thing------------------------
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