Re: Fuzzy words [was Uppercase question for RFC2119 words]

Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> Tue, 29 March 2016 23:56 UTC

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Subject: Re: Fuzzy words [was Uppercase question for RFC2119 words]
To: John C Klensin <john-ietf@jck.com>, "Scott O. Bradner" <sob@sobco.com>, Barry Leiba <barryleiba@computer.org>
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From: Brian E Carpenter <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com>
Organization: University of Auckland
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Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2016 12:46:51 +1300
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On 30/03/2016 05:34, John C Klensin wrote:
> 
> 
> --On Tuesday, March 29, 2016 08:58 +1300 Brian E Carpenter
> <brian.e.carpenter@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
>> ...
>> The other words (must, shall, required, not) mean what they
>> always mean. The only argument for upper-casing them is
>> aesthetic symmetry. If a spec uses alternatives like
>> mandatory, necessary or forbidden, they are just as powerful.
>> ...
> 
> Actually, when 2119 is referenced, Section 6 attaches particular
> interoperability semantics to MUST, SHALL, etc., that are not
> part of the plain-English meaning of those words.  Section 6
> seems to be ignored most of the time but cited when it supports
> an axe someone wants to grind about use of conformance language.

My claim is that even section 6 does *not* change the meanings
of the categorical words in a spec. If it says that something
must or must not happen, either the statement is redundant or
it is essential for interoperability, whether it's written
in upper case Courier New or in runes.

But it doesn't matter. It's the SHOULDs and MAYs that require
precision in their use.

      Brian