Re: SHOULD vs MUST case sensitivity

John Leslie <> Tue, 01 July 2008 16:50 UTC

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Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 12:50:47 -0400
From: John Leslie <>
To: John Levine <>
Subject: Re: SHOULD vs MUST case sensitivity
Message-ID: <20080701165047.GB3847@verdi>
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John Levine <> wrote:
>>* Whenever the keywords are used they are to be considered normative
>>* Whenever the keywords are used they SHOULD be capitalized
> Ahem:
> * Whenever the keywords are used they MUST be capitalized

   I did an exercise today: I looked at the first item on Thursday's
IESG Agenda, and I counted "may".

   I found

-   6 occurances of upper-case "MAY",
-  40 occurances of mixed-case "May",
- 111 occurances of lower-case "may".

   I frankly can imagine no way to avoid occasional occurances of the
month "May" -- in this case the header of every page.

   At least four of the lower-case "may"s were in the boilerplate.

   I dread to think how many grammarians might expire during a primal
scream if we replaced over 100 "may"s with "can"s. ;^)

>>* Editors SHOULD avoid use of normative keywords for non-normative
>>language, even in drafts.

   Perhaps they should -- but what do folks actually want to do about
documents like this?

   Those "May" months were probably added by automated software --
I hope nobody expects editors to end-run that! Likewise the boilerplate

   We certainly shouldn't be asking the RFC Editor to "fix" over 100
lower-case "may"s.

   Should the Area Director send this back to the Working Group?
Speak now (well, before Thursday morning) if you think so -- otherwise
the IESG is likely to approve this document which so blatantly ignores
the expressed wishes of this mailing-list.


John Leslie <>
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